Armpits 4 August: Women Grow Body Hair For Charity (PICTURES/VIDEO)

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In 2012, women will happily go without make-up (Holly Willoughby), rage against editors airbrushing curves from magazine covers and refuse to allow age to interrupt their dressing up fun (Madonna).

Yet, there's one beauty convention no lady will touch: the issue of body hair.

While most men would only shave their legs for a joke, in contrast, women put up a daily fight against naturally sprouting hairs.

This month, a new UK charity event called Armpits 4 August aims to highlight this gender-based obsession, and how it can undermine women's body confidence, especially for those who are naturally 'hirsute'.

armpits 4 august

Meet the organisers of Armpits 4 August

During the month of August, the event's organisers -- Tasha, 24, Sarah 27, Gina, 22, Martha, 27, Emma 22, Claire, 18 -- are growing their underarm hair and asking friends and family to sponsor them to raise money for Verity, the charity for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) sufferers.

According to the Armpits For August website, a common symptom of PCOS can be hirsutism (excessive hair growth).

Martha Martens, a postgraduate student at King's College, London (pictured in the blue top), told Huffpost Lifestyle: “When we were at Southbank we got a few looks of disgust, a group of very young girls told us to go home and shave.

"One woman even walked by retching.”

But such negative responses also result in vigorous support for the campaigners.

“A man vigorously pointed his thumbs down, shaking his head and crying 'No!' Then a bystander shouted: 'Sexist!' Everyone burst out in laughter. When we get unprompted support we are just really happy, because that shows us we are doing something that matters," said Martens.

According to the website: "Narrow beauty standards create a physically, socially, and mentally damaging image of what is ‘natural’... There is no standard, universal, typical – let alone ‘normal’ – pattern of body hair for women."

As well as demonstrating this belief by growing their underarm hair, the ladies will also be constructing an online archive of photos to show the diversity of hair they have.

Find out more at their facebook page, get involved via twitter, read their latest blog, or follow the latest news at #pitpride.

Here you can see the results so far and the ladies' recent 'Arm Bush' of central London statues...

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While the Armpits 4 August brigade have had huge support from sufferers of PCOS, Martens admits that the experience still hasn’t been easy:

“I stopped shaving in May. A few weeks back I was wearing a sleeveless top while on the tube. I was extremely self conscious and didn't want to hold onto an overhead handle out of fear that people would say something to me.

"I pressed my arms against my ribcage to hide my armpit hair, because I could only see women without body hair. Then, this made me feel sad, so I gradually relaxed my arms and suddenly felt proud and empowered.

Martens says she can now seriously imagine a future without shaving.

"It just feels so much better, because I don't have a rash from shaving everyday and I don't have to experience pain when I use perfumes that contain alcohol. I also like being able to go swimming spontaneously without the need to shave my pits, legs, and bikini line first."

"I might shave in the future, but not just because I am wearing a sleeveless top, or a short skirt or shorts, or because I am going to the pool or the beach. If I choose to remove my body hair in the future, I will do it out of an informed decision and not because I have the feeling the situation requires me to shave."

Watch the Armpits 4 August women in action...