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Chinese Feminists Fight For Body Hair Freedom

by Emma Wilkinson /
A contestant's submission to Xiao Meili's armpit hair photo contest.Women Armpit Competition / \

In many countries around the world, a woman with hair under her armpits is considered unattractive, but a Chinese feminist named Xiao Meili wants to disrupt that notion. She started a campaign on Sina Weibo - China’s Twitter equivalent - where Chinese women are encouraged to send in photos of their armpits.

“Men have more freedom in terms of what to do with their bodies,” 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.”

Related: Imprisoned Chinese Feminists Released on Bail After Outcry

Many feminists in the United States would agree wholeheartedly with Xiao’s campaign and the motivation behind it. Earlier this year, Refinery 21 published an article and photo series on American women and their relationship with their body hair.

The contest is not simply a social media stunt though. The three submissions with the most likes and shares will win prizes. The prizes are in line with the feminist goal of the campaign and include condoms, a vibrator, and female urination devices (they let women stand while peeing).

 A contestant's submission to Xiao Meili's armpit hair photo contest. Women Armpit Competition / \