Why do I think these uncomfortable thoughts?

Share

I was thinking a lot this summer about armpits. You do, if you're a feminist. Because generally women shave their armpits and generally men don't; armpit hair becomes a feminist issue. But, if it's anti-feminist to shave your body, does that mean that all empowered men should wear beards? Or are we just obliged out of politeness to depilate the bits that other people see? It would seem a bit weird if a hairy man could not go sleeveless to the office, and yet women are apparently allowed to feel the summer breeze around their vest tops. What if men shaved and wore something strappy? What would happen if we all just wore the most comfortable thing we could find to do our jobs? Are comfy T-shirts just one step away from chaos? Do I think too much about armpits?

At least I am not the only one, it turns out. Last week, a new minister at the Department of Health went public with her intention to tackle builders' bums, and a blog by an intern at a City law firm was removed from its website after "inappropriately" castigating red bras and "more than a half inch of cleavage". (More than half an inch of cleavage? Chance would be a fine thing!)

The minister, Jane Ellison, to be fair, aims to replace "the image of the bottom-baring, overweight builder" with one of "workers who are hands-on, well-oiled machines" by improving their diets rather than by telling them to pull their trousers up or buy a belt, or some hair removal cream (extra sensitive) for their furry bum cheeks. But I still reckon that she thinks too much about bums.

The intern, meanwhile, seems obsessed with her colleagues' underwear. At least, I'm assuming that the unnamed blogger is a her, because she tells wannabe lawyers to invest in "neutral T–shirt bras and non–VPL knickers", and find me a man who uses words like "neutral T-shirt bra" and "non-VPL knickers". She also dictates that skirts should be no more than "one Bic Biro's length" above the knee and that shirts must be "fitted white, light blue or pink (for Fridays)". Man alive, Fridays must be crazy at that place! She also tells men to wear black patent leather shoes. Does she not know that some naughty boys use them as mirrors to look up all those Biro-length skirts?

In the post-recession world, where everybody who still has a job is really doing about three jobs, dressing appropriately for work is becoming impossible. How can you dress smartly and survive public transport? How can you eat fresh, healthy food while laying bricks from dawn until dusk? How can anyone wear black patent leather shoes, a charcoal suit and a white or blue shirt every day of his working life (except Fridays) without dying of boredom?

Meanwhile, if anyone can tell me what to wear on Tuesday for a day of emptying dusty Jiffy bags, carrying around crates of books, attending news conference and the Man Booker Prize black tie dinner, please let me know asap. So far I can think of nothing appropriate, though I have decided that I'll be taking armpits.

twitter.com/@katyguest36912

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron faces the press as he arrives in Brussels for the EU leaders summit on Thursday reuters  

On the Tusk of a dilemma: Cameron's latest EU renegotiation foe

Andrew Grice
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959  

Stephen Ward’s trial was disgraceful. There can be no justification for it

Geoffrey Robertson QC
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas