Body politic: After Movember, here comes Armpits4August

New campaign aims to raise awareness of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome by encouraging women to grow their armpit hair for the month of August

Oscar Quine
Thursday 18 July 2013 15:50
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The campaign aims to raise awareness of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
The campaign aims to raise awareness of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

The organisers of Armpits4August are hoping to raise awareness of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) by encouraging women to grow their underarm hair next month - heatwave and all.

One of groups co-founders called Sarah has PCOS, a condition that affects up to 10 per cent of women.

A common symptom can be hirsutism, the term for excessive hair growth, something that Sarah battled with at work when wearing clothes that revealed her armpits.

Armpits4August hopes that the campaign may lessen traditional attitudes of shame to female body hair.

"The idea is to set a challenge," says Chloe Marshall, one of the organisers. "Until you question these things you don't know what you feel comfortable with, rather than just automatically doing the thing most expected of women."

The campaign aims to raise funds for Verity, the largest charity for people with PCOS. They're hoping to match the £4,000 they raised last year - an amount which far exceeded their expectations considering they only came up with the idea in May.

Associations have been made between the campaign and Movember, which, since 1999, has raised millions for prostate cancer charities - and found lucrative corporate affiliations – by encouraging men to raise funds growing their moustaches for the month of November.

As well as the alliteration, the organisers chose August as it is the month when armpits - and therefore their message - are most on display.

While the recent heatwave may discourage women from taking part, Marshall says they need not fear sticky discomfit.

"It's a perceived difficulty, but actually, body hair wicks sweat away from the skin so some people find that the hair actually makes them feel fresher.

"I don't think it will affect people's decision, when they know it's a short commitment of just a month - especially considering that it can take longer than that for it to be fully grown.

"Last year, mine looked like a teenage boy's moustache after a month; I was really disappointed!"

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