Stigma in society making most women feel insecure about underarms, poll claims

Insecurity rife particularly among young women about receiving looks and comments because of their arm pits, say researchers

Tuesday 23 July 2019 15:14 BST
(Getty Images)

A resounding majority of women feel self-conscious about their underarms, a poll has found as campaigners call for the stigma to be tackled.

Nine in 10 women feel self-conscious about their underarms, with most revealing that at some time they have felt "embarrassed" over them.

Worries about armpits were particularly populous among young people, with one in 10 of the more youthful among the 2,000 women surveyed saying they avoided spending time with their partner or friends because of underarm inhibitions.

The research also found six in 10 women have felt "judged by others", purely based on the appearance of their underarms, with half of young women shaving hair off in the region to avoid uncomfortable looks and comments.

A third have felt concerned enough about this body area that they avoided exercising, while 34 per cent claimed their lack of confidence in displaying their underarms has proved an impediment for their career.

The biggest worries were found to be stubble, hair and sweat patches, with possible odours and 'armpit fat' also proving sensitive issues among women.

It comes as Strictly Come Dancing star Dianne Buswell championed a new campaign to challenge the underlying reasons for a lack of confidence in their underarms.

Ms Buswell, an Australian ballroom dancer, said she was as prone to insecurities over her armpits as anyone else.

“I’m dancing with people I’ve never met before and there’s definitely been times where maybe I haven’t shaved or I hope I smell alright," she said.

“It’s fine to be real and natural – I just think go and do it. Live life, don’t worry about being ‘perfect’.”


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