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Extra Credit For Hairy Armpits?

At Arizona State University, a professor is offering extra credit to female students in her class who don’t shave their armpits for the duration of the course and male students who consistently shave their entire bodies from the neck down.

The classes that associate professor Breanne Fahs is offering are women and gender studies courses. She felt that students would learn better from actual real life experience than from quizzes and she was definitely right. “There’s no better way to learn about societal norms than to violate them and see how people react,” Fahs told ASU News.

Although actions such as shaving your armpits seem so small and habitual, they really are a reflection of society and how people interpret the kind of role you play in your own society and perhaps even your hygiene. Fahs’ students had no idea how much this social experiment would be noticed and would effect them. But some of them described the experience as “life changing.”

One student said, “Many of my friends didn’t want to work out next to me or hear about the assignment, and my mother was distraught at the idea that I would be getting married in a white dress with armpit hair.” 

Fahs has been giving this extra credit since 2010 and as the story has become more widespread, there are mixed responses. Although the students find it a valuable lesson and a hands on experiences that allows them to challenge societal norms, some responses have been negative. Some people believe that it shouldn’t be necessary “as women should be free to decide whether of not to shave under their arms,” while another describes it as “beyond stupid. No wonder our educational system is in the toilet and the rest of the developed world outlaps us technologically.”

As long as the students really getting something out of participating in this experience, who really cares what the outside feedback is. And since it’s extra credit, it is by the students own choice to participate.

Would you do this for extra credit?


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