So, Sunday night was supposed to be all about Taylor Swift’s big video reveal. Yeah, yeah, look what she made us do. Over on the perpetually knotty Game of Thrones, Arya and Sansa Stark finally made up and played nice (aside from that slit throat, of course) in the finale. But the big news to emerge from Sunday involves Paris Jackson.
The entertainer/actress/model showed up at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards after apparently ditching the razor and pulling a Miley Cyrus (circa 2015). Or Julia Roberts from 1999.
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Jackson decided that the best accessories to accompany her Christian Dior Resort 2018 frock was pit hair, plus a pretty damn powerful speech against hate and bigotry. “Let’s leave here tonight remembering that we must show these Nazi white supremacist jerks in Charlottesville and all over the country that as a nation with liberty as our slogan, we have zero tolerance for their violence, their hatred, and their discrimination. We must resist,” she told the audience. Amen.
Aesthetically, she, too, made a statement. I grew up in Germany, where women casually sported serious armpit tufts and curls, without bothering to shave or wax or laser or tweeze. The same applied to the lady parts. Basically, no one seemed to #GAF and did whatever they wanted, and didn’t earn any reproachful glances or side-eye. So the obsession in this country with keeping things baby-smooth is a little baffling, even as celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow boast about their ’70s “vibe.” Plus, it didn’t help my self-esteem when a dude, during an ill-advised hookup, told me he liked “a clean work area.” Meaning, get thee a Gillette, stat. So I did.
Times, though, they are a-changin’. Nearly 25 percent of millennials leave their pits as nature intended, according to a 2016 study from the research group Mintel. The study found that among women aged 16 to 24, 77 percent shaved under their arms, down from 95 percent in 2013. #Progress, people.
But things are, ahem, more fuzzy below the belt. A 2016 study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology confirmed that 62 percent of women surveyed totally removed their pubes at least once while 84 percent definitely did some form of grooming. Otherwise, they reported that they felt unclean.
Di Medlock, director of waxing at Exhale Spa, says going natural is about making a statement. “Most of the underarm hair that I come into contact with isn’t long for this world,” she tells Allure. “I’ve found that having natural underarms has less to do with being low maintenance. It’s reactive, visual and easily exposed, especially in the summer.”
But attitudes towards body hair in general have changed, she reports. It’s not so much about what’s trendy, but about personal choice. Women, says Medlock, “are more interested in pleasing themselves then doing what they are told.”
All of this is to say, shave or don’t shave — just do whatever the hell you want.
More 2017 MTV VMAs moments to check out:
- The Best Beauty Looks of the 2017 MTV VMAs
- Katy Perry’s Hair and Makeup for the VMAs Is Extremely “Cool Mom”
- Vanessa Hudgens Looked Like the Dancing Girl Emoji With Red Winged Liner at the VMAs
Now, watch this video on dispelling body hair beauty myths: