Hairy Underarms.....

topic posted Sun, October 31, 2004 - 12:18 PM by  Luna
This thread is continued from the NVBD Competition thread.

Leana wrote: "My response [to] the the hairy armpits. There is nothing wrong with not shaving personaly but it is unprofessional and the majority of the population finds it very offensive."

~~I have to say that, on stage and elsewhere, what is and isn't professional should be and always eventually is determined by the creaters of the art. You cannot have a show without the dancers, and in UNMATA's case, we ARE the choreographers, dancers, and sometimes the musicians....So while traditional stage etiquette for dancers may *suggest* we cover up what naturally occurs on the body (head, underarms, legs, etc.) it also suggests we wear pink tights, shoes that reform the bones of the foot, or even leotards which do not leave any such thing as chilly nipples to the imagination.

~~All standards were once controversial, and are based on pivotal moments when individuals or groups felt confident enough in what they stood for that they did not bend to the unfair restraints of the norm.

Leana also wrote: "I know many men that trim and groom their body hair for it is a very personal thing."

~~I also know quite a few men who trim or shave all together. My point is that it is broadly accepted for men to choose, while with women, it is broadly assumed that if they do not shave they are unclean, unattractive, and socially unfit.

Leana wrote: "Until the rest of the U.S. changes their opinion on body hair it would be best to cover it up in a truly professional performance."

Imagine life for women without the people who were willing to take a tomato in the face for a woman's right to own land, to vote, to get paid equally for doing the same job as her male colleage, to call the cops if she was abused by her husband, or to seek help when raped by a stranger.

While I respect your opinion about what you feel is proper on stage, I must disagree with your comment that it is best to cover it up until they change. I feel that to truly perform dance, you must be able to be *yourself* onstage and express yourself through movement.

And I believe that in competitions, the judges panel should provide an equal opportunity for all dancers involved, and while they should consider costuming, it should be based on this question: How does the costume contribute to the overall effect of the piece? Not: How closely related to the Hollywood-created "bellydancer stereotype" are this group's costumes?

posted by:
  • Unsu...

    Re: Hairy Underarms.....

    Sun, October 31, 2004 - 4:26 PM
    Well...personally I like clean underarms on myself cause it helps with odor control.

    However, covering it up to fit the status might have to wait 'til beyond death, cause change can be slow sometimes, and in the end, one never pleases anybody, so might as well please oneself first.

    If the dancers are polite, rehearse, work hard, and their outfits are made with a lot of tlc, and they appreciate their audience, that will carry a long way, more so than worrying whose arm pits are shaved or not.

    Besides, just like some men don't like women with hairy arm pits..some women don't like men with hairy backs, but you don't see many women campaigning against that, so why worry about some other woman's hairy arm pits? Professionalism is made up by much more important factors than that.

    UNMATA, do you guys have video clips on your website to watch? It'll be a while before I can get myself to the states and watch any bellyd ance troupe... :)
  • Unsu...

    Re: Hairy Underarms.....

    Sun, October 31, 2004 - 4:26 PM
    Well...personally I like clean underarms on myself cause it helps with odor control.

    However, covering it up to fit the status might have to wait 'til beyond death, cause change can be slow sometimes, and in the end, one never pleases anybody, so might as well please oneself first.

    If the dancers are polite, rehearse, work hard, and their outfits are made with a lot of tlc, and they appreciate their audience, that will carry a long way, more so than worrying whose arm pits are shaved or not.

    Besides, just like some men don't like women with hairy arm pits..some women don't like men with hairy backs, but you don't see many women campaigning against that, so why worry about some other woman's hairy arm pits? Professionalism is made up by much more important factors than that.

    UNMATA, do you guys have video clips on your website to watch? It'll be a while before I can get myself to the states and watch any bellyd ance troupe... :)
  • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

    Sun, October 31, 2004 - 5:46 PM
    I applaud women who display the courage to show their natural bodies in the face of a society that says that we are ugly in our natural state. It truly blows my mind when I think that we are considered 'offensive' because hair grows on our legs. Especially since it's not a choice we got to make. lol
    I believe that it is only with this courage to accept ourselves as beautiful as we are, in the face or popular oppinion -or hair removal manufactorers! -will the "norm" be changed to something different.
    And as it relates to dancing, I'm very sure that hair on arms and legs does not affect the way they move.
  • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

    Mon, November 1, 2004 - 11:45 AM
    You go girls! We frequently don't shave in Domba and I haven't shaved more than just a couple times in the last 10 years.
    You gals will help change the standards by which we are judged (unfortunately). They'll get used to it and in a few years, I bet it won't be an issue any longer.
    But good for you for standing up for your own hair!
    • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

      Mon, November 1, 2004 - 7:40 PM
      Ha ha... this is sort of unrelated, but funny and pertinent. I saw a bumper sticker today that said:


      Heee heee heee....

      By the way, hairy mammas, don't forget to vote. Especially those of you in Nevada, Ohio, Florida, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania.
      • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

        Mon, November 1, 2004 - 11:07 PM
        What about 5 o'clock shadow under the pits of us hairy greek/italians?? ;)

        I, for one, am guilty of this at shows, but no one ever tells me I am unprofessional (at least not to my face!) I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that having underarm hair was unprofessional. In fact, many bellydancers who I know from other countries all have hair under their arms, and are fab dancers who are well respected.

