There are certain near-universal bodily traits that our culture has arbitrarily decided are unattractive on a woman. Take body hair: almost every woman has it, and most women spend hours and too many dollars getting rid of it. But at the end of all that fuss, we don’t have body hair. So that beauty demand can stick around, for now.
But I can’t understand why we would let our culture punish us for a nearly-universal trait we have no control over. There is no reason for almost every woman to feel bad about something on her body that she can’t get rid of and that nearly everyone else has. That would be like if we all felt ugly because we have necks.
I’m talking about armpit fat. You know, boob wings. Pectoral pudge. Suspender squishes. Pit tits.1 That little bulge of fat between your armpit and your breast.
I had my final dress fitting yesterday, and there was another woman in the shop having her first. Based on the row of safety pins up both sides of her dress, she’d lost a bit of weight recently. But her dress was strapless, and you could see two little wedges of fat next to her armpits. She desperately wanted the dress to be altered to conceal these bulges. Every ten seconds she hoisted the neckline hoping for a few more centimeters of coverage. It’s a dance I’m sure anyone who’s ever worn a strapless dress is familiar with, because armpit fat is the nemesis of women in strapless dresses.
Until now. I’m calling for armpit fat amnesty.
Because we all have armpit fat, fat and skinny chicks alike. Weight loss doesn’t make it go away. Building muscle doesn’t make it go away. This is a part of our bodies like earlobes or elbows. There is no point in being so self-conscious about something that can only be dealt with by paying a plastic surgeon to cut it off our bodies.
This is my current Facebook profile picture. I love this picture of me because it captures how happy I felt in that moment: on my birthday, watching the Pittsburgh Power, finally seeing my friend Louis on the sideline acting in the capacity of official photographer because he’s just that badass. (And also because my hair looks pretty.) A few days ago I noticed, with what I will admit was dismay, that my armpit fat is out in full force in that photo. The photo I’ve been representing as the quintessential image of me to Internet stalkers for MONTHS! Quelle horreur!
Except, no. I look great in that photo. My armpit fat is visible because I am a HUMAN WOMAN and I am not in the hand-on-jutted-hip Red Carpet Posture. Do you really want to spend your wedding day and the rest of your photographed life twisted into an unnatural position? To hide a part of your body that is never going away? A part that everyone else has too?
You don’t have to. You don’t need to love your armpit fat, and we don’t need to reprogram society to find a bigger bra bulge sexy (yet). But stop worrying so much about it. Stop dreading it. Stop hoisting your dress up to hide it. It’s there, it’s not going anywhere, so get used to it.
Nobody’s eye will zero in on your armpit fat if you carry yourself with confidence. And you’ll never feel confident if you hate a part of your body that can’t be changed. So join me in granting amnesty to armpit fat.
1Slang terms provided by Bridal Hootenanny members Megan and Liz, who are heroes.
June 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm
*bows in grateful thanks*
I have an ample supply and would love to grant it amnesty. Though I still refuse to wear strapless dresses that have an elastic across the armpit fat zone (no need to highlight and underline it).
June 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm
amen! (and I love that photo of you and that awesome dress! kickass.)
June 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm
1: I love this entry!!! I will accept your call for amnesty, but I still will hate it. I haaaaate it. I think I will mainly hate it in outfits/dresses where it’s a halter type number and it REALLY looks like you are literally highlighting that part of your body (which, fat or not, is bizarre looking) Not sure if you know what I mean.
2: I am 0.00% surprised that Megetz was able to provide additional terms for this. Especially pun-ny ones. (I am never surprised Liz knows anything and everything…)
3: You could not have picked a better picture to prove your point about “Also NO ONE CARES.” Because, I have looked at that profile picture a zillion times. I am in it, for crying out loud. I have loooooked at it. And I swear to God, I never once noticed your APF. I literally gasped a little in my head when I scrolled down. “Oh my goodness, she totally has armpit fat in that photo! Like, for real.” I NEVER NOTICED. And I have looked at that photo. A lot. Such PROOF that man, we are so much harder on ourselves than anyone else on the planet would ever ever be.
4: I selfishly love that photo a little more because I am in it, sharing your joy.
June 30, 2011 at 4:34 pm
Confession: I did not know any of those terms. I just spouted out some silly sounding words that I thought would work.
June 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm
Seconding what Abby said about #3. (And #2.)
June 27, 2011 at 1:59 pm
I have the pit tits. And since I’m flat chested they are also my only tits. (hot!)
I guess it’s just time to embrace them, hm? Thanks for the reminder. I am very hard on them and it’s not overly fair.
This post is amazing.
June 27, 2011 at 2:02 pm
That was me kissing your cheek from far away because you are the best.
June 27, 2011 at 3:18 pm
I support your call for Amnesty, but I would also like to make a second call to clothing designers. While everyone has AF and it’s nothing that needs to be hidden, I do also feel that if it’s something that clothing designers probably don’t shoot for, and there are dresses that fit women’s bodies in every other way, there’s clearly someone not making allowances for this thing that’s a part of every woman’s body. There are dresses where it’s unavoidable — due to a tight fit/high cut, etc. — but there are articles of clothing where it just seems like they’re trying to squeeze us all into a certain mold. Which, let’s repeat once again, doesn’t exist.
June 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm
So much love for this post (and for you!!)
June 27, 2011 at 7:47 pm
Yes! Why do we choose such random things to be obsessed about? Why would anyone else want to scrutinize our armpits?
Thanks for saying this so well. And that is a fantastic photo!
June 27, 2011 at 7:47 pm
I appreciate this so much, and so does my 10 year-old self! I have always had this, even when I was a plank. I used to think that I was the only one who had them really bad, but now I realize that it only seems that way because no one notices it!
June 27, 2011 at 9:11 pm
I would also like to agree with Abby’s #2 and #3. I seriously NEVER noticed it. Also: PIT TIT.
June 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm
Man, those things are gross.
June 28, 2011 at 12:31 am
I seriously would have never noticed in that picture if you hadn’t pointed it out.
July 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm
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July 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm
I am so happy that I read this. I believe you when its all about carrying yourself confidently. I must admit that I thought growing up starting to wear bras I must have injured myself putting my bra on and I strained it. However, it will always be there and i hate seeing other women not worry. But it is all about your perception and loving your body. Thanks for this. Love yourself!
November 9, 2013 at 6:14 am
Indeed! I workout hard, 5x per week, and this remains the same! I LOVE this article! So glad I stumbled upon it!!!
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