How Feminist Are Glitter Pits + Other “Feminist” Beauty Trends Really?

We asked feminist writers for their thoughts. Here's what they said.

Feminism in 2015 is trickier than ever.

People, especially celebrities, feel that they need to make some claim as to whether or not they are feminists and some still don’t even know what the word means. The trend of taking one side or another (or in the case of Sarah Jessica Parker, opting out by saying you’re a humanist) has become as much of a thing as feminist beauty trends. For example, glitter pits.

Glitter pits took over social media in late November as part of an effort to change the public’s general disgust surrounding women’s armpit hair. The trend encourages women to put down their razors and beautify their hair by covering it with glitter à la glitter beards. Glitter pits’ strong feminist claim also had us wondering whether or not it truly was as feminist as it let on to be. How feminist are any “feminist” beauty trends really?

Here’s what feminist writer and editor Liz Galvao and Pia Guerrero, co-founder and editor of feminist site Adios Barbie, think.

  • Glitter pits

    “I’m not entirely convinced that [glitter pits] is a ’trend’,” Liz says. “Any trend that encourages women to stop ripping hair out of their bodies seems feminist. But on the other hand, if you’re spending time glittering up your armpits, you’re spending way more time on pit maintenance and beautification than a man would.”

    Pia has a slightly different take on glitter pits.

    “Celebrating your pit hair with glitter instead of conforming to an arbitrary standard of beauty makes a definite feminist statement,” she says. She adds that western society wants us to shave our underarm hair because it deems it “ugly, unfeminine, more smelly and even unsanitary,” but that even when we do shave, the shaming doesn’t stop. Women are then encouraged to use skin softeners and skin bleach to go the extra mile and hide all of the evidence that there was ever hair there in the first place.

  • Going bra-less

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    When it comes to not wearing a bra, Pia brings up a highly overlooked double standard. She says that it is very much in fashion for women with small breasts to not wear a bra (and even show a little side boob), but that “big breasts, especially on older and larger women, are considered disgusting and shameful if not supported by a bra.”

    Liz, on the other hand, doesn’t even think that not wearing a bra is feminist. “Not wearing a shirt OR a bra, now that would be a feminist trend!” she says.

  • Not wearing makeup

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    Pia thinks that not wearing makeup can be feminist, depending on the context.

    Liz thinks that going au naturel is “definitely a more feminist choice than wearing makeup,” but that for some women, it’s more of a “laziness choice, or a ’I have to be at the airport at 8 a.m.’ choice.” She does note, though, that wearing “bold lipstick colors like black, violet or even bright red” is feminist. “Rocking something that men find off-putting can sometimes be a feminist act, like what The Man Repeller does,” she says.

  • Not wearing heels

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    Pia doesn’t find not wearing heels particularly feminist because “flats are in,” but Liz is willing to make the case for it.

    “Wearing heels can sometimes be a tiny bit feminist, if a tall woman does it and towers over men like an awesome Amazon warrior,” she says. Beauty Feminism is pain, ladies.

    While Liz and Pia weren’t always in sync as far as what is and is not a feminist beauty trend, both made this very important point: Dressing for yourself is feminism at its finest.

    Your decision to wear heels is ultimately your decision, just as it is your decision to be a stay-at-home mother or cook dinner for your husband. Pia put it best when she said, “Feminism is about freedom of choice.” Feminist beauty trends are feminist if and only if you choose to follow them for no other person than the one that matters: you.

1/2 Cartoon, 1/2 Beyhive.
@hernameislex