In Western culture, the majority of women tend to shave their body hair (e.g. leg, armpit, and pubic hair) for cosmetic reasons. Various media reflect this in fiction, as almost all female characters have smooth, hairless skin in the aforementioned regions. Typically this is also a signifier of beauty, as unshaven women and girls (most commonly legs or face) are criticised for such traits. Thus, the depiction of a Hairy Girl is generally for one of two different contexts:
- Negatively, to portray the character as unattractive or weird for comedic effect
- Neutrally to distinguish the character as rebellious or rugged.
In Real Life
, girls who choose not to shave their body hair are generally associated with some forms of counterculture. In television, some reasons a character may choose to abstain from shaving or waxing include sticking it to the man, expressing their womanhood, or simply being lazy. Sometimes, though, the Hairy Girl is not a taboo in the context of the work's setting (perhaps its region or time period). This trope occurs most commonly with throw-away Granola Girl
characters that writers portray as female hippies and feminists, but these are frequently just Played for Laughs
as it's a "social taboo" in Western society. Another common comedic use of the trope is for characters to mention French girls
and the unshaven stereotype of them which exists in fiction much more than in Real Life
. If the trope isn't rubbing your face in it, odds are that it's a means to simply distinguish her from other female characters as a rebel.
Compare the New-Age Retro Hippie
and Granola Girl
. Also compare with Bald Women
, with girls having a lack of hair where it's expected to be. Contrast Perma Shave
, which is often the complete inversion of this trope, especially in a situation where the women are in situations where shaving would be impossible. Not be confused with Girls with Moustaches
, which focuses on the unnatural phenomenon of women possessing properly styled facial hair, rather than that "unsightly" fuzz on their top lip.
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- Boost Mobile features a commercial where a girl riding a bike has comedically long armpit hair hitting her tandem rider in the face behind her, asking 'You think that's wrong? Hidden cell phone fees are wrong.'
Anime and Manga
- Genshiken. Rika Yoshitake insults a male character's skimpy facial hair, telling him "I have more armpit hair than that!".
- Persepolis. Marjane's roommate Lucia has hairy armpits. They aren't very noticeable in the comic, but in the animated film they comically blow in the wind from her hairdryer.
- In Wanted, one of the ways Wesley Gibson knows that his relationship with his girlfriend is falling apart is because she's not bothering to shave her legs anymore.
- In Runaways, it's implied that Karolina stopped shaving her legs for a while after Xavin left her.
Live Action TV
- Saturday Night Live. Gilda Radner's character "Candy Slice," a parody of Patti Smith note , has furry armpits, and at one point grabs someone else's comb and uses it on her pits.
- On NCIS, Tony starts hitting on a female park ranger who's aiding in an investigation, only to get a glimpse of her unshaven armpits. He's immediately turned off by the sight, and makes up a clumsy sob story about being a recent widower to derail her interest.
- An episode of Popular had a girl put on fake underarm hair as the boy she was interested in was rumored to like Granola Girl types. (It didn't work, but not because of the hair.)
- Though not in context, some of the footage from the survival-themed Discovery series Naked and Afraid contains female survivalists who haven't shaved in weeks, for obvious reasons.
- A non-contextual (but historically accurate!) example in the Deadwood episode "A Lie Agreed Upon"; Alma Garrett reveals hair under her arms during a sex scene.
- In one of the Cynthia Worthington skits in The Amanda Show, Cynthia declares that she hasn't shaved in days and lifts her skirt to reveal a hairy legs, which she then uses a weed whacker on. This drives away everyone in the room, leaving Cynthia to comment, "How rude!" before she uses the weed whacker on one of her hairy armpits.
- In the sketch show Smack The Pony, during one skit Doon MacKichan is seen in the communal changing rooms at a swimming pool mentioning to her friend that she hasn't had a bikini wax in a while. She turns around revealing a whole forest of hair climbing out of her bikini.
- In the third episode of The Big Bang Theory Sheldon notes "Leslie Winkle recently started shaving her legs. Now, given that winter is coming, one can only assume that she's signaling sexual availability."
- Amanda Palmer has hairy armpits which she flaunts on stage quite frequently. Hell, her latest single was written entirely about her pubes.
- Referenced in a Bloom County comic when someone says that feminists don't shave their legs. The next panel, there's a woman saying, "Stereotypes. The language of hate." Her legs are very shaggy.
- Tina's Groove: Monica, Tina's not-too-bright coworker, has hairy legs, which are described by the other workers in a mix of awe and horror. In one strip she was overheard shaving for a date by yelling "Timber!" repeatedly behind a restroom door.
- The Simpsons
- After having her leg broken in one episode, Marge has her cast finally removed and discovers her leg could use a waxing, much to Dr. Hibert's alarm.
- A second example occurs in Lisa's spelling-bee dream where she is tempted with a free ride to the Seven Sisters college of her choice, the Vassar College representative says she can "Non-conform, like me!" while raising her arms showing visibly hairy armpits.
- Played with, when Homer becomes a Hippie, he encourages Marge to let her leg hair grow on the grounds that it's more natural. "Come on, I want to see those legs all furry and gross!" She doesn't agree.
- King of the Hill. After Hank and friends' campsite is overrun by hippies in one episode, they witness a classic hippie lady sporting hairy armpits as she dances through the river where they're fishing.
- The Fairly OddParents. Following Timmy's wish for his parents to stop caring so much, his mother gets the opportunity to save him by swinging across traffic using her "braided underarm hair rope!"
- Recess. Miss Grotke, who is clearly something of a New-Age Retro Hippie teacher, is often seen with rather heavy stubble on her legs.
- Bob's Burgers: In one episode Tina has to come to grips with the fact she now has hairy legs, being a teenager. Though at first she struggles with what to do about it, at the end of the episode she accepts her new 'little hair friends' and decides to keep it.
- Bravest Warriors: In the episode "Gas-Powered Stick", Chris peeps on Beth in her bedroom shaving her armpit hair. He then proceeds to sing a song about it before being interrupted by Plum.
- Hypnotically adorable Japanese Youtuber Cotorich has hairy armpits, to the chagrin of many of her fans. 
- There's definitely some Truth in Television here due to the fact despite being uncommon in Western civilization, there are still plenty of women in real life who choose not to shave. Some abstain as a social commentary on double standards, some do so since it makes them feel more natural about their own bodies, and some even don't shave simply because it's too much work. This is, after all, the whole basis of this trope.
- There's a fair share of female celebrities seen once in a while choosing to sport some armpit fur in public. Julia Roberts, Madonna, Britney Spears, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, and others have all been spotted doing so. The Paparazzi ensures it usually doesn't end favorably for them.
- Many older films originating from Italy, France, and the Czech Republic prior to 1980s featured female actresses with unshaven armpits due to it not yet becoming fashionably mainstream in Europe.