Are You Paranoid About Your Armpits Yet?

No? Well, you will be. Welcome to the new body part obsession du jour

Two months ago, it was butts. Before that, we fretted over the muffin top and cankles. And back in spring 2007, it was the clavicle -- and whether you were slim enough to show it off.

This spring, the body part you simply must be obsessing about is the armpit.

This is because 500 women told researchers from personal care product giant Unilever that they considered their armpits "unattractive," according to the Wall Street Journal. One in 3 women surveyed reported that they feel "more confident when their pits are in good condition." And 62 percent of participants claimed to suffer an underarm skin woe like itchiness or discoloration. So Unilever's subsidiary Dove is rushing into the fray with its new Ultimate Go Sleeveless deodorant, which promises to give your pits a makeover. Jessica Szohr of "Gossip Girl" fame is on it as their new spokeswoman/Pit Queen. Anyone else seeing the irony of this "pretty up your pits" message coming from Dove, of Real Beauty fame? Expect a rash of copycats and women's magazine articles on self-tanning, and toning that part of your pit that flops out when you wear a strapless dress to follow.

As Jezebel points out, this isn't actually the first time beauty product marketers have tried to make armpits a thing. And it's not shocking that they found 500 women unwilling to declare their armpits beautiful. We're talking about armpits, after all here, people. A new eight-year-old boy discovers that they're mostly useful for making gross noises every day.

But as the Wall Street Journal notes, it's not like we're slacking on the pit situation to begin with: Deodorant usage is nearly 100 percent in the United States. As an above-average sweater, I've banned silk shirts and certain poly blends from my life due to their propensity to show pit stains. (True story: My parents gave me prescription-strength antiperspirant for my 17th birthday.) I also rarely wear sleeves after Memorial Day because sleeveless tops are a sweater's best friend (there's no fabric to soak up).

So we've already spent years and plenty of money obsessing over how our pits smell, how much moisture they produce, and, let's not forget, how vigilantly we can remove any hair that grows there --  now we have to freak out about how they look when we bare them?

Enough already.

You are a real -- not airbrushed, not made of plastic -- person. That means your skin is going to range in color and texture all over your body. This is not a bad thing. Barbie doll armpits -- completely smooth and uniform in both color and texture--  only exist on well, Barbies, and airbrushed models.

You don't have to think every inch of your body (armpits and all) is beautiful. Some parts are more function than form and that's fine. I'm never going to love toes, either. They're too twitchy and I just don't trust 'em. But that doesn't mean I think people should glue socks to their feet.

So please, don't waste time feeling sad or anxious that your armpits aren't perfect. I promise you, nobody is looking that closely.

 

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