These are some photos of Amandla Stenberg at last year’s European premiere of The Hate U Give. The photos caused some murmurs on fashion blogs because Amandla had some armpit fur. This is nothing new for celebrity women, but because every generation thinks they invented these trends, we’re now learning that the women of Generation Z (the kids born in the ‘90s) are putting down their razors more than ever before:
Fresh off the return of the full bush, there is yet another triumph for team no-nicks-and-cuts. According to a recent study, nearly one in four women under the age of 25 have stopped shaving their underarms. Signaling a long overdue shift in society’s standards of female beauty, it wouldn’t have been possible without the women who bucked convention in the first place.
During the golden age of Old Hollywood, Sophia Loren redefined bombshell beauty by displaying bushels of armpit hair in curve-hugging halter dresses. On the other side of the spectrum, Patti Smith’s underarm fuzz was a cool complement to her gender-bending style in the ‘70s. Equally radical were two of the ’80s biggest rule breakers, Madonna and Lisa Bonet, who each tossed the razor with bad girl aplomb.
Of course we’d be remiss not to mention America’s sweetheart Julia Roberts, who greeted the crowd at the Notting Hill premiere—and sent shock waves through the industry—with unapologetic thickets of underarm growth in 1999. Or Lola Kirke, who took the 2017 Golden Globes red carpet with visible, sweetheart-neckline-adjacent body hair. And when actress and passionate social-justice activist Amandla Stenberg sported underarm fluff at the European premiere of The Hate U Give, it was yet another powerful sign of solidarity.
One in four (under-25) women are not shaving their pits now? Sure. I’m Xennial and I had a lot of friends who didn’t shave their pits (and at times, their legs) too. It’s not new, nor is it notable, nor is it a fashion or beauty conversation, in my opinion. I’m sure there are many women who do it for feminism, or do it to normalize natural body hair (I also prefer my natural, unwaxed bush, for what it’s worth). But, on the other side, you can still be a feminist and still like things as natural as possible and still shave your pits. It’s not always a feminist/beauty conversation, sometimes it’s just a general preference. For me, I shave my pits because I go to the gym four times a week and I SWEAT, and I feel “lighter” and less sweaty with shaved pits. I also shave my legs to the knee every day because I hate the feel of stubble. It’s just a personal preference!
Photos courtesy of WENN.