        To tell you the truth, I don't really notice pits when people dance. I'm too mesmerized with the way they're moving their bodies and with the choreography.
        • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

          Mon, November 1, 2004 - 11:15 PM
          Melanie, I'm sure no one would ever point out your five-o'clock because they were way too mesmerized with the rest of you, wink wink ;-)
          • This post was deleted by Luna
          • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

            Mon, November 1, 2004 - 11:19 PM
            *blush* :)

            Hey, how did Saturday night go? Sorry I missed it! Any pics?
            • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

              Mon, November 1, 2004 - 11:21 PM
              I saw lots of flashes, but non of them were from my camera... I was too busy, unfortunately to even remember to bring it. But I suspect pictures will start appearing soon....

              The stage area was decorated so nicely, with carved pumpkins and branches and little lights and candles and moss and brooms and all kinds of stuff like that. I hope someone got a picture or two of that, and hopefully everything else too...
    • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

      Tue, November 2, 2004 - 8:48 AM
      just to clarify my sentence stating "you gals will help change the standards by which we are judged (unfortunately)" - I hope you all know I meant that it's unfortunate that we are judged, and not unfortunate that you're changing it!
      ahhhh, grammar, grammar, grammar
      • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

        Tue, November 2, 2004 - 9:43 AM
        Hi everybody,
        Just wanted to throw in my 2c worth.
        In cabaret style performances, since the audience kind of expects a certain thing, I think it's more acceptable to shave. But that's just my opinion.
        But tribal/fusion/whatever venues, anything goes. I'm a hairy Goddess-sized woman, and one of my students/co-dancers also recently converted, so add to that a black-haired Goth chick and a very short Pacific Islander woman, and so we have quite a unique stage presence. So far, no-one's said anything (maybe they're afraid of us!). Even if they did, we'd tell them to shove it (aren't we nice?).
        All the stupid double standards society tells us we "should" and "should not" do, we have to rebel against if we want change. Otherwise we'd still be wearing corsets and covering our ankles.
        • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

          Tue, November 2, 2004 - 10:09 AM
          I agree that in cabaret sytle performances the audience is looking for a specific apperance, they want to see a glamourous looking dancer dripping in sequins and beads and floating veils and that generally does not include body hair. Tribal on the other hand has such a range of sub-styles that I would think anything goes, for judges to say that a tribal troupe should shave the pits is petty in my opinion. They should be judging within the style of the performance itself and not with "cabaret eyes".

          I myself don't like body hair of any kind and if I could be permanently hairless except for my eyelashes, eyebrows and head I would be perfectly happy but I don't have the means for full body electrolisis. I really don't like seeing body hair on women either so it's a little shocking for me to see women dancers with hairy pits but that's just my own issue with body hair, I just don't like it. However, if others choose to "let their garden grow" who am I to judge and say they can't do that, to each their own. A little pit hair does not define a person, their actions and words do.
          • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

            Tue, November 2, 2004 - 10:58 AM
            I don't see why it should be any different from cabaret to tribal. It's not about whether your armpit hair "goes" with your costume, it is about commonly accepted social norms within the audience you are perofrming for. How important is it to you to present yourselves in a way that is pleasing to your audience (or panel of judges), and how important is it that you do what you feel regardless of how your audience may react? It's an ongoing question for artists of all mediums...

            I would NEVER tell anyone that they should shave to make other people happy... that is, unless they choose to. If not shaving is the choice you make, then you have to accept the consequences based on that action (or inaction, as the case may be) in the current cultural context. I don't have a lot of sympathy for folks who are angry that they are "judged" for having body hair, or tattoos, or piercings or any of the above. You live in the same society as everyone else and must be fully aware of the effect personal appearance can have on your perceived image. I fit the latter two, personally, and have gladly made the choice to have visible body modifications, regardless of how some people may react to them. If I were a professional cabaret dancer, for instance, I would be at risk of not getting gigs for having my very prominent lower back tattoo. My husband chooses not to get some piercings/tattoos he wants because he knows that some companies would be reluctant to hire him based on image alone (big guy, long hair, goatee--he already has image issues in some circles, and those he accepts and deals with). One can accept that and go ahead with the tattoo anyway, or I can choose to not get the tattoo and get the recognition/gig/job/whatever they may prioritize more highly.

            The ladies of Unmata made a choice with their armpit hair, and they have to accept that there is a standard they will be judged against which does not believe it to be part of a professional image. Just like wearing a tee shirt and jeans to an interview instead of a business suit may send a message that may or may not be received well by those in power, regardless of how much you believe people should be able to wear jeans and tee shirts to the office. You need to decide what is important to you. I staunchly defend your right to shave or not, but you are the only one who has to live with the consequences of your choices.

            I will say this: if the armpit hair portion of the image was the ONLY factor which affected the results of a voting situation, I would give it much less weight. If it were part of a large package of issues, in presentation, skill, etc, then I may consider it part of a larger issue that might benefit from being addressed.

