In Western culture, the majority of women tend to remove their body hair (e.g. leg and underarm hair, and sometimes trim or remove their pubic hair as well) for cosmetic reasons. Various media reflect this in fiction, as almost all female characters have smooth, hairless skin in the aforementioned regions. Despite that, a Hairy Girl may have body hair in scripted storytelling for one of the following reasons:
- Negatively, to portray the character in a weird or disgusting light for comedic effect.
- Neutrally/Positively, to distinguish the character as unique or different.
In Real Life, girls who choose not to shave their body hair are generally associated with some form of counter-culture. As such, a female character may sport body hair as a way to stick it to unfair beauty standards, or simply because she thinks all that shaving is impractical. Sometimes, however, the Hairy Girl is not a taboo in the context of the work's setting, perhaps due to its region or time period. Despite that, this trope is usually just Played for Laughs with throwaway Granola Girl characters who are hippies or feminists. Another common comedic use of the trope is when referencing French girls, a stereotype which exists in fiction much more than in Real Life.
Meanwhile, if the trope isn't actually rubbing your face in it, odds are that it's a means to simply distinguish a female character as unique, rugged, or au naturale. High school girls like this are traditionally associated with Nerds.
Compare the New-Age Retro Hippie and Granola Girl. Warts and All is another related trope, especially when it's not meant to be funny. Also compare Bald Women, with girls who lack hair on their head where they're expected to have it. The connotations are similar, as both are seen as "rebellious" against feminine norms. Contrast Perma-Shave, which is often the complete inversion of this trope, especially in a situation where the women would find shaving impossible. Also not to be confused with Girls with Moustaches, which focuses on the unnatural phenomenon of women possessing thick, properly-styled facial hair.
- 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.
- Marjane is fairly hairy, but it's treated a sign of her lack of self-esteem. After she becomes determined to take charge of her life following her failed suicide attempt, a montage ensues of Marjane working to make herself look nice again, including plucking out all her body hair in a comically painful manner.
- 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.
- FoxTrot: Roger decides to stop shaving for a while. Unfortunately, it comes out scruffy and unimpressive. Andy finally tells him that fine, he doesn't have to shave. Roger is ecstatic, until...
Andy: By the same token, these are my leg hairs...
Roger: You wouldn't...
- In The Dictator, the eponymous main character and unlikely love interest, Zoey, somehow manage a particularly funny fake out during their "sex scene" swapping what appears to be oral sex with The Dictator Aladeen instead licking her hairy armpits.
- Mrs. Doubtfire does some zigzagging with this trope. Daniel, dressed in drag as Mrs. Doubtfire, boards a bus with his stockings falling down. The bus driver begins flirting with "her" and upon noticing some legs that are considerably hairy, the driver admits that he likes women that way.
- Home Alone. Discussed.
Buzz: Is it true that French babes don't shave their pits?Rod: (Pause) Some don't.Buzz: But they got nude beaches.Rod: Not in the winter.
- Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games is mentioned as not shaving her legs, though it's more of a downplayed example given that it comes up only for the sake of a Painful Body Waxing scene.
- Without a Paddle: While lost in the woods, the protagonists stumble upon some Granola Girls who have taken to living in a tree to prevent it from being cut down. Their joy at seeing the first women after several days of cold, starvation, and hugging each other to stay warm quickly diminishes when they notice the girls' hairy legs (both because they didn't have access to shaving supplies and since they consciously decided to go back to nature).
- In the Swedish film version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Noomi Rapace has several topless or nude scenes, showing that either she doesn't shave her underarms in real life, or she did it for the role. Most likely the former, as she's Swedish.
- Anna in Together refuses to shave her armpit hair. Then again, this is The '70s.
- Honey Barbara in 1985's Australian film Bliss.
- Monty Python's Life of Brian: Judith is shown to be one in her nude scene after she and Brian are discovered by his mother after having had sex. This is Truth in Television for most women at the time.
- The Hour of the Pig: Accurately for the era, all women who show them have unshaved pubic areas.
- Life Partners: Discussed by Sasha and Jenn regarding Vanessa, who's never shaved at all "down there". Jenn tries to drop this as a bombshell on Sasha, who already knows (with the implied implications for oral sex).
- Killer Joe: Sharla is shown in the very first scene to not shave her pubic hair, answering the door bottomless. In her nude scenes, Dottie shows that she doesn't either.
- Room in Rome: Neither of the female protagonists have shaved their pubic hair, as we see from their copious nude scenes. This is Truth in Television for many European women, unlike the American fashion.
- Black Book: Rachel's pubic hair is completely unshaven, which we see as she's dying it blonde as part of a disguise (along with the hair on her head). This was common for European women then (and now).
- Portrait of a Lady on Fire: While in bed with Marianne, Héloïse shows her unshaven armpits a couple times. Marianne was also shown earlier to not shave her pubic hair. Both were standard then (and now) in France.
