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amanda palmer, hairy armpits, and twitter

While some celebrities are paid for their tweets, others use their sphere of influence to create an open discussion about the world we live in.

Amanda Palmer likes to shock people. Formerly of The Dresden Dolls, now a ukulele lover and solo artist in her own right, she seeks to ridicule cultural confines of beauty by questioning the expected hairlessness of women.

For several years now, Amanda has been publically outspoken about the bizarre expectations we have of self-grooming. Several years ago she released a single called Map of Tasmania, mocking the trend of waxing the humble lady garden. At the 2010 Golden Globes, which she attended with husband and writer Neil Gaiman, Amanda famously attended with unshaven armpits.

Speaking about her ethos on body hair, she states that it’s about “freeing yourself from what others think.”

Two years on from her appearance at the Golden Globes, the issue of hairy women has once again surfaced. On April 7th, Amanda tweeted:

‘tonight’s agenda (and topical): ARMPIT ART. interpret at will and send pictures. GO. simple brave photos will suffice.’

The reaction was enormous. Fans tweeted pictures of their armpits, which ranged from delicate stubble, to a spray of blond, to freshly shaved hair. Followers shared with the world the preferred point of pit cultivation.

A loyal follower created a tumblr to combine all pictures. The comments attached to the images ranged from:

I was with someone for a while who didn’t mind when my legs were hairy! Can’t bring myself to do that in public tho

So proud of myself. I feel beautiful

I love when people are offended by my sexier-than-life pits. They offer to cut/trim/shave them for me. Braid them for me. But I love them just as they are. Wild and free.

So, I just lost a prospective boyfriend over my lack of shaving (and a few other reasons). Eff that, I love my pits and the rest of my body hair. If you can’t love my pits you can’t love me. :)

I just turned (gulp) 59. I haven’t shaved since I was 13. Never understood what the big deal was. Don’t like it? Don’t look.

i shaved my pubes to look like a handlebar mustache once. women found it strangely alluring

Due to slightly obsessive fans, Amanda Palmer’s notorious armpits even have their own twitter page.

While male and female counterparts sent in photos, the main demographic of exhibitionists proudly displaying their preference for body hair were young women. Some were blonde, some dark, some even had pink or green hair, all of them rejecting expectations of appearance.

Blogger Emer in vagenda magazine wonders if we are we given a choice when it comes to body hair. She experimentally threw away her razorblade to embrace a furrier self, in a quest to understand friends’ and her own understandings of women and body hair.

Emer describes her actions as ‘gender transgressions’, therefore outlining that we understand hairlessness of the body as an essential feature of femininity. But she comes to realise that while some people are repulsed by “woolly women”, it is freeing to challenge social norms and discover a version of femininity that suits her.

And that’s just it. There is no magical formula which says you should or shouldn’t shave. It’s all about deciding what’s comfortable.

Last month, Amanda tweeted:

the beauty standard is a strange strange thing. the goal is total freedom – not a new set of rules. do what you feel. do not make apologies.

To Amanda I say, good work sister. It’s inspiring to see a celebrity deconstructing the beauty norm.

3 thoughts on “amanda palmer, hairy armpits, and twitter

  1. We LOVE Amanda Palmer and this quote pretty much sums it up:
    “the beauty standard is a strange strange thing. the goal is total freedom – not a new set of rules. do what you feel. do not make apologies.”
    At Armpits 4 August we are all about providing a space for women to try new things with their body hair in a supportive environment. That way women can make a truly informed decision about how they want to groom themselves.
    We will be doing Armpits 4 August for a second year in 2013, please join us! We ask supporters to grow their armpit hair, or any body hair really, for a month and to be sponsored. The money raised goes to Verity The PCOS Charity. PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is a condition that affects 1 in 10 women in the UK. It can cause excess body hair growth, weight gain, fertility problems, mood swings and a whole load of other symtoms that can be physically and emotionally damaging. We are raising money to help fund vital research into this condition, whilst providing a space to talk about female body hair and the wider topic of female beauty stereotypes.
    If you are interested please find us on Twitter @armpits4august, Facebook ‘Armpits4August’, or visit our website http://www.armpitsforaugust.com
    MERRY PITMAS! xx

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