I never understood the conceptual theory behind the unshaven armpits and what relevance they have with feminism and its ideals. Considering that feminism’s ground rules are basically to support women of all backgrounds and beliefs and encourage them to be unapologetically themselves at all times, you would think that the omnipresent image of this woman would be representative of more than one type.
If I announced that I was a firm believer in the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men; it would probably come as a surprise considering I shave my arm pits at least twice a week, I don’t favor granny panties, I’m not a part of a female-only support group, and I’m not all over the web exploring my “sexual freedom” with nude artsy pictures of myself. Yes, these are all subliminal references.
Apparently, the unshaven pits represent women who don’t bound themselves to the feminine stigma of attractiveness and the stereotypes that women have to be gracious and neat. Although this may not be a practice of EVERY feminist in the modern world, it has become a global cliché for women to be natural and rebellious.
The thing about feminism is that it isn’t labeled and confined to specific rules. This is what separates it from being a cult and makes it an international motion among believers and change-makers. Although makeup is not a part of my daily routine, and relaxed fitting clothing is, I do not equate my style of dress and my physical appearance to my principles as a feminist. I am a supporter of women, women like me and women unlike me, but I am not a hardcore representation of the “contemporary feminist” that you see today; with her thick natural eyebrows and puffy bikini line―I find these details quite off-putting and unnecessary to the motive of feminist theory. Not only has this new feminism look left the media with stereotypes and judgment of other non-feminist women, it has separated the female community, completely undermining the original basis of the movement. This unkempt image of the modern feminist makes this more of a trend than a stride towards equality among sexes.
Today, scrolling down hashtag #feminism post searches on any particular social media outlet, I find pictures of the famed journalist Gloria Steinem, some dope photos of Pam Grier as Foxy Brown, Marilyn Monroe memes and occasionally some tastefully nude photo-shoots of women in their most “natural” form. The female community has been flooded with illegitimate ways to practice feminism and misconceptions about the theory at large, but in 2015 there is a better way to integrate feminine equality notions in everyday action, rather than looking the part.
One ideology that we have to rid of is the idea that feminism has a face. Feminism is an act not an object. The act itself is a commitment to fight for women’s rights and equality on all societal platforms, which means feminism does not discriminate against people of other sexes. A part of a feminists’ job is to support women and their choices of self-expression, meaning there are various ways to celebrate and implement this notion, but such notions should not be pigeonholed into a particular style. I think that if the image of feminism was less isolated, more women would feel accepted into the evolving sub-culture. The only way to truly understand feminism is to adopt your own way of girl power and find new ways to exercise it in your own right. There is no list of right and wrong ways to be proud of being a woman. In 2015, Feminism certainly has a new face, and it has nothing to do with your appearance. It’s a mindset best labeled as―Girl Boss.