Dea Lundström for 'Natural Beauty' by Ben Hopper (2019)
"I started shaving my armpits as soon as my armpit hair appeared for the first time. I did it because I had been taught by society that in order to be beautiful, a woman should be hairless everywhere except for on her head. For the longest time, I bought into that idea and told myself that the painful process of shaving one's armpits was worth it ...and it really was painful– I’d get the worst shaving rashes no matter what I did and I could never wear anything with a tight sleeve. Oh and don’t get me started on the horrible, horrible feeling of the hair growing back, the stubble. (Spoiler alert– it wasn’t worth it!).
Eventually, as I grew older, I had a “feminist awakening” and I realised I’d been fed an idea of what a beautiful woman looks like based on a capitalist and patriarchal structure. This ideal is impossible to live up to and women are constantly tricked into buying more products we don't need– and for what?! So that ya'll boys can get a stiffy?? Thanks but no thanks, I'd rather look like a woman than a little girl, and your stiffies don’t mean shit to me.
I want to break the trend of shaming women if we’re not hairless everywhere but the head. It’s a small but important way of saying “fuck off” to beauty standards that I feel are obsolete.
Having hair for the first time felt so fun and empowering. It made me feel more beautiful than I’ve ever felt before, contrary to what I first believed I’d feel (when I first stopped shaving I was afraid I’d feel like a gorilla but boy was I wrong).
It also saves me a lot of time and stress about the whole armpit situation. One problem less to care about, right?
Personally, it feels like now, most people are totally cool with it, I’ve actually gotten a lot of compliments about it. The only “negative” experience I’ve had was one time when I was doing a shoot for a line of underwear and they made me shave even though my armpits weren’t showing. So companies still have a long way to go...
Finally, I want to make it clear that I judge no one if they do decide to shave their armpits; everybody has their preferences. But if you do shave, ask yourself who do you do it for. Is it because you feel the sexiest this way? Is it because you think that’s what society expects of you? Is it because your boyfriend thinks “hairy armpits on girls are gross”? (If it’s the last one, toss the whole boyfriend out along with your razor girl)."
– Dea Lundström. Circus artist & actress (2019)