77% of women feel sexier with cared for underarms. Wow.
Imagine being part of the focus group that led to this astonishing statistic. What kind of crazy-assed questions did these poor confused souls get asked? Did they get shown pictures of armpits and have to rate them in terms of sexiness? Oh, to have been a fly on the wall...
There's also the 'as opposed to?' problem. For example, I would certainly feel sexier with 'cared for' underarms than with neglected underarms riddled with lice and covered in oozing pustules.
I don't spend much time thinking about my armpits. They are there, being all armpitty. I'd miss them if they ever went anywhere. Two gaping holes would not be very alluring and my arms would fall off. My totally made up research statistics show that 100% of women feel sexier with underarms.
I have never, ever, ever worried about how my armpits look or the impact that this has on my self-esteem...
...until the advertising cult of armpit vanity came along.
Now our underarms are the target of fear led advertising campaigns. They need to be pretty, they need to be soft, they need to be smokin' hot. Otherwise, your life will be in tatters; you'll be doomed to sitting around in an egg smeared slanket stroking your cat who, quite frankly, finds you and your sub-par pits repulsive.
If your armpits aren't 'cared for', no one will ever want to have sex with you. That's not a very good marketing slogan, but that is the underlying message deodorant companies rely on.
I’m no market research guru, but I reckon that there are only two factors that people give a rat’s ass about when it comes to armpits: hairiness and smell.
It is fair to say that whiffy pits aren’t pleasant. Not many folk wish to inhale their own musk or the musk of others. A spritz of deodorant is an act of courtesy that helps to keep the world spinning smoothly.
The hair issue is more problematic.
I know that the stigma attached to female body hair is wrong and I'm right there with Caitlin Moran about celebrating certain aspects of it. It is just that when it comes to underarms, most people prefer 'em fuzz free.
Hair and smell aside, it appears that people really don't care that much about armpits. We don't seek a sexual partner based on the smoothness or even skin tone of their underarms.
When was the last time you heard a guy say 'check out the armpits on her'? Or 'she had the most exquisite armpits, I think I'm in love'. Guessing never, unless you hang around with the type of boys who think it is hilarious to say things like 'check out her shoes' whilst clearly referring a lady's breasts.
Companies want us to believe that all this is about how we 'feel' about ourselves. We have been fooled into thinking that 'sexiness' can be bought in a can and that a quick squirt of 24hr deodorant with unicorn hoof extract will raise our self-esteem.
We care what other people think! Which, in the case of armpits, is not a lot. And there we have the real issue.
Our armpits really aren't that important in the grand scheme of sexiness. Deodorant's main function is to stop us being smelly and that is that.
Deodorant and antiperspirant brands struggle to differentiate. After all, they all do the same thing. They can smell different or claim to offer impressive 'protection' longevity, but that's about it. They need gimmickery and 'innovation' in order to stay in the game.
Enter a host of new 'beauty' deodorants that combine anti-perspirant with pampering properties. Our armpits can now enjoy luxuries normally reserved for our faces. What a treat! Next you'll be saying that some people are dumb enough to have cosmetic surgery on their underarms. Oh, what was that? They are? Fair enough. Moving on.
The use of the term 'cared for' hugely annoying too. I know what you're up to, you cunning advertising folk:
"Care: women love that caring shit. They have babies and are all nurturing and caring and stuff. Yes, care is a good lady word."
Look here, my armpits are perfectly capable of caring for themselves. They don't want moisturiser, they don't want revolutionary anti-aging complexes or hair minimizing formula. They just want a good wash every morning, the occasional shave and something to stop them embarrassing themselves in scenarios involving a silk blouse and a hot day.
I don't love my underarms, I just have my underarms. The feelings I have toward my underarms (the word armpit is clearly distasteful in the advertising world) are no more or less intense than the feelings I have for my index finger or elbow.
This doesn't mean that I have body issues or a low sense of personal worth. It is something called perspective on the issue.
No matter what the adverts say, sexiness and self-esteem can't be bought in roll-on or spray format.
Jen Evans is a journalist specialising in culture. She has armpits of outstanding natural beauty.This article originally appeared on her blog Bookish Brunette
Image via clotho98's flickr