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We’ve noticed a homegrown beach beauty accessory that’s been popping up everywhere. It’s free, it might actually even save you money, and it’s kind of French, if you’re a Francophile. What are these eye catching must haves?

We sat down to talk with our friend Amalia Mayorga, a Latinx student at Columbia University studying Anthropology, Urban Studies, and Computer Science to go in depth on the ins of having hairy pits…

 

 

When did you decide to stop shaving your armpits and why?
I first stopped shaving my armpits when I was a freshman at Hampshire College. The majority of people there let it out free. It was my first time being in an environment where that was okay. I came from a really preppy private high school where people were very afraid to be different, and I entered this space where people were not only not shaving their armpits, but also not shaving their legs. And at first I was like, “This is so weird. It’s kinda gross.” And then I was like, “NO! You know what is actually kind of gross? The fact I am shaving every other day for nobody and wasting so much water on long showers where I have to take so much time to shave all the parts of my body, when in fact, who am I shaving for?”
  
I realized it hurt a lot to shave my armpits and have the hair grow back two or three days later. Once I stopped shaving, my life became simpler. I learned not only how to love my body better, but also how to be embodied in my power. In doing so, it helped other people around me feel free to step into that as well. I was coming into my own empowered feminine self. The only reason I was shaving was for someone else, and that didn’t sit right with me.
 
 

Do you love your little armpit hairs? Do they make you happy?

YES! I love my armpit hairs. I like them because they’re cute, they grow in really funny ways, they give me a lot of warmth, and they’re soft. They’ve actually gotten a lot softer since I stopped shaving. Same with my legs. They are super smooth.

I love being free and not conforming to sexist, heteropatriarchal visions of what beauty should be. I also feel really empowered when I see other women with their armpit hair out because it says to me, not only am I comfortable with my own body, but also I don’t care what other people think about me. In particular, I don’t care what MEN think about me and what other women think about that. Me growing out my armpit hair was my first step in undoing what respectability politics had done to me growing up. As I stopped shaving, I become less judgy towards myself and other women who chose to step out the standard feminine ideal type that’s prescribed to us by a society that we did not take part in. We are born into this world, but we can also make this world.

I’ve been in many situations where men and older women have shamed me and judged me for growing out my armpit hair, and you know what I do…

Before this interview, I typed “health benefits of armpit hair” into Google. Did you know that it helps us sweat effectively and promote the making of a ton of sex pheromones? So actually, you might be attracting a lot of attention.

Wow?! I didn’t know that! You heard it here! Growing out armpit hairs attracts more bees than honey!

 

 

Did you get any flack for it from anyone? Do you find yourself having to defend it, or do people pretty much not care?

Yes! When I first started growing out my armpit hair, I got flack from everyone. My siblings. My mother. I actually would demand that my mother pay me to shave when we were going to DR to visit family, because I refused to conform. A lot of people gave me dirty looks, because they thought I was dirty, but that’s part of being an empowered woman. Learning how to not give a fuck what other people think and being like “What is so scary about this?” I had a lot of tough conversations with my family and friends, and then incredibly, as it became more normalized both on social media and with the times, I’ve found that most of my friends grow out their armpit hair and I no longer have to defend it. And I am now almost awarded, empowered, and affirmed for it.

What is something unexpected that you learned as a result of not shaving your armpits?

People thought I was not shaving as some sort of political campaign that I was trying to impose on others, and people became very defensive about it. And I thought that was really funny, that me engaging in a natural act of just letting my hair grow somehow became political. I didn’t understand how something that was individually about my body should somehow enter into the politIcal realm for other people to engage in. I didn’t understand how people thought I was confronting them or being disrespectful.

So honestly, growing into the love for my body has so much to do with not shaving, growing into being able to empower myself, and knowing that it’s nobody’s business what I do and how I act and how I engage. Now, most people don’t care. I still get looks depending on where I go. And yes, sometimes when I am in a very preppy, prissy place, I just like to (Amalia raises arms and stretches) break the fourth wall a little bit and just show people that women can be free. I can still be beautiful, elegant, and classy and have this armpit hair. And it shouldn’t be a big deal.

 

 

Any other interesting facts that us bare pitted folk might not know about having hairy armpits?

Yes! First off, that it’s not gross, and if you take care of it, it doesn’t smell. It’s not uncomfortable. Shaving is so much more uncomfortable! I never have to worry about itching or burning. As you learn to not care about what other people think, you literally have a better life. Me engaging in this process has helped me find the beauty in my natural self. 

It’s also helped me question a lot of the things I used to do. Like, when I was in a predominantly white high school, me and one of the only other Latinx girls were shaving our arms. Why?! What were these colonial, heteropatriarchial ideology systems that made us feel like we had to shave our arms? It was very sad. I literally stopped doing that. I stopped shaving my legs. I stopped shaving my armpits. And I just found, I am honoring my ancestors who had this hair, who gave me this hair, and I am learning how to step into my power and love myself my fully and wholly for who I am. I am one of those people who is like, do what you want. You’re always beautiful. I have gotten a lot of compliments from men and women alike who literally find it sexy that someone grows out their hair.

 

Watch our interview with Amalia on our IG here and follow her here for more wisdom straight from the source.

 

SHOP AMALIA’S LOOK

 

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