- In Shrooms, Granola Girl Holly doesn't shave her armpits or her legs (or, by implication, her pubic hair). This earns her mocking from Girly Girl Lisa, and is one of the main area Lisa attacks when then get into a full on insult fight (that then turns into a Cat Fight).
- In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie mentions seeing his English teacher's hippie girlfriend who "even had hair under her arms!" Charlie seems delighted by the fact she fit the Granola Girl stereotype.
- Katniss Everdeen, and by implication, the other women in District 12 from "The Hunger Games". Her prep team is somewhat horrified that she never shaves her legs, armpits or plucks her eyebrows. Given the difficulties of life (and lack of fashion) in the district, one can presume that the women have more important things to worry about than some unneeded grooming. This was mostly left out of the film version, outside of the short, aforementioned Painful Body Waxing scene because they couldn't let an attractive lead female appear in a big movie with body hair now could they.
- The Middle. In the episode "Role of a Lifetime" Axl torments Sue in one scene by telling her he thought of a good insult towards her but won't tell her what it is. Sue then starts rattling off guesses, one of which asks "Is it my unruly leg hair?"
- 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, but gets an unwanted 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 room 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.
- 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 signalling sexual availability." She indeed does want to have casual sex with Leonard.
- When Penny takes Amy Farrah Fowler for her very first bikini wax ever, she remarks that it's the first time the salon ran out of wax and had to send out for more. Amy jokingly says she feels like she's lost five pounds in weight. Bernadette's jaw drops and she says, disbelievingly, "Only five pounds?" It can be inferred that up until meeting Sheldon, Amy simply didn't bother with any sort of depilation.
- There is a gag about gorgeous Penny (who however grew up in on a farm in Nebraska): when she was younger, she was experimenting with melted crayons and duct tape to save money. She admits this was a bad idea.
- Asian/British stand up comic Shazia Mirza explored society's attitude to hairy women in a documentary ''Fuck Off! I'm A Hairy Woman!'' by not shaving her bodily hair for several months and then deliberately going into situations where this would be immediately obvious, such as swimming pools and wearing summer clothing. She also challenges lads' mags editors about their prejudices, showing just what you have to do otherwise by taking the hair off one's leg.note
- In the first episode of The George Lopez Show, Carmen has been skipping swim class because her classmates were making fun of her for her hairy legs and her "jungle pits".
- Angie Tribeca: After waking up from a 9-month-long coma, Angie gets out of her hospital bed with some seriously unshaven legs.
- In the FX historical drama, Mrs. America, one episode sees anti-feminism activist main character Phyllis Schlafly sitting in an auditorium, when she notices a girl in front of her has a tag sticking out from the back of her shirt. Schlafly fixes the tag without saying anything, causing the girl to reach backwards to feel what happened by raising her arm, which shows that she has armpit hair. Schlafly is mortified by this visual.
- Singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer has said that while she will occasionally shave her legs and underarms, she usually doesn't, her view being that it's natural and there's no real reason to shave. Hell, one of her songs, Map of Tasmania, was written entirely about pubic hair.
- Singer Patti Smith was militant enough on this issue for the front cover of her Easter album to show Patti in a tight sleeveless t-shirt, flaunting hairy pits.
- "U Stink But I (Heart) U" by Mucky Pup, an Anti-Love Song originally credited to Billy and the Boingers, has among the various things the singer hates about his girlfriend her "hairy derriere", yet he still loves her regardless.
- Bloom County:
- Referenced in a comic when someone says that feminists don't shave their legs. The next panel has a woman saying, "Stereotypes. The language of hate." Her legs are very shaggy.
- It is revealed that Opus' fiancé, Lola Granola, normally doesn't shave her legs. She grudgingly does so at Opus' behest, "Because, Miss Tall and Stubbly, I get rug burn when we dance." However, this caused Lola's "Dead Head" membership to be revoked.
- Tina's Groove: Monica, Tina's not-too-bright co-worker, has hairy legs, which are described by the other workers in a mix of awe and horror. In one strip Monica was overheard shaving for a date by yelling "Timber!" repeatedly behind a restroom door.
- A short Betty arc has Alex grow out her armpit hair, which is treated as so transgressive it shocks a heavily pierced, tattooed punk girl who notices. She admits that she'd only taken a break from shaving to recover from a reaction to her antiperspirant, but thought it was funny how uncomfortable it made Betty.
- Garbage Pail Kids: Fitting the parody theme of the card series, the character Armpit Brit resembles a cutesy Cabbage Patch girl, just with hair locks flowing from her underarms.
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Antagonist Olga Gurlokavich, a brutal Russian female soldier, has hairy armpits visible during cut-scenes.
- In the Greek Mythology webcomics by A-gnosis, Persephone is hairy, because she's close to nature. When she tells Hades about this, he fails to understand why she would even mention it.
Hades: So? I have hairy legs and hairy armpits, too.
- Used by the Straw Feminists of the, well, "Straw Feminists" strip of Hark! A Vagrant.