            (PS If you want to know my take on it, even if it makes me unpopular in your forum, we have one member who does not shave, and as a result, the entire troupe wears costumes that cover their armpits. She has made a choice, and we do not force her to change it--we have adapted in such a way that she can continue to not shave as she wishes, and we can still present the commonly accepted professional image we prioritize for our troupe. We feel that our troupe is *not* a forum for political/social statements, so we cover up. If you feel the need to make a statement, and/or just plain think it's more important to not shave than to conform to commonly accepted Western aesthetics in order to be accepted in some circles of the dance community, keep on keepin' on! You got mad skilz, this I know. I'm an Unmata fan! :))
            • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

              Tue, November 2, 2004 - 12:59 PM
              I appreciate hairy arm pits. It seems natural and I think it adds to an exotic look. I remember watching the belly dancers at the Whole Earth Festival in Davis this year and being mesmerized by the beautifully detailed costumes, as well as the rythmic movements, but then I caught a glimpse of this one dancer's arm pit hair, and I thought to myself "Wow, that's pretty cool."
              • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                Tue, November 2, 2004 - 1:22 PM
                Women's Health Issues: Body Image
                (Posted 5/02; last revised 1/16/03)

                The pressure on women to look and behave in certain ways is so deeply ingrained in our psyches that it’s easy to overlook the impact mass culture has on how we feel about ourselves and our bodies. Watching TV, reading magazines and newspapers, surfing the Net, we are bombarded with airbrushed images of perfect beauty and thinness. Inevitably we absorb the relentless message that such beauty is the norm, and is achievable, if only we would … use this makeup, remove that hair, buy the right clothes, reshape that body part.

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                The Body Positive is a great site committed to helping women feel good about the bodies we have. Their motto, Change Your Mind, Change Your Culture, and Let Your Body Be, informs their website, which suggests, among other things, “taking up occupancy inside your own skin, rather than living above the chin until you're thin.” One page asks the question, What will you miss out on if you fail to love your body and treat it as it truly deserves to be treated? The reader responses are powerful and often wrenching.
                About Face is a rebellious, witty site designed to encourage a healthy skepticism about media images and the messages of popular culture. By exposing the impact of mass media on the health and self-esteem of women and girls, the site hopes to empower young people to feel confident about their individuality, their abilities, and their bodies. Their Archive of Offenders highlights images depicting women as junkies, stick figures, mannequins, bimbos and inanimate objects, while their Making Changes section has activist-oriented tools to help hold advertisers responsible for the images they create.
                The Real Women Project was designed to counter the effects of negative imagery on women and to provide tools to help us “rebuild … society's view of outer beauty and inner wellness.” The heart of the project, which also includes poetry, video, music and storytelling, is a series of 13 sculptures of women of all ages, cultures, and ethnicities. The creators of the site hope the power of their art will inspire dialogue and self-awareness, broaden our definition of beauty, deepen our understanding of well-being, and inspire us to bring about positive change.
                The number 1 “magic wish” of girls 10-14 is to lose weight. In a recent study of nearly 10,000 girls aged 8-12, 17% induced induced vomiting or used laxatives or diet pills to lose weight. By the time girls reach adolescence, eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness afflicting them. The women and girls of New Moon Magazine, frustrated by these statistics and wafer-thin media images of women, are fighting to redefine beauty. Their ad campaign, "Turn Beauty Inside Out", focuses on who girls are and what they do, not on how they look. In their first action, New Moon challenged People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People” with its own special issue, "25 Beautiful Girls." The girls profiled shine in many different arenas, from athletics to academics to activism.
                Body Icon: Fear and Loathing the Mirror examines the “conning of American women into the pursuit of the perfect body” through diets, disordered eating, plastic surgery, and other efforts to attain the impossible standards of beauty offered by the media. This slick, sophisticated site was created as a masters project by three students at the Columbia School of Journalism who set out to discover “why women educated about the trappings of the diet and beauty industry are still falling prey to the media’s con.”
                "Slim Hopes: Advertising and the Obsession with Thinness" and "Beyond Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women" are two videos by Jean Kilbourne that dissect the impact advertising and its rigid cultural ideals of beauty have on the health and self-esteem of women. The website includes clips from the videos as well as study guides and other resources.
       bills itself as a “body image site for every body.” The satiric humor of this site extends to their interactive game, Feed the Model, where the arrows on your keyboard let you pitch food with varying caloric content into the mouth of the skeletal dancing model. Each successful throw causes her to gain weight and liberate herself from starvation.
                One Size Does Not Fit All. That’s the motto of Fat and Feminist: Large Women's Health Experiences. This article on the website of the Feminist Women’s Health Center has information the risks of dieting and eating disorders and conveys these disturbing facts: Americans spend $40 billion on weight loss programs and products each year. Over 95% of people who diet regain the weight they lost within 5 years. Dieting is associated with an 8-fold increase in the probability of developing an eating disorder. Over 150,000 women in the Unites States die of anorexia each year. The site includes Ten Reasons to Give Up Dieting, 10 Steps for Loving Your Body Just As It Is, and links to online resources on fat women, fat acceptance, and fat activism
                • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                  Tue, November 2, 2004 - 7:01 PM
                  Thank you for your post! Alot of information and food for thought.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                    Wed, November 3, 2004 - 2:54 AM
                    Kind of brought up memories from Naomi Wolf's "Beauty Myth," which I read a long time ago.

                    Brings to mind another point that I've appreciated from the belly dancing that I've seen. Some of these women have a little more size than meets the stereotype idea of beauty and that is a wonderful thing to see in terms of a woman being confident with what she has and working it.

                    Another thing that it brought to mind was my experiences at BM of the Critical Tit parade: Thousands of women of all ages, sizes and shapes. Sort of overwhelming for a guy, but it makes one appreciate that beauty really does take many different forms.
                    • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                      Wed, November 3, 2004 - 9:14 AM
                      Darrow and others:

                      I think you've tackled the point here. BEAUTY should not have to be defined by a stereotype, especially one that is miles away from what we would be if we were all trapped on a desert island somewhere without max factor, nair and dexitrim.

                      Yes, I believe beauty is on the outside as well as the inside. I believe it is natural for us to first judge a book by its cover. But if you don't even open the book to take a peak.... well. Whose loss is it?

