Armpit hair has been one of 2015′s hottest topic. We’re so used to seeing lady pits devoid of hair, it seemed shocking when celebrities like Madonna and Miley Cyrus popped up sporting an au naturel pit.
With increasing numbers of ladies populating Instagram with hashtags like #hairyarmpitsclub, #armpithair and #freeyourpits and sharing their love for a bushy pit, it’s becoming the beauty trend du jour.
So why are so many women choosing to go against the grain and embrace the natural look? We spoke to 25-year-old Jordan Elizabeth Shelton, a musician and avid Instagram user from Portland, US, on why she loves her unkempt underarms.
Five years ago, Jordan stopped shaving for No Shave November (abstaining from shaving for a month, usually done by men who will let their facial hair grow) two years in a row “sort of as a joke” and let her underarm hair do its own thing, undisturbed by razors or wax.
After the second year, Jordan says she actually felt more comfortable letting her hair grow. “I realised I only shaved because that’s what men expected of me. But it wasn’t what I wanted for myself.”
While Jordan’s friends and family have embraced her au naturel underarms apart from a little bit of friendly teasing, she’s come up against mixed reactions in her romantic life.
“It was a bit difficult when I was single because boys would like me until they saw that I didn’t shave,” she recalls. “I have casually slept with someone who literally covered them up so he didn’t have to look at them.”
“My current partner has never cared for body hair, but he doesn’t mind mine. He actually likes it,” she continues. “I don’t dictate whether or not a partner should shave, so I don’t feel the need to shave to make someone else happy.
“I had a partner a few years ago who was disgusted by it, and I almost shaved just to make him happy. I decided to end the relationship instead.”
Jordan argues that she’d never ask someone else to remove their body hair, so why should she remove hers on a partner’s request?
“I think it’s ridiculous that men have so many expectations of women,” she explains. “But we don’t ask men to shave. And if we did, they would either throw a fit, or leave us.”
Jordan is very clear on one thing: contrary to what you might think, her pits aren’t an attempt to make a statement and have nothing to do with smashing the patriarchy – it’s more to do with personal choice.
“I chose not to cater to someone else’s preferences because their grown ass can’t deal with a little bit of pubic hair. My choice to not shave certain parts of my body – I shave some things – has nothing to do with being a feminist.
“It has nothing to do with wanting to go against society’s expectation of what I should do with my body. It isn’t that complicated. It is my choice because that’s what feels the most comfortable to me.”
So why have we seen so many tufts of female armpit fluff pop up this year?
According to Jordan, lady armpit fluff is not a new phenomenon – “I live in Portland, OR. Half of the girls here don’t shave.”
She also thinks that celebs toting the trend like Miley Cyrus can’t be held responsible for the rise in hairy pits. “Miley was not some revolutionary influence, but I think she really brought it into the light more,” she says.
Despite clashing with romantic partners in the past over her pits, Jordan says there are some men out there who are VERY keen on an au naturel gal.
“There are a lot of perverted, disrespectful men out there, who scour the internet for normal girls like us who don’t shave, and feel the need to send us unsolicited penis pictures to tell us how much they want to sniff our armpit hair and lick it,” she explains.
Understandably, she’s not too keen on this Insta-attention. “We don’t ask for that. We don’t post photos of ourselves for their enjoyment,” says Jordan.
Jordan’s not on a mission to get you to grow your own armpit fuzz, but she does urge other women to think for themselves in regards to body hair.
“I don’t walk up to someone and say ‘You should really stop shaving because that’s disgusting’,” she says. “But if someone asks me why I choose not to shave, I tell them all of the positive reasons why, and I tell them I learned to think for myself, and make choices that made me happy and comfortable.
“I love the feeling of having hair on my underarms. I love the feeling of freshly shaved legs on sheets. I love that my pubic hair grows in the shape of a heart. Ultimately, I do what makes me happy. I do what helps me love myself. I feel sexy when my armpit hair shows in my selfies.
“If shaving makes you happy, then keep at it. If throwing away your razors make you happy, you do it. It isn’t my place to tell women they should consider stopping shaving, just like it isn’t their place to tell me I should start.”
Originally written for Snappa and published on EntertainmentDaily.com.