- Averted by Frigg of Guilded Age, who has a rather... different reason to do so (and asked by a man, no less).
- Titular character Roomie, of Go Get a Roomie! has visible armpit hair in a few comics.
- Exaggerated in Scandinavia and the World where Sister Canada has extensive body hair, including a Carpet of Virility almost as thick as her brother's.
- Freefall: Winston's mother is a Transhumanism buff who's grown a large moustache, which she uses in part to weed out people who aren't broad-minded enough to share a conversation about her interests.
- 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.
- Weirdly adorable Japanese YouTuber Cotorich has hairy armpits, possibly part of her artsy-fartsy image, to the chagrin of many of her fans.
- In the same vein, another female Japanese YouTuber Naga Negi almost revolves her entire channel around her armpit hair. She even decorated her pit hair for Christmas one year!
- The French woman who is le tired in End Of Ze World.
- Laci Green takes a more natural approach to body hair as part of her 'body positive' ethos.
- Reimu Hakurei is portrayed as having unsightly armpit hair on Uncyclopedia.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog: When the show pulls its own Night at the Museum episode 'So In Louvre Are We Two', Mona Lisa exhibits some leg hair when inviting The Thinker to take a dip in A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. (It makes sense in context.)
Come on big guy, let's you and me get naturale and jump right in.
- The South Park episode "The Magic Bush", in which a video of Craig's mom and her "magic bush" goes viral. Interestingly enough it portrays her in a somewhat sympathetic light, having her tell off everyone that it's natural and nothing to be ashamed of.
- The Simpsons:
- After having her leg broken in "Little Big Mom", Marge has her cast finally removed and discovers that her leg could use a waxing, much to Dr. Hibert's alarm.
- Marge's sisters Patty and Selma often employ this trope to comedic effect. One specific example comes from "Flaming Moe's". During the slideshow of their vacation, they lament not being able to find a way to plug their electric razor into any of the European wall outlets before showing photographic evidence of this.
- In Lisa's spelling-bee dream in "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can", she is tempted with a free ride to the Seven Sisters college of her choice. The Vassar College representative says Lisa can "Non-conform, like me!" while raising her arms showing visibly hairy armpits.
- Played With in "D'oh-in' in the Wind", 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. After 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 "Mother Daughter Laser Razor" 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.
- In the episode 'Itty Bitty Ditty Committee' Linda develops a rash which makes her unable to shave her armpits for the duration of the episode. Surprisingly enough, like Tina mentioned above, by the end of the episode she admits she kind of likes it and decides to not shave after her rash goes away.
- Sym-Bionic Titan: A mismatched couple, including a European-looking woman with hairy legs, is seen walking a baby stroller in the background of a city scene in the episode where Octus tries to figure out why all humans have become frozen in time.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy: One episode has a flashback to Eddy's mom promising him that he would inherit his brother's room if he got a good picture taken for picture day. In the flashback, all that can be seen of her is her right arm, and it's clear that she never shaves, as she's very hairy.
- American Dad!: In the episode "Shallow Vows", Francine gets very hairy arms after she stops trying to make herself look pretty for Stan. She also gains a Big Ol' Unibrow and facial hair.
- X-Men: Evolution: In the episode "SpykeCam", after Rogue absorbs Sabretooth's powers, her body hair quickly grows all over.
Rogue: Aw, and I just shaved my legs last night!
- Family Guy: In "Fecal Matters", Brian finds out he's part-cat and tries to prove his heritage by scratching on what appears to be a hairy post, but is actually Meg's leg. Not that she's bothered by it.
Meg: (excitedly) Don't stop!
- 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.
- A fair share of female celebrities have been 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 ensure that it usually doesn't end favorably for them.
- Many older films originating from Italy, France, and the Czech Republic before the 1980s featured actresses with unshaven armpits, as it wasn't yet fashionably mainstream in Europe.
- No one is quite certain exactly why Western women began shaving their legs and underarms, though it is known that it's only been happening on a wide scale since the early 1900's. Theories range all the way from changing fashions, to the "Bathing Beauty" short films by Mack Sennett, who, upon seeing the first cut of his first effort, allegedly told an assistant: "That looks like hell. Have 'em shave."
- Notably, look at European and American paintings over the centuries. Lovely female nudes will abound, but you'll rarely see any body hair. Maybe women were removing their hair back then, others speculate that it's because pubic hair was associated with sexual debauchery at the time, but it's likelier an artistic choice— the same reason the artist didn't include birthmarks or cellulite. The Realist movement in art tried to steer things in a different direction— Gustave Courbet's "The Origin of the World," for instance, is simply a close-up of a woman's unshaved crotch.
- When a photograph of a two years old Leonardo DiCaprio with his parents was shared on social networks, most comments were reactions about his mother's hairy armpits (as well as appalled reactions about those comments). The photograph was taken in 1976, at a time women didn't shave.