This makes her a tough pill to swallow on occasion (kinda like the MDMA she kinda told us we should all do on her MDNA tour). But the last thing that should make Madonna unlikable is her body hair.
The selfie is relatively tame body-hair-wise, and reminiscent of Patti Smith's iconic album cover (see below), although the tight black lingerie and Teddy Boy hairstyle is all Madonna.
On the subject of the naturally occurring phenomenon of wispy brown hairs sprouting from the celeb's armpit, comments range from hurtful, to misguided, to downright mean. Some commenters accuse, "fake!" (are they right?!) while others simply let loose with a long string of h's and a's.
"Madonna’s nod to women deciding to go natural speaks to a growing trend in women’s health. Actress Cameron Diaz encouraged women to consider not shaving their pubic hair in her recent Body Book. And retailer American Apparel courted controversy after featuring mannequins with full-grown, visible pubic hair in a New York City storefront.
While a woman certainly has the choice on one’s armpit hair, the harsh comments on Madonna’s snapshot