Why Armpits Remain A Feminist Battleground

August 13th 2015

Nicole Charky

Women go to great lengths to meet (oftentimes unrealistic) beauty standards imposed by society. Some are now even microwaving their armpit hair.

The FDA-approved procedure was created by Miramar Labs in a system called "MiraDry," which can also reduce underarm hair and sweat permanently, according to Racked. Since then, more than 40,000 people have undergone the procedure, Mona A. Gohara, M.D., a professor of dermatology at Yale, told Elle.

The machine looks like a grocery store scanning gun and emits microwaves that zap off hair follicles and sweat glands in roughly 40 minutes, Gohara said. Using local anesthesia to minimize pain, MiraSmooth's website says that people can go back to exercising and working right after, according Women's Health Magazine.

Women's health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D. explained to Women's Health that although the procedure is available, ladies should be wary of the microwave technology, considering that it's a newly FDA-approved product.

“The use of microwave technology has been established for sweating, and the safety and efficiency has been well-established,” she said. “But despite the FDA approval, there's not much long-term information and data on safety and efficacy for hair removal.”

Wider doesn't recommend her patients to the treatment, however, she said that anyone who is interested in the procedure should find an experienced and competent doctor to perform the procedure.


#miraDry treatment performed by #DrManishKhanna at #peaumontreal. Stop #sweating from your #underarms permanently!

A photo posted by Peaumontreal (@peaumontreal) on

To shave, microwave, or leave-be?

This hasn't been the first headline in recent months about armpit hair. You might have already heard about the armpit hair dying movement, women who are challenging gender norms to demonstrate personal choice, particularly since women deal with a multitude of societal expectations and double-standards. Many women opt to keep armpits fuzzy or use razors to shave, turn to waxing, or laser treatments to eliminate the stubble.

Not all women are into removing body hair or turning to recent microwave technology. As ATTN: reported earlier this summer, many women are letting their underarm hair grow. Xiao Meili, a Chinese women's rights activist, has earned attention for fighting the notion that women must be hairless by asking for females to send over photos of their armpit hair for a contest.

“Men have more freedom in terms of what to do with their bodies,” Ms. Xiao told the New York Times. “I’m not calling on everybody to grow underarm hair. I’m just saying if some people don’t want to shave, the rest of us should not think their underarm hair is disgusting, unhygienic, uncivil or not feminine enough.”

Famous women have also embraced this look. Earlier this month, "Girls" star Jemima Kirke made headlines for showing off her underarms at the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards. When others took note of this, Kirke posted on Twitter:

Singer Miley Cyrus also put her own armpits on display on Instagram:


#PANK #dirtyhippie

A photo posted by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on