The co-worker, Hunt has joked, “agreed, heartily. (OR should I say pitily.)”
“It was just sort of an experiment,” Hunt told The Post. “We took photos to document the process and they turned out so good that we posted them online and people loved them.”
A how-to blog post followed (“I began by mixing bleach and 30 volume developer … “) and was shared more than 35,000 times.
Then came shared photos featuring other women with colorful pits.
Suddenly, as the 30-year-old Hunt tells it, the “free your pits” movement was a thing. There’s a Tumblr devoted to the cause, and the fledgling #dyedpits hashtag is slowly starting to spread on Instagram. (Another version, on Twitter: #freeyourpits.)
The movement, Hunt said, is as much about embracing personal freedom as it is about aesthetic experimentation.
“It’s a celebration of our right to make conscious choices about our bodies,” Hunt said. “I would hope that in the next few years we can normalize the concept and female body hair and change the dialogue about what this country considers naturally beautiful.”
In her “Free Your Pits Manifesto,” which you can read here, Hunt writes:
Whether you shave or not, women should be allowed to make decisions about their bodies without judgement from others. And, women making these decisions about their bodies should not be something exploited by the media. What we need is encouragement, not judgment. We greatly appreciate this opportunity to discuss how important it is to be true to yourself and to love your body, but we also recognize that women making conscious decisions about themselves should not in any way be shocking. We aim to normalize the concept of body hair on women and help others embrace their own if they so choose.
Not that women abandoning underarm depilation is anything new. In 1972’s “The Joy of Sex,” Alex Comfort argued that a woman’s armpits “should on no account be shaved.”
“We are not the first women and certainly won’t be the last to embrace our body hair, and we thank all of the amazing women who have joined us in this effort, past and present,” Hunt writes.
“Please join us in spreading this movement by sharing this post and taking a picture of your armpit, whether hairy, bald or blue, and sharing it on your social media with the hashtag #freeyourpits.”
The instructions, first laid out in her blog post with photos, have a certain urgency to them.
“I grabbed a couple towels, some gloves, color application brushes, and some extra clips to help keep her sleeves rolled out of the way, and Rain changed into an old T-shirt,” Hunt writes of the dyed-pit experiment on her co-worker.
“First, I had Rain wipe her pits down to remove any deodorant that might be lingering. Then, I got right in there with my bleach and color brush, applying it thick in small sweeping strokes in all directions, making sure to fully cover every hair.”
On Tumblr, the photos and statements that accompany them are a mixture between celebratory and rebellious. Reactions have been … mixed.
“Why does that look so strange?” wrote one user. “Well because in our society women shave their armpits. Does anyone ever wonder why? Or does anyone think it’s strange that something so miniscule as an unshaven armpit can throw you off so much?”
Destiny Moreno, a 17-year-old high school student in Seattle, began posting YouTube videos about dyeing her own armpit hair a few months ago. Her family was “disgusted” at first, she told The Post; but her friends have been supportive and some of them have even joined the movement.
“I’m now super comfortable boasting about my armpit hair, but at the beginning it was difficult sharing, especially with people I know in real life,” she said.
Her favorite color? “Voodoo Blue” from Manic Panic.
Moreno noted that the public response to her videos has been overwhelmingly negative, with commenters questioning her sexuality or labeling her a “hippie.” Moreno said she’s unfazed by the negativity, but worries that other teenagers who might want to experiment with their body hair might be deterred by it.
“I had the lowest self esteem as a tween, and the fact that that’s considered normal is pretty … unfortunate,” she said. “I want girls to know that their body is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.”
Her YouTube videos have generated more than 170,000 views.
The trend, according to xoJane, is already evolving.
Next up, the site claims: Bedazzled armpit hair extensions.