Roxie Hunt didn't set out to be a spokesperson for armpit hair and feminism.
But one day Hunt stopped shaving under her armpits, a decision that sparked conversations about body hair and fashion choices at Vain, the downtown salon where she works.
And then she got another idea: What if they dyed their armpit hair in electric Kool-Aid colors? Hunt, who runs the popular How To Hair Girl blog, dyed her friend’s armpits a bright teal blue to match her hair. And then she blogged about it in a post that got shared 30,000 times.
“The Today show, Kathy Lee and Hoda, got their hands on the story and completely ripped it apart,” Hunt said. “They were just absolutely disgusted by it.”
But Hunt, who noted that Kathy Lee and Hoda don’t have armpit hair, said it shouldn’t be considered gross. “It’s just natural,” she said. “It’s just hair that grows.”
She learned that in Europe, many women don’t remove their armpit hair. In the U.S., armpit hair is taboo, and women are more likely to shave their pits.
“I think it’s cleanliness; I think it's like a weird obsession with youth,” she said. “I think that's something to distinguish the sexes.
“As Americans we have weird issues that have to do with the standards that are set on us, especially regarding our bodies and beauty and what that means and who gets to choose that.”
For Hunt, this little experiment had become what she calls direct action feminism.
“I work in the beauty industry which is as everyone knows an industry that pushes a lot of standards on women,” she said. “But I strongly believe in a woman's right to choose what she does with her own body. I'm a huge advocate of empowering women to really think about the choices that they make and make them for the right reasons.”
Vain hasn’t been deluged with requests for armpit dying, Hunt said – “people might be just waiting a little longer or having to grow out their pit hair first before they come in.”