An American uni is giving girls extra marks if they don’t shave their armpits
And men can take part by shaving all their body hair off
American unis are awarding students extra degree marks if they don’t shave their their body hair for 10 weeks.
Arizona State University is dishing out extra credits to encourage students to challenge society’s norms by walking around with hairy armpits and legs.
Female participants stop shaving the hair beneath their body for the entire semester, while keeping a journal of the experience. And boys can also take part by removing all their body hair.
The exercise, which is part of the Women and Gender Studies course, has been described as a “life-changing experience” by students on the course.
The professor behind the idea, Prof Breanne Fahs, told ASU news: “There’s no better way to learn about societal norms than to violate them and see how people react.
“There’s really no reason why the choice to shave, or not, should be a big deal. But it is, as the students tend to find out quickly.”
Stephanie Robinson, who decided to do the assignment after her third class said it changed her life.
She said: “Many of my friends didn’t want to work out next to me or hear about the assignment, and my mother was distraught at the idea that I would be getting married in a white dress with armpit hair.
“I also noticed the looks on faces of strangers and people around campus who seemed utterly disgusted by my body hair. It definitely made me realize that if you’re not strictly adhering to socially prescribed gender roles, your body becomes a site for contestation and public opinion.”
And she said part of the reason she finally took the plunge was that she felt left out because all the students doing it were bonding.
She said: “It’s interesting how peer pressure within the class can create a new norm. When practically all of the students are participating, they develop a sense of community and enjoy engaging in an act of rebellion together.”
Prof Fahs – who has won awards for the idea – said it wasn’t quite as rebellious for men, because so many already shave some of their body hair, but it gave them an insight into the work needed for women to control their body hair.
Male student Kurt Keller said: “Although a co-worker questioned why I shaved my legs, I felt comfortable in my own skin.
“It helped having classmates who were so willing to lay it on the line too.
“I think shaving is an expectation that partners can place on each other because of personal taste.
“However, just because a boyfriend or girlfriend pressures you to shave, it must be your own decision.
“I really hope that people, including myself, can treat our bodies with respect, regardless of relationship expectations.
“If your partner expects you to do something that feels unnatural, at that point there needs to be a separation, or at least a discussion.”
Another student, Grace Scale, told ASU News she dumped her boyfriend after he spent an evening telling her how much he hated her body hair.
She said: “This was the first time that anyone had critiqued my body in such a way, and I didn’t even have to think twice about the following breakup.”