Armpits4August is organised by a small group of women (full-, part- and no-time hairies) that, whilst not necessarily agreeing on everything, believe talking and acting on these issues is important. We would LOVE to hear from anyone who would like to get involved with organisation (at any level), both in London (where we are mostly based/centred) as well as anyone who would like to roll this out in other regions/cities/countries/galaxies. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Tasha is a 25-year-old genderqueer anarcha-feminist, a vegan, and a semi-competent hula hooper. They have been growing out their body hair for over three years, and spent a lot of the first couple of years growing and loving their body hair before then freaking out, shaving it all off and starting again. They are now in a happy place with their hair, and particularly love the feeling of a warm summer breeze wafting through their leg hair. Although they do not suffer from PCOS, they have seen how it affects the lives of many of their closest friends; they got involved with Armpits4August as a further step in ridding the world of patriarchal bullshit and in solidarity with these friends. They are also terrible at using Paint and have better shoes in real life. Tasha is Events Officer for Armpits4August.
Sarah is a 28-year-old anti-capitalist feminist and lesbian. When she’s not going round in circles in the impossible labyrinth of intersectional feminism, she can be found cooking feasts for friends or listening to brilliant music far too loudly. Her interactions with various feminists and feminist groups led her to start thinking about growing out her body hair a couple of years ago and she found herself surprised at how ridiculously hard it is; she only feels comfortable with her pit hair, the rest she is not (yet) brave enough to show/always grow. Furthermore, as someone with PCOS, she found herself in a position where she was growing out her ‘normal’ body hair, but every bit as self-aware (perhaps more so?) and keen to remove her ‘abnormal’ body hair. Armpits4August is a way for her to continue to work on this unsatisfactory and often embarrassing situation, and encourage others to think a bit more about this too. Sarah aspires to a future where she is comfortable with all of her hair, and where everything she owns is mustard yellow. Sarah is the Social Media Coordinator for the group.
Gina is a 23 year old graduate, experienced in fundraising for charity and looking forward to growing her armpit hair for the first time! As a liberal feminist she agrees that all women should have the freedom to let their beautiful body hair grow, without worry of the reactions of others. However, she personally enjoys grooming her body hair, but is open to the suggestion that she may feel differently by the end of August! With close friends affected by PCOS, Gina is looking forward to doing her part to spread awareness and raise funds to show her support and solidarity.
Emma is a 23 year old student. Among other things, she likes French, red lipstick, and long train journeys. She has always considered herself a feminist. Lately, her encounters with the language and ideas of radical feminism so far have made her slightly confused and slightly more anxious about what it means to be a woman, and a feminist. She has always shaved her legs and armpits (well, since age 12). Now she is concerned that she is colluding in her own oppression. She slightly resents feeling that way when there are already so many things for women to worry about. She is tentatively involved with Armpits for August because she thinks that, like her, a lot of women probably aren’t sure how to feel about body hair, and that it is worth continuing the debate, especially with the aim of raising money for PCOS. Emma is undecided as to whether to grow her armpit hair in August.
I’m a 25-year-old post-grad student who’s interested in feminist, gender/queer and anarchist theory and politics. When I’m not studying I can be found talking to cats, dancing with my friends or changing my hair colour (although I don’t usually dye my pit hair!). I haven’t removed any of my body hair for a few years now and believe that the stigma attached to women’s body hair is indicative of the deeply sexist society we live in. I don’t have PCOS but am concerned by the lack of funding for so-called women’s health issues and hope that my first year with the Armpits4August team will be a productive one. Kirsty is the Direct Action Officer for group.
(the other) Sarah
Sarah is a 31 year old feminist campaigner and activist. Sarah became a member of the Armpits4August gang in solidarity with women who have PCOS and because she tired of women being bullied and governed by a society which denies them autonomy over their own body. She believes such attitudes to be vile and completely unacceptable. Sarah was a full-time pit shaver until she joined the group and since experimenting (and blogging the whole process) in August 2012, she decided to keep her armpit hair. Sarah still shaves her legs- not because she feel like she should but purely because she prefers them that way (at least she hopes that’s why she does it…) Sarah believes that it is important to make a space for women to reclaim their bodies and to remind women that their bodies are fabulous, just as they are - in spite of what the beauty and fashion industries would have women believe. Aside from her feminist activities, Sarah works for an NGO and edits a sub section of an online magazine. Sarah enjoys cooking, yoga, raspberry leaf tea, and loud music. Sarah is the Armpits4August Website Officer.