                      UNMATA has now participated in quite a few competitions, several of which we have won, including Bellydance Troupe of the Year.

                      With our first competition set, we received two kinds of criticism. The first type, of which we received only once or twice, was helpful: You need more line changes. The second type, of which we received a plethora: SHAVE! YOU'RE INAPPROPRIATE. YOUR COSTUMES ARE WEIRD.

                      With our second competition set, we received only one kind of criticism, since we fixed our stagnant lines: SHAVE! YOU'RE INAPPROPRIATE. YOUR COSTUMES ARE WEIRD.
                      • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                        Wed, November 3, 2004 - 9:22 AM
                        Yeesh, that kind of criticism really bites. Oh well, opinions are like a$$holes, everybody's got one. I'm glad that didn't deter you, Luna (or anyone else here) from being your beautiful natural self. Well done, ladies.
                        • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                          Wed, November 3, 2004 - 11:37 AM
                          I like your costumes! Congrats on the trophy, by the way. Wish I could've seen you guys place!
                          • Unsu...

                            Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                            Wed, November 3, 2004 - 3:00 PM
                            this whole thing just freaks me out, first bush/ cheney, now this!!!!

                            i suppose i could rant on it forever, but i'll spare you all. it just gets harder and harder everyday for me to understand where some people are coming from. it's SOOO weird that women have an expectation to change how our bodies are on their own!

                            i have heard the "well, you have tattoos, those weren't naturally there!" there is a big difference between decoration and body hair....

                            we dance in LA almost all of the time, and i haven't ever been told anything, not to my face at least... even in the capital of unnatural expectations. and honestly, if i were to shave my pits i would feel HORRIBLE. it feels like rat skin! and it's just who i am, shaving feels like seeling out to me....i have gotten countless complements for my "bravery".....the fact that it's considered brave just weirds me out!

                            even the basic connotation of tribal seems to be in line with hairy pits...
                            and i like your costumes too!!!
                            • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                              Wed, November 3, 2004 - 6:43 PM
                              Don't shave be natural and everyone will continue to enjoy your look, as far as the vote goes, now you will be able to keep more of your hard earned morey, as your tax rate will not be increased.
                              • Unsu...

                                Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                                Thu, November 4, 2004 - 8:08 PM
                                i wouldn't mind being taxed a little more honestly, if it were for healthcare, higher wages for teachers or better policing.

                                i REALLY liberal (ever met a hairy armpited conservative? probably not!), i'm not even going to get started!

                                but yes, i will continue to not shave, no matter which clown is in doubt about that!
                                • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                                  Fri, November 5, 2004 - 2:06 PM
                                  I've actually met a few hairy conservative. Interestingly, things aren't so cut and dry some times... heh heh heh.
                                  • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                                    Fri, November 5, 2004 - 2:16 PM
                                    that really seems to be a point that MANY are missing these days. very sad too!
                                    • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                                      Fri, November 5, 2004 - 2:32 PM
                                      It all goes back to America's tendency for dichotomies. Things aren't either black or white...that doesn't allow for diversity. Not allowing for diversity is why this thread began in the first place.

                                      I know Katie allows for diversity because I watch her posts on the Sundara Varna tribe, and I think she would agree that trying to understand both sides (even when the other side is WRONG WRONG WRONG ;-) will help bring progress.
                                      • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                                        Fri, November 5, 2004 - 2:51 PM
                                        yes, there is the fact that it's easiest to attempt to look at things in a polar manner; either it's black or it's white... but the simple fact of life is that it's really ALL grey, just different shades. this is especially true in the realm of politics.
                                        doing one's best to see the other's point of view will help bring progress, and if one can learn something from attempting to see the other POV, all the better.
                                        • Unsu...

                                          Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                                          Sat, November 6, 2004 - 1:52 AM
                                          i DEFINITLEY allow for rule-breaking! that's what i live for!

                                          i personally have never met a conservative who doesn't shave, but that by no means makes them non-existent.

                                          this all vagely reminds me of the kinsey sexuality isn't as black and white as it seems....there's a new *mainstream* movie coming out about dr. kinsey....i can't wait to see the reactions to this film!

                                          and thanks for standing up for me luna!
                                • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                                  Sat, November 6, 2004 - 11:14 PM
                                  I'm a hairy armpited conservative and I'm proud of it. I guess I shouldn't be talking like this but I'm honest in my feelings.
                                  • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                                    Sun, November 7, 2004 - 11:11 AM
                                    It's all good to be honest about your feelings here, I don't think we'll burn ya' at the stake or your president......oh well I'll just stop a birdwalk of sorrow that has nothing to do with this post.
                                    Good for you for being hairy though! I think it's ridiculous that underarm hair is such a contraversial topic, have people cut themselves too much shaving that they've lost blood to the brain? Why is it even a factor in judging dance? Dance is such a freedom of expression as is the choice of letting it grow or not.
                                    I have actually lost a job and had "a meeting" over the existence of my underarm hair before so I can attest to the deep seated judgements in this country in regards to "unprofessional underarm hair".
                                    On the whole it is a conservative notion, but I'm always glad when the road bends and the boundries blend. We're all about fusion here -Hehee;-)
                                    • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                                      Thu, December 16, 2004 - 7:08 PM
                                      ya know, I always handle the fuzz issue like this: boss thhinks only males have hairy legs or pits. Males in an office don't show their pits.
                                      So I don't wear pit-revealing clothes at the the party/picnic or such, that's different.
                                      for dance: have you seen some of the T&A sequin troupes out there? THAT's demeaning.Not fuzz.
                                  • Unsu...

