Reclaim the Pits


It all began with a live television broadcast of the Melodifestivalen contest on Swedish TV. The camera panned to the cheering audience, giving the 4.1 million television viewers a blink-and-you-miss-it glimpse of a couple of follicles on a cheering fan's armpit. What happenned next was completely unexpected - a viewer with quick reflexes (and way too much time on his hands) took a screenshot and posted it on Facebook, where it gathered thousands of rude comments in just a couple of hours. The Melodifestivalen singers forgotten, women responded with full fury, supporting the lady in question, forming a facebook group, and protesting by showing off their own unshaved armpits.

Ordinarily, I would scoff at the movement, mumble something about facebook-activism, sensationalism, and questioning the need of a woman to make a public declaration about the state of her armpits. However, the kind of comments the post has been attracting from supposedly modern, free-thinking internet users is a shocking reminder of how sexism seems to be ingrained in our society. Observations range from the graphic "Women should shave, I just lost my lunch" to the scientific "Armpit hair is unhygenic and renders deodrant ineffective". Which makes me wonder why nobody has ever bothered to inform the sweaty wifebeater-wearing men at my gym.


Image: A screenshot of the offending armpit.