Hannah Daisy is a 28 year old mental health worker, photographer, queer, creative type, cat lover, and hula hooper. She alo has dip-dyed blue hair which, for some reason, feels natural! She does not eat meat, cooks vegan and is learning more and more about freeganism. Hannah grew her armpit hair for the first time in her life in during August 2012 and discovered it wasn’t quite as scary as she first thought. She has now has been experimenting with her relationship with her own body hair. She was diagnosed with PCOS almost a decade ago and the symptoms of the condition affect her everyday. She is very open about PCOS and believes in the importance of talking about the, sometimes embarrassing, symptoms to help people understand but also to help other women open up about their own experiences, to not feel isolated. She found last years Armpits4August was a positive platform for beginning discussion on the subject and is excited about the future of the campaign. Hannah Daisy is the Armpits4August official photographer and workshop organiser
Chloe is a freelance journalist, specialising in gender, sexuality, feminism, family and health. Writing mostly for the LGBTQ press, Chloe often mixes with queer, anarchist and feminist folk for whom body hair is just not an issue. Nevertheless, putting a total stop to hair removal throughout the month of August remained a personal and curious challenge. Although the eyebrows soon returned to the salon for their monthly threading torture, all other strands of hair were permitted to remain in their radically natural state. Surprised by the vast range of supporters, from liberal allies to proud-to-be-plucked ladyfriends, Chloe perseveres in raising crucial questions about the idealised, unrealistic images of beauty that supposedly constitute womanliness; an issue that can be particularly pertinent to those with PCOS. Chloe is 28 years old, lesbian and along with writing, she loves travelling, theatre-going and chocolate eating. Chloe is the Armpits4August Media Officer.
Claire, 19, socialist, very feminist. Claire quit shaving 3 years ago and got involved with A4A because she believes it’s so important for women to feel liberated and confident in their bodies, without the nightmare of the hair removal process. Claire has managed to feel comfortable with her leg/ armpit hair on show by now, but she remembers it being quite difficult at first; Claire wanted to get involved to encourage women facing the same dilemma and help them challenge the hoops women are expected to jump through to be seen as beautiful or acceptable! Claire fully supports the initiative and the fundraising for Verity, because PCOS can make women feel extra self conscious so I want to show solidarity with them. Aside from being into feminism, Claire likes country and bluegrass music, punk music, kayaking, her hamster Hugh and history which she hope to study at some point!
HAIRY HALL OF FAME.
Creative Media Officer, 2012/13.
I am a 28-year old student who just loves Critical Theory. My path to hairiness was a rocky road to be honest. When I first got to know Sarah and Tasha we got into a heated discussion about the importance of rising up against the hairless regime and I refused to take it seriously. But it made me wonder for what reasons I was so reluctant about being a woman with natural body hair. So I just started not shaving as an experiment. And ever since then I experienced at first hand the struggle of having to defend hairy armpits, legs or pubic area. It wasn’t particularly that people would say mean things to me in public. But in my circle of friends and family I started to discuss the importance of putting my razor away. And this time I was on the opposite side of the discussion. I wouldn’t say that I particularly love being a hairy woman, but I definitely don’t love to be non-hairy either. I love that I have more time for other things in the bathroom, like flossing. For me it is all about putting my body back to zero and then examining for what reasons I do things, especially shaving my body hair. Growing out my body hair has taught me a lot of things about myself and it is just the start of a journey of finding out how much of my body actually belongs to me. I don’t have PCOS but I encourage every woman to take part in a project which not only aims to help women with PCOS feel better in their bodies and to be recognized as the amazing and beautiful women they are, but to encourage every woman to take a step back and look at her body differently, learning to love herself without bending over backwards to comply with an obscure ideal of feminine beauty.