Photographed by Hannah Daisy.
Armpits4August is maybe the coolest health activism campaign we've heard about. Founded in 2012, it's a month-long effort to increase awareness about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work. Because one of the symptoms of PCOS is hirsutism (excessive body hair), a rad group of activists is calling for a show of support that's unlike any other. Participants are encouraged to grow out their underarm hair in solidarity during August, and ask friends and family to sponsor them to raise money for Verity, the charity for people with PCOS.
The campaign is accomplishing two major things with this action. It's calling attention to PCOS, which isn't very well-known — though it affects up to 10% of women and is very prevalent amongst trans men. But, on top of that, it's confronting standards of beauty that are often restricting. As written on their website, "We believe the shame a lot of people feel about their body hair is a consequence of living in a society that regulates, controls, and dictates that female-assigned bodies must conform to incredibly narrow beauty standards." We're all for boundary pushing, which this project is definitely doing.
While some of us here [cough] already opt out of shaving our armpits in general, we think this is an amazing way to visibly show support. Having a non-normative display of body hair isn't always the easiest thing to confidently pull of, but hey: If no one bats an eye about Octobeards, we think it's only fair that armpit hair take its rightful place in the world. Is it a little bit... crunchy? Sure. But we like to envision a future in which women can have all kinds of body hair without it being a thing. August seems like a good time as any to start.