WOMEN

This Woman Refuses To Shave Her Armpits, And Gender Equality Is Only Part Of It

06/29/2015 05:56 pm ET

More and more women are refusing to shave their armpits -- and resisting patriarchal beauty standards in the process.

Loyola University of Chicago student Bobby Crowley, who stopped shaving her underarms a few years ago, spoke to the double standard men and women face when it comes to their body hair in a conversation with HuffPost Live.

"It's not just a body image thing, but it's also a gender thing," she said. "This is very clearly a gendered prescription that has been put upon women, whereas men are walking around and no one expects them to shave their armpits, obviously. People will talk about it like it's a hygiene thing, but really it's a gender thing. It's absolutely only prescribed only to women, and there's no way that women are any messier than [men], that's for sure."

While Lizzie Crocker, a staff writer at The Daily Beast, told HuffPost Live's Nancy Redd that unshaven pits have become "inextricably linked to feminism," Crowley said her choice to stop shaving was simply a personal one.

"Most importantly for me, when I started, it wasn't about a movement. It wasn't about anyone but myself. I would shave [my armpits] and they would be bleeding," she said. "And really the reason I stopped is because I sort of looked at myself and said, I'm literally hurting myself every day because I have really sensitive skin."

When she stepped back and questioned why she had been shaving every day, she had an epiphany.

"[I was not shaving] for me. It was a worry that when I lift my arms, I'm going to be shamed for having made a decision about my body that doesn't go with how other people feel," she said. "And that, to me, was most important."

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about the female armpit hair movement here.

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