Originally published July 9, 2014.
No, I’m not making this up.
Coeds at Arizona State University get extra credit for having hairy armpits. Seriously. Associate Professor of women’s and gender studies, Breanne Fahs, offers female students extra credit if they agree not to shave their body hair – as in armpits, legs and bikini areas – for the entire semester.
I imagine it’s worth it when you consider those bonus points have the potential to raise a flailing student’s grade from a D to a C or C to a B or if you end up as flocculent as this chick, from a B to a BO (sorry). Anyway I can’t help but wonder about eyebrows and upper lips. I mean is only shaving taboo or are plucking, waxing and chemical depilatories prohibited too?
Men in Professor Fah’s classes aren’t excluded from earning extra credit, but unlike their woolly female classmates, they are required to shave off all body hair from the neck down and maintain hairlessness for the entire semester. The thing is, the extra credit probably isn’t really much of an enticement since any college guy choosing to enroll in a women’s and gender studies course is more than likely already in the habit of mowing his manscape.
Likewise (and yes, I acknowledge my next comment is sure to invite a maelstrom from the angry wackadoodle club), gals who gravitate toward women’s and gender studies courses tend to be the sort with hairy armpits anyway. Don’t feign shock and dismay. You know what I’m talking about: the kind of W-O-M-Y-N who hiss at phallic mushrooms, boycott make-up and sport butch haircuts and black army boots as a means of rebelling against the oppressive male patriarchy. At least that’s how it was back when I was in college, which, by the way, was when I first made the following observation: radical feminists despise men, yet they expend tremendous amounts of energy attempting to look like them. It’s a curious, incongruous phenomenon indeed, but it’s true.
Professor Fahs requires participants to keep journals to track and document their experiences, but obviously, the assignment is much more labor intensive for the guys than the girls. According to Professor Fahs that’s okay though because, you know, the added work “gives men some insight into what women who shave go through.”
Really? What women who shave go through? I’m shaving my pits and legs for heaven sakes. It’s not like I’m painting the kitchen or rebuilding the deck on my house every morning. It adds about three minutes to a shower and for the record, I’m pretty sure my sons and husband spend more time than that shaving their facial hair. It’s not a burden. It’s simply personal hygiene. Good gracious.
It’s no wonder the United States lags behind the rest of the world’s developed countries in science and technology when our college students are forced to waste their time on assignments, like Fah’s hairy armpit project, that are so far beyond useless and idiotic I can’t even think of a word to describe them.
Breanne Fahs says, “There’s really no reason why the choice to shave, or not, should be a big deal,” and believe it or not, I agree with her, but for the love of Pete, there’s no need to study what happens as a result of it. I don’t give a rat’s patootie whether a person, male or female, shaves or doesn’t shave, grows a unibrow or, for that matter, grooms the pubic garden into a topiary.
My son is headed to Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall. My husband and I are delighted because, among a list of reasons too long to tally here, it’s a great school and you can bet he won’t be asked to shave his armpits when he gets there.
By the way, in case you’re wondering about the pubic topiary thing, people (with too much time on their hands) really do it.