                                    speaking my mind and accepting the consequences.

                                    Sun, November 7, 2004 - 3:17 PM
                                    there will be no burning at the stake for sure. please, please feel free to express your opinions!

                                    the reason i *felt* that very few hairy conservatives existed is simply because it's a fairly natural connection. most (statistically) conservatives are christian and since hairy pits (for some weird reason!) are often seen as a rebellion, the two aren't often hand in hand....

                                    CHRISTIANITY: also relating it to tribal, since this dance is sometimes sensual many conservative christians do not like what we do.....

                                    GAY RIGHTS: being a very woman centered dance, the bonds created by the women in this community are undeniable. i feel a closeness to my dance partners like one usually only felt in romantic partnerships......romantic or not, having anyone deny me of my rights to have my love/ partnership recognized by my church/ state is ridiculous. why does anyone care who i marry??? and i love the fact that when i perform, the audience is equally entralled. men AND woman get something out of it. and that our community is so diverse, it rules!!!!

                                    ABORTION: if the government can tell me i HAVE to give birth, when are they going to draw the line? i am responsible for my own actions/ consequences. i am powerful and intelligent and can make my own decisions. this ***I*** feel is the essense of the dance we do!

                                    CENSORSHIP: the other issue is censorship. the republican party is hell bent on controlling the arts/ airwaves.....

                                    THE WAR: and to risk being completely trite, everyone i personally i have conversed with who is involved in ME dance is anti-war. i DO have a problem with the americanization of the middle east and it's people. i am so interested in the way other people live, and don't want this government to globalize that region!!!! i don't like innocent people in any part of the world to be killed!

                                    and, no, i do not believe it is "the price if war"....

                                    so, yeah, there's my rant on armpit hair, bellydance and republicans! i just feel they are contridictions.

                                    if you made it through that all i would love to hear everyone else's views on the subject!
                                    • :-) Right on Katie......

                                      Wednesday was a sad, sad, sad day for me too....

                                      One of my favorite authors, Jeanette Winterson (who, like myself, is a lesbian writer), just posted her November column on her website. It is always interesting to hear International opinions written about America. Here is the direct link:


                                      What irks me most (and I come from a conservative, Christian, Petroleum-based, Texas family so I've experienced it again and again *firsthand*) is that so many Americans are completely unaware of the volatile world opinion of our country. To me, this is the most dangerous issue at hand. There is no checks and balances for world opinion.

                                      Fiscal conservativism irks me less than social, but I simply cannot understand the imperialistic attitude that has emerged. I know it is based in fear and/or ignorance, because everything anti-progress is, but why would ANYONE not want to work towards benefits for the entire globe? Why would anyone support something that is bluntly anti-human rights?

                                      Note that in saying this, I am not grouping all conservatives or liberals into two right or wrong camps. Everyone has the right to their opinion (thank goddess for our country!), but I truly think people haven't explored their own beliefs--on BOTH sides.
                                      • Unsu...
                                        hello beautiful luna!

                                        i too am less irked by fiscal conservatism, and agree with you that i just don't grasp the concept of not being scared that we are most *hated* by the world. that's scary.

                                        i too come from a very right-wing, conservative, logging family. hopefully we are indictative of the overall movement in opinion from our parents gereration to our own... i flat out refuse to discuss politics with them!

                                        i am not looking to bad mouth conservatives as a whole, but there is too much compassion in my heart to understand somethings going on within this country! maybe someday someone can explain it to me....

                                        now off to read that article.....
                                        • Yep, I am the child of Rush Limbaugh lovin' conservatives. I swear my Mom could've coined the phrase "Let them eat cake!" She can be very blind to those outside her small sphere of social influence.

                                          All their kids turned out very liberal. But then again, when three out of the four turn out to be gay, you didn't think they'd be Bible thumping conservatives, didja? (for the record, I am the black sheep het ;)
                                        • I'd love to know more about what it was like growing up in a logging family, actually. That sounds like an interesting parallel. How and when did you find yourself changing your mind politically? I didn't even realize that I felt different than my parents about most things until I was in high school. It took a deep breath and a big step for me to follow my heart.
                                          • not to get back on topic, but i just signed on so i could add to the fluffy pits thread...

                                            having spent the last 7 years in davis, land of the i-don't-look-like-i-live-in-my-vw-bus-in-santa-cruz-but-at-least-i'm-actually-active-in-my-community hippies, and being a non-shaver for the past 3.5 years, i've encountered this issue in a bunch of situations.

                                            (loved it when i heard a boy whom i had recently been intimate with ranting about unshaved legs, but when i asked if he had noticed that mine weren't shaved, he looked very confused and startled and stuttered out a 'no'.)

                                            the most vehement opinion i've ever heard was from a boy who said, when i was complaining about narrow-minded arses who cared whether i shaved, blah blah... 'that's ridiculous. I wouldn't date a girl who DOES shave her legs and armpits.' nooooo no no no no no! dear boy, the point is that *you* don't get an opinion! it's up to the woman in question! sometimes i wish that i felt more like i could shave and not worry that some of my friends might raise their eyebrows.

                                            more specifically about fuzzy pits...

                                            saaaad sad sad:
                                            i haven't shaved in over 3 years, but i have the sorriest excuse for underarm hair you've ever seen. it's terrible!! i think that a nice little soft patch of hair under a girl's armpit is lovely and attractive and a nice color contrast to her skin, and i'm super-jealous of women who have the right amount of hair. mine just looks like i haven't mustered the energy to shave in the past 4 days. approximately 20 straggly strands per pit. sighhhhh... it's a cruel trick of nature.

