Power Under Your Arms!

When I saw the title of this blog post from the NY Times, I had to post it on here.  Another one closer to the average person and feminism with a hairy twist.  If you visit them, please take a look at the comments made by Wes with Einstein’s face.

Six Chinese women who proudly posted photographs of their unshaven armpits online have been named the winners of a contestheld to challenge the notion that women must have hair-free armpits to be attractive.

And the winner is: Zhuxixi!
And the winner is: Zhuxixi! Credit Courtesy of Zhuxixi

Xiao Meili, 25, a women’s rights advocate who organized the contest, said she received 46 photos of unshaven armpits during the two-week contest that began May 26. Winners were selected based on the number of “likes” and “reposts” their entries attracted, she said.

“We didn’t choose them based on whether they were very hairy or very un-hairy,” she said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “Just the votes.”

The winner was a women’s rights advocate and college student in Hangzhou who goes by the nickname Zhuxixi.

“I’m even prouder of my armpit hair now,” Zhuxixi wrote in a text message. She had earned the support of 202 citizen judges, Ms. Xiao said.

Two women tied for second place and three for third, Ms. Xiao said. The prize for first place was 100 condoms, and for second place, it was a vibrator. The third-place finishers will each receive 10 packs of devices that allow a woman to urinate standing up.

“My true feeling is that I wish I had won the second prize,” Zhuxixi joked.

Among the winners were two of the five feminists who were detained in March ahead of a planned campaign against sexual harassment on public transportation, Li Tingting and Wei Tingting. The five women were released on bail in mid-April, but they remain under police surveillance.

Ms. Li, who said in an interview on Thursday that she had never shaved her armpits, submitted a nude photo she had taken in 2012 as part of a campaign against domestic violence.

She said she had been doing well since her release from detention and felt thrilled to have come in second.

“But I wanted the condoms!” she said. She will receive a vibrator.

Ms. Wei said taking part in the contest had made her braver.

“Lots of people came over and looked at us,” she said, referring to the day she took pictures of her armpit hair with her girlfriend at Sun Yat-sen University in the southern city of Guangzhou. “The contest was a challenge to how the public views female body hair. Participating in the contest was also a challenge for me to face my own body.”

Qiu Xuemeng, a recent graduate in chemical engineering from Chengdu, was one of the third-prize winners. “I wish I could encourage more women by making myself an example,” she said in an interview.

Another of the five feminists who had been detained in March on suspicion of “picking quarrels and creating a disturbance,” Zheng Churan, had also entered the contest.

Ms. Xiao said the prizes were bought with unused donations from a walk she took last year to Guangzhou from Beijing to raise awareness of child sexual abuse in China.

Although the practice of shaving one’s armpits dates back only a couple of decades in China, Ms. Xiao said that women were feeling growing social pressure to ensure their underarms are hair-free.

“I’m not calling on everybody to grow underarm hair,” she said in an interview this week. “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.”



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I began writing Elle's Adventure in China (EACh) in June 2014 as a fun summer project, but as obstacles kept interfering with my plans, I forked and forked more options. I took writing this novel much more seriously in mid-July, and want to have it officially published someday in my lifetime. As many artists put their hearts into their projects, so do I. I did not start out liking to read, but a professor suggested a book for me for homework a few years ago, and it was an amazing book. Since then, I read for pleasure, and I hope my novel, Elle's Adventure in China, does the same for as many of you as possible. The same thing goes to writing. I did not like to write until I took a course where the professor and papers made me love to write. I hope every one of you find what makes you happy and dedicated to work. In May 2015, I started my other blog, Read and Write Here (R&WH), as a place to post other things that aren't China- and Chinese culture-related and not EACh. I share some of my memories and experiences from student teaching, irregular participation in Daily Prompts, etc. I'd like to have regular people and bloggers to write book reviews and post it on R&WH someday. Keep reading and writing!

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