How to Love Your Armpits and Other Unsung Parts of Your Gross Body

Illustration for article titled How to Love Your Armpits and Other Unsung Parts of Your Gross Body

Confession: Don't be jealous, but I am totally fine with my armpits. Call me an arrogant rube, call me body-shame ignorant, but prior to the Dove campaign to beautify the pits, I didn't even know I was supposed to hate them. Now I refuse to hate them so that I might one day grow to love them — that's what passes for backbone in this country. I will remain stubbornly totally fine with them forever because you can't make me not.


To be clear, Dove has instructed us to love our pits, not hate them. Our pits been gettin' a raw deal, ladies! But there's a step missing in this message, no? In order to accept the premise that our armpits need loving, we have to believe that they are currently unloved or somehow neglected. I'd say given that most women probably wash, shave, and deodorize their pits on the reg in this country (at least as far back as the year 1915, alongside the appearance of sleeveless dresses), pits are getting EXACTLY the amount of attention they require, prolly even more than required.

So I ask you: Doesn't loving a thing you never thought needed love require looking at the thing, seeing plain as day its awful grotesqueness, and then deciding, nay, learning to like it one desperate, clinging step at a time? Because count me out.

It feels very much like they've started a conversation literally no one was having, only to rush in with a solution to the problem we didn't have. Now I'm not saying they are wrong when they claim the term armpit is a pejorative — calling a place the armpit of a place is the stinky not-awesome part of a place — surely we can all agree on that. But that is a world apart from some general idea that women are walking around, pits hung in shame, in need of some TLC-on-pit action. (Yes, everyone feels bad when they sweat a bunch in inappropriate settings, but that's a different issue, one deodorant has long tackled.)

I for one can't immediately start loving what I'm only indifferent to. Nor can I immediately love what I loathe either. I must work to love a thing I never even knew needed love, which means giving it attention, and energy, and scrutiny, and then mindfulness and acceptance, and then, yeah, sure, of course, swiping a product of some kind over it hastily just in case that might speed things up. WHATEVER IT TAKES.

Hey, you know what? Your pits are totally fucking fine. They are great. Fantastic, even. They are doing a job like a motherfucking champ. In the right light, they are good enough for the whole world to see for the entire eighth of a second it takes to lift your arm and wave to that guy or gal you want to like your armpits so badly over to your table, a table that just so happens to be filled with an assortment of foods (that just so happen to be good for armpits, like probably apricots and olives and sparkling water).


Nevermind that in order to love your pits the most ever you'd probably stop shaving them altogether. If we're going to get technical about it, wouldn't that keep from stripping them of the natural things they need to stay how they are supposed to be to do their job and everything? What's the word for that? Ah yes, authentic. "Real." Authentic pits are probably un-messed-with pits, right? I mean, I'm not saying you can't hot wax the shit out of your pits every day — go to pit town — I'm just saying words mean things and we haven't changed that yet have we? (Except for literally.)

Speaking of words, Dove is only trying to make armpits a good word, you guys. From the NYT:

… and is part of a broader advertising campaign that encourages the flaunting of that part of the body and discourages pejorative uses of the word "armpit."


Oh, and also to get you to flaunt them more. Sorry — BUZZER — key strategy I neglected to mention. They also want you to love them so much you show them more, so do a lot more waving (unless you're over 40 — duh, arm flab) and show the pits (as long as you've Nutriumed them first).

GOD THIS IS GETTING EXHAUSTING. OK, once more for clarity.


Step 1: Hate armpits so much you call them underarms instead

Step 2: Try to love armpits

Step 3: Fail at doing so

Step 4: Use Dove

Step 5: Notice after a coupla weeks armpits look better now, confidence is returning


Step 6: Refuse to say underarm ever again to show alliance with growing Armpit Beautification Movement

Step 7: FLAUNT armpits all the time by wearing sleeveless shirts constantly, like the back tattoo/midriff of body confidence


Step 8: Get the guy or gal of your dreams

Step 9: Move on to rigorous application of above philosophy to next body part

Speaking of which: I think we should try to help out capitalism by devising a list of all future body parts to tackle next. You know, all the parts you thought were totally fine but are totally not fine, that you need to love after you learn to hate first, and then learn to love, but only if there's a product to help.


I'll start:

Bottoms of feet (smelly, wrinkled)

Backs of knees (smelly, fatty)

Inside elbows (smelly, wrinkled)

Behind ears (smelly, boring)

Back of neck (boring, hair-covered)

Inside wrists (thin-skinned, visible veins)

Bony point of shoulder (pointy, bony)

Backs of ankles (ruddy, lined)

Image via Maridav/Shutterstock.



Question: This is the first time I've acknowledged this problem "out loud": Has anyone tried botox under their arms for sweating? I've tried all the clinical deodorants, homemade remedies, maxi pads stuck to my clothes, sewing in shoulder pads under there and wicking shirts. I've had this problem since 12ish? So many shirts ruined. I can't even remember the last time I raised my arms confidently without several layers or a sweater hiding my armpits.