                                            and a related issue, much trickier in my opinion: bikini line nonsense. talk about society having some weird freak-out problems... wish i could wear my booty-shorts off-playa without feeling like i'm offending everyone who sees me.
                                            • orange said:
                                              "(loved it when i heard a boy whom i had recently been intimate with ranting about unshaved legs, but when i asked if he had noticed that mine weren't shaved, he looked very confused and startled and stuttered out a 'no'.)"

                                              WOW! That is hilarious. Wear your booty shorts girl. Who cares what they think!

                                              What's funny is, usually, I do shave my armpits because it is personally more comfortable for me for skincare reasons. I don't usually shave my legs, although when I am swimming a lot, I find I sleek through the water better when I'm shaved. I also like the feel of wind on bare skin as much as I like it on fuzzy skin. I like both sensations.

                                              The first time I grew my underarm hair out, I was 18 and suffering from a three month long urinary tract infection. It was a very important alone time for me. (We're talking serious 4 of Swords, here) I needed to get to know my body in its wild garden state. I also stopped drinking coffee during this time. In the time since, I have brought both coffee and shaving in and out of my life several time. (coffee.... mmmmm....yummy)

                                              I like the feel of my hair and don't mind the way it looks, but I have to say there is a lot of feminine power in cutting hair too.

                                              I am just now learning this as I've cut the hair on my head shorter and shorter. It started waist length and now it is above my shoulders, and I'm about to cut it again even shorter. I've been surprised by the amount of freedom I've felt from this process. My hair has stopped being an obligation.

                                              Yet I feel positive that at other times in my life I will again feel the need to have a long, long braid.....
                                              • I came across an interesting article this morning:


                                                Here's how Neet chided women in 1924 magazine ads: "Perhaps, because of an old-fashioned scruple, you have hesitated to rid yourself of the disfigurement of underarm hair. Are your arms constantly pinned to your sides? Or do you scorn to wear the filmy or sleeveless frocks that the vogue of the day decrees? In either case, He is apt to think you lifeless and behind the times. He will notice you holding yourself aloof from the swing of convention."
                                                • Greetings,
                                                  I have been watching this thread with interest and am astounded at the varied responses to an issue that is so recent in our history and which should not be a problem at all in the first place.
                                                  I am from Germany and as a foreigner (even though I have gotten used to the US a lot more since I live here now) I like to look at US culture with a more distanced eye.
                                                  When I was growing up, armpit hair was the norm in Germany. Some women shaved (a select few), some women didn't, no one cared either way. It was only when I came to the US a couple of years ago, that I was confronted with the "horrible disfigurement of body hair". Personally since I grew up with a mother who shaved (her armpits but not her leg hair, which I duplicated) I didn't have a problem with "fitting" in. Then I started dancing and everything changed. The cabaret troupe that I belonged to emphasized shaving, I did not question then what I consider wrong now, because one of the dancers, obviously very talented and beautiful did not shave and suffered some amount of harrassment (albeit small in comparison to our judge's notes) from the other troupe members. I did not question, because I was ignorant of the scope of the problem here in America. Now I say to you if you do not shave and someone tells you that you don't, it is their problem not yours and you have every right to stand up for yourself!
                                                  It is ridiculous to make a big issue out of this. It is a woman's personal choice to shave or to decline the process (personally I was vain, the reason was my red hair, which was fake and didn't match my arm pit hair, one of them had to go, so I shaved).
                                                  All I can say to you is this, time will make this trend pass as well and people will calm down about body hair. They had the same thing going on in the Middle Ages when Crusaders brought back the novel Islamic ideal of shaving (both men and women btw). And look what happened afterwards, centuries of no shaving and bathing! Positively fabulous! ;-)
                                                  These judges needed to judge themselves first before they started harping on our choice of how much hair we like on our bodies. We needed to hear about our technique and our dance performance not the amount of hair we possess. We know that already! Meine Guete!
                                                  • Re: speaking my mind and accepting the consequences.

                                                    Wed, November 10, 2004 - 2:10 AM
                                                    I think it's amazing that the subject of strands of organic DNA matter going unsevered in the axillary region of the human anatomy has triggered such lively and might I say political postings! War, gay rights, abortion, yes- these are things to be conserned about, underarm hair not that hairy of a problem.

                                                    It's beginning to settle into my system that this country is way too fucked up in their priorities. Excuse me for being synical, but is everyone in this country driving gas gusslin' SUV's to Walmart and sneering at the radical activist dedicating time on the streets protesting war, the backwards morals of a president that condems same sex Love Unions and supports war that spawns toture, rape and ohh yeah death, all the while tring not to lose cell phone connection and running over SQUIRRELS!!
                                                    Yes, the Real problem is all those damn squirrels! Have you SEEN how HAIRY they are? Sure they can climb well, but they lose points for not grooming their tails.....

                                                    When I saw Unmata compete I set myself for the strong possibility that they might not win. Not because of any reason but the sticks some judges were sitting on might cause them to focus only on three ladies pits. When Y'all won I jumped out of my seat and blissed out, I was soo happy. That win was dispite the one dipwads low score (on technical ability-yeah right) and rude comments from a few judges on your cards. Never forget that it's not what others think about us that makes us dance. Sure it's great to be appreciated and gain recognition for your skills and talents, but this dance goes way back to the dayz when we just danced for ourselves as women(not tring to exlude men). If it makes any difference what I think ( and no it probalbly doesn't) you dance a'ight to me. Even the disfigurement of those that shave. Hahaaa!!! O.K.?
                                                    • Unsu...

