Where’s all the hair?

As per usual, a Buzzfeed article has been circulating
on social media. I know — surprise,
surprise. The article, a list, is “12 Female Characters
Who Keep Shaving Despite Constant
Peril” with the subtext “Just because you live in
fear for your life doesn’t mean you let yourself
go, ladies!”
The article is comprised of stills from various
television programs and movies with
arrows pointing to the characters’ bare pits,
including those of every female character in
“The Walking Dead” since 2010 and the ladies
of “Gilligan’s Island.”
So, I am to believe that because my armpits
are hairy I have let myself go and have no
excuse to have done so since these fictional
characters have managed smooth pits despite
their chaotic situations. Well, the good news is
that the article is satirical, and it doesn’t seem
that Buzzfeed is challenging my decision to
have fuzzy pits, in fact, they seem to agree that
the portrayals of these hairless characters is
unrealistic.
So why? Why is this a big trend in television
series and movies? Whether or not it was an
intentional message or the stars were just removing
their body hair as usual, it would be
inspiring to see a couple of female characters
embracing their body hair and showing us how
it’s done.
Although the article clearly supports the
stance of the character attribute being unrealistic,
it ends with a plug for “The Walking
Dead” midseason finale airing. Okay, it’s a
widely popular show, but are we really going
to plug it after realizing this subtle discrepancy
that shows more than just inattention to detail
— shaved armpits are expected of women in
television, in movies and in the real world.
What I find interesting is the difference between
myself and the actresses in this article:
the times I shave my armpits are significantly
fewer than the times I don’t, meaning most
days out of the year I will be rocking anything
from light stubble to a full grown pit mane.
If I were called on to act in any motion picture,
I would have to be asked specifically to
shave them in order to appear that way on
screen. In the case of the women shown in the
article, I imagine they either keep up with armpit
stubble as a personal choice or they were
asked to do so for filming. I may never know
what the situation is, but I am curious why I
don’t see more women like myself in movies
and television.
However, if I am to believe Jezebel, I may get
my wish in 2015 and then some. Mark Shrayber
wrote in an article for the site, “2015 is
going to be about two things, and two things
only: Armpit hair and colorful dyes.” Shrayber
isn’t the only one; sites dedicated to beauty
and style are predicting similar outcomes, and
tips and tricks for perfecting the armpit dye
job are available in the form of YouTube video
tutorials.
I, for one, would be pleased to see other
women embracing their underarm hair, and —
if they wish — having a little fun by dyeing it.
Jocelyn Gibson can be contacted at [email protected]
marshall.edu.