Have you noticed how many new things there are to feel bad about these days? Eyelashes, for example. The idea that your eyes might benefit from a fresh coat of paint around the edges was easy enough for me to swallow. I never saw mascara as a judgment about the quality of my lashes. For me, it was more about whether I wanted to look “done” or not. It wasn’t until the media campaign for Latisse that I looked at my eyelashes and realized how pathetically sparse they were. And here I was thinking my eyes weren’t one of my “problem areas”. Ha.
Well, girls, there’s a new flaw in town.
It’s in a place you might not have worried much about aesthetically before: your armpit.
Perhaps your focus on the armpit in the past has been limited to olfactory management. Or hair removal. But the days of the unexamined underarm are over. Unilever has opened the door on the armpit beauty contest, and chances are, you lose. Unless, of course, you buy the Dove brand product designed to improve your armpit appearance: a new deodorant containing a mysterious “armpit improving ingredient”. I can’t help wondering whether this heinous invention is fallout from a piece in Vogue a few years ago:
“Up In Arms: With all the body parts we’ve grown to obsess over as we age, should armpits, too, be on the list?“
It’s a rhetorical question, obviously. If Vogue is wondering if your armpits are ugly, there’s little chance of you thinking otherwise. By saying there is a right and wrong way for a body part to look, and certainly by marketing this product, we are telling women, and more importantly, girls: Yes. Yes, obsess over your armpits. Obsess over your eyelashes, too. And while you’re at it, obsess over your damn LABIA. Thanks to porn culture and the accompanying labioplasty boom, you’ve probably got an unacceptable set of those, too.
In the past ten years, our girls have gained three new frontiers of self-hatred. By the time they are adults,will there be anything left on their bodies they can love unconditionally? We are selling out our daughters in the name of dollars. The manufacturers are cashing in on it. The media is promoting it and profiting from it. And Stephen Colbert is my new hero for calling us on it, in the funniest, smartest way possible: