When I was at university in the UK in the late Noughties, one of the most liberating things about travelling back to my native China for the summer break was not having to worry about shaving. Chinese tradition had no demands in this respect — armpit or leg hair was just part of your body and nothing to be ashamed about.
This month, a campaign headed by young female activist Xiao Meili in China asked women Chinese girls legs post pictures of their unshaven armpits on the popular social media site Weibo, China's version of Twitter.
The competition generated much attention from Western press, which reported it as a sweeping feminist campaign by Chinese women against body image Chinese girls legs.
But in China, it remains fairly acceptable to be unshaven in public. Even in a big city, seeing hair remains just as much the norm, as seeing none. A female fitness instructor who teaches in a trendy area of Beijing estimates that just 40 per cent of Chinese girls legs students, mostly in their 20s and 30s, shaved their underarms.
Zhu Xixi won the online competition Weibo. Miao Zhao who came third in the armpit hair contest Weibo.
An image from Weibo submitted to the armpit hair contest Weibo. I for one rarely shave: The fact is that I, like many Chinese and East Asian women, am not very hairy. Inwhen Veet tried to make a foray into China, they experienced sluggish sales. This was attributed to the very reason above: Veet's sales picked up in and the brand became one of the fastest growing in China. Chinese girls legs Huiqing, a Law student in Beijing, thinks that the changing attitude towards body hair is part of the progression towards a more fashion conscious female population.
Chinese women are now showing more flesh Alamy. For the trend conscious, attitudes towards body hair may have already shifted, and sharply so.
A few of my Chinese friends, professionals in their late twenties and thirties, have almost intolerant attitudes towards armpit hair. Thirty two-year-old male photographer Cao Nan takes this view, even if garnered from American TV shows. Why do so many white men want to date Chinese women?
He Shan, a year-old Chinese teacher agrees that shaving is viewed as a Western form of female etiquette. She told me that during annual teacher training, [Chinese] trainers tell teachers to shave their armpits so as to not embarrass foreign students. Many young Chinese women feel no pressure to shave Alamy. When studying in the UK, I often found myself in a dilemma: Thankfully, people aren't quite protesting with the same "Chinese girls legs" here in China — yet I have a few razor-free years left hopefully.
Back then, showing too much skin was practically illegal. Western women such as Claire in House of Cards are seen as 'refined'. While attitudes have moved on since then, there at least remains respect "Chinese girls legs" individual choice on the issue. Almost every man and woman I spoke to said that the choice to shave should depend on factors such as the thickness of hair and whether a special occasion was being attended.
Despite the latest online campaign, Chinese women are simply not yet obsessed with body hair. Most who Chinese girls legs only do so only in summer. Aesthetic concerns, rather than cultural habit, are for the time being Chinese girls legs main drivers behind hair removal.
Yuan Ren is a freelance journalist who grew up in both London and Beijing. She can be found tweeting girlinbeijing. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Monday 19 November Why Chinese women like me aren't ashamed of our body hair This month, Chinese women have been showing-off their armpit hair as part of an online campaign.