                                                      Re: Hairy armpits

                                                      Wed, November 10, 2004 - 1:02 PM
                                                      Seems to me that it's perfect that this subject has created such a wide range of discussion -- it's all connected...I like Luna's words about "my body in it's wild garden state." Some people like pruned and tended English gardens, others go for a wildflowers, some tropical, others succulents, then some others all thorny roses...however your garden grows the neighbors tend to talk...too bad we all (all people) can't be more neighborly and just appreciate everyone's individual gardening tastes/talents. This wonderful metaphor applies to anything -- the balance between our natural selves and our cultivated selves in body, spirit, intellect, emotions...

                                                      Hooray for those of you who have found and listened to your own voice despite having grown up with gardeners of a different style than your own -- seems to me that takes a lot of courage. I hope future generations will learn from you...
                                                      • Re: Hairy armpits

                                                        Wed, November 10, 2004 - 1:19 PM
                                                        here in austin you are looked at funny if you do not have hair under your armpits or on your legs.

                                                        • Re: Hairy armpits

                                                          Wed, November 10, 2004 - 2:32 PM
                                                          oh! quick yum:

                                                          feeling the wind in your leg hair when you're biking in the summertime :)
                                                          • Re: Hairy armpits

                                                            Wed, November 10, 2004 - 2:45 PM
                                                            That yum makes me think of one of my desires. To feel sunshine, rain, and wind on my scalp with no hair. I think women with shaved heads are pretty sexy too! Yet thats another one that has as yet failed to be culturally accepted in this country, but more common in others.
                                                            • Re: Hairy armpits

                                                              Fri, November 12, 2004 - 10:58 AM
                                                              I've also thought about what sun rain and wind would feel like on a bare scalp. Casey in Unmata really loved having no hair for a year, and I found that inspiring. I don't think I'm at the right place in my life to be without head hair, but I very well may get there eventually :-)
                                                      • Re: Hairy armpits

                                                        Fri, November 12, 2004 - 10:42 AM
                                                        Hooray on your lovely analogy! Let's celebrate our diversity, not make fun of each other because really..who wants to be a pod person?
                      • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                        Wed, December 22, 2004 - 5:58 PM
                        So I have a question. Shaving is an aesthetic in judging, right?
                        What about the women who are large and saggy and wear costumes built for their smaller and sometimes shorter sisters?
                        Do large dancers in a troupe get counted off for being fat/ out of shape?
                        wouldn't/ shouldn't the two have equal weight no matter which way the judging goes?
                        • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                          Thu, December 23, 2004 - 1:55 AM
                          I enjoy hirsute women. I appreciate a confident woman that is proud of who she is and willing to flaunt convention. Kind of like the eye brow thing....What is it that makes a beautiful woman shave or wax her eyebrows and then pencil something in? Kind of bizzare, but mostly sad.
                        • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                          Thu, December 23, 2004 - 2:11 PM
                          That's a very interesting point to make, perhaps this should be pointed out to the judges, maybe then they'll realize that they're discriminating against someone. And over pit hair for heaven's sakes!
                          • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                            Thu, December 23, 2004 - 2:13 PM
                            I think they do make comments about ill fitting costumes at these events. but not about being overweight. That is not always a choice. Hairy armpits and ill fittings costumes *is*.
                            • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                              Thu, December 23, 2004 - 6:33 PM
                              But Sharon! You forget that we are born with the genetics for hairy armpits! We dont have a choice, we can't all of a sudden opt out and say: "Woops, changed my mind, I'll take a rain check on those armpits, maybe next time around, thanks though."
                              • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

                                Fri, December 24, 2004 - 9:45 AM
                                in fact, on that logic one could say overweight is a choice, given the availability to have surgery...and as a LARGE frind of mine once said: "they put the food in their mouths to begin with."
                                He was a cook, BTW....
  • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

    Fri, December 3, 2004 - 3:58 PM
    I respect and admire all women who choose to shun popular stigmas in favor of deciding their own aesthetic and values. The ladies of Unmata have chosen to celebrate natural female beauty. However, we need to keep in mind that plenty of clean shaven women choose to stand up for their own causes also. I think we should applaud everyone who has the courage to defend thier beliefs, especialy in the face of criticism.

    On a more personal note:
    I am a hairy diva. I very much support the liberation of body hair. One of my favorite memories is of Camp Far West with Amy and the girls, hanging out on the inner tube with spider legs (haha, bikini line fuzziness) and our hairy pits. If I recall correctly, we still had men circling us in their power boats, trying to introduce themselves. So obviously the hair doesn't matter as much to personal presentation as the way one carries herself. ;)

    However, it *does* make me angry that a few individuals choose to judge you girls on your armpits rather than on your amazing, creative performance and costuming. BUT. To each their own, right?

    much love,
  • J
    offline 42

    Re: Hairy Underarms.....

    Thu, December 16, 2004 - 2:53 PM
    Hairy underarms are beautiful, I love seeing them and I love having them. So when I see someone dancing proud and unafraid of social dogma I get chills. I've been a hairy girl for a long while now so I know what many people think about underarm hair on a woman. Hair does not make your armpits smell worse, in fact dragging a blade across such delicate skin is worse for you than not shaving. In my case I have thick hair, I get swollen lymph nodes and nasty ingrown hairs. I'd rather be comfortable and fit into my own form of beauty than what some other folks tell me is *The Norm* I Love to see Unmata dance period. You guys are on it and full of positive vibes! Why are some people so negative about doing what is right for yourself?
    Oh and since hair is beautiful, it would be wonderful to see a caberate dancer with some hair!

    Plus I think this is great;
    " I feel that to truly perform dance, you must be able to be *yourself* onstage and express yourself through movement. "

    • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

      Sun, December 19, 2004 - 2:03 AM
      Womens' armpit hair is nature's way of telling us that they have moved on in life and matured.

      Let it grow it's natural dammit!

      It also adds beauty to an otherwise sterile piece of axillary real estate!

      A woman with shaven armpits = yuck!

      • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

        Mon, January 3, 2005 - 4:00 PM
        what an interesting thread! One I venture to say we'd not have had the fun of discussing a few years back when it was taken for granted that belly dancers, or any stage performers, would be clean shaven or wear sleeves (a solution for thsoe who choose to be au naturale but need to deal with the "professional dance world.")..
        at any rate, we've come a long way. Nowadays, and forgive me if someone else has pointed this out (I looked but didn't see this brought up), we DO have this choice. I'd like to mention that it may depend a great deal upon your AUDIENCE. I've read above a great many reasons to support and some to refute this choice, but I didn't see any that mentioned THEM.
        as professional performers, we are here for our audience, otherwise we'd be at home dancing. If our audience consists of Arabic people, for example, then you would be quickly shunned in most cases due to the huge cultural no-no of having hair. (Remember, Arabic women are the depilatory queens of the univese!) So if you're dancing for Arabs and doing a more tdaitional form of oriental dance, then yes, your pits should be shaved or you should wear sleeves or bear the consequences of disrepecting your audience.
        However, now we have so many Americans into the dance that just don't care (or even know) about the origins that they appreciate what Americans value in terms of personal adornment and hygiene. This is the uadience I mostly dance for esp. since i ma covered with tattoos. I also do American Tribal Style which is of course, a fusion not from any particular country other than here. Since i am not representing anyone other than my own culture, I don't feel a need to adhere to outside standards.
        But if I were in competition, even if it went against my personal standards, I'd shave and then let my hair grow back just for the competition if I truly wanted to win.
        just my many cents!
        hairless Kajira (I just don't have hardly any, you cannot see it.... though i have taken to shaving my "bikini line" since moving here as I am pretty hairy there (THAT's where my hair went!) as people on the beach seem to be weirded out by it. Since I only like attention when *I* want it I've made the choice to not draw it to myself..... and thank goodness they don't see taht area while dancing!!!!!!!

        In most instances. Of course, as the competition judge pointed out, there are consequneces involved in standing up for the choice you make.
        Mostly those are probably worth it for your integrity.
        • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

          Sun, January 9, 2005 - 2:10 PM
          Hey Kajira!!! Great to have you in our li'l community!

          I agree with you about a certain extent. I think it depends. Oftentimes an audience doesn't know what they want, and when you bring something along that is fresh, integral, and visually striking--that they didn't expect--it can nourish your audience's soul. At other times, an audience wants only that which is familiar, and safe.

          Overall I still feel it is best to be honest with your audience, communicating with your onlookers about who you are and why you are sharing the sacred aspects of this dance with them.

          On a related note, my pits are fuzzy again. The winter was too cold to be bare :-)
          • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

            Mon, January 10, 2005 - 12:51 PM
            thank you for your warm welcome! YES, we need to be honest with our audiences - and ourselves - in all cases. It's the least we can do as performers! Especially if the audience has paid to see us!
            which to me, may mean turning down a gig for Arabic people if I knew I wasn't what they were looking for. Now, I HAVE had GREAT gigs for "enlightened Arabs" for lack fo a better term, and I guess I mean "enlightened to me and my American sensibilities" since to them they are enlightened even if I don't think so, anyway, folks who may be more "Americanized" in that they are younger and out for a good time. They have LOVED our tattoos and modern music (we usually use Rai for them) and don't ahve a problem. The funniest gigs are when you have multiple generations and the older people are shocked and the younger ones are happy! LOLOL! There was one New Year's gig in particluar for a persian family I'm thinking of a couple years back... good thing it was the young ones who hired us, but in the end all had a great time and tipped profusely!
            so, you do never know, but should be mindful IMO....
            • Re: Hairy Underarms.....

              Mon, January 10, 2005 - 5:10 PM
              I'm new to this tribe and would like to add my two cents as well :)

              there's a few gals in our troupe that don't shave and I've seen gals performing that didn't but I don't really notice it anymore. It's like noticing someones race when I see them; it's something in the back of my mind that I may notice but it doesn't effect how I think so I don't dwell upon it.

              Personally, I like to shave my pits once the hair gets to a certain length. Eventually I feel like my deodarent's maybe not working as well as it should and that's usually when I shave it off. My legs are another topic however. I have hip problems and shaving my right leg (which is my bad hip) can be such a pest. So I usually only do it when I'm wearing shorts or a swimsuit. I remember going on week long band trips and the girls I was rooming with shaved everything every day. And I thought that seemed like a waste of time more then anything. They would always say "I don't want anyone to see my hairy legs!" and I would look at them and say, "You're wearing jeans!" It's actually a running joke now between a few of my friends and me as to who's got the hairiest legs at that moment. It makes for a good laugh in a public setting since society has such other ideas. We've even had a few of our guy friends join in. They don't care, it's how we are naturally and that's fine with them. If they thought otherwise, we wouldn't waste our time with them.

              Someone mentioned eyebrows earlier in this thread, and I do not mess with my eyebrows. And so many people have mentioned to me that I should. I don't see the point, again it seems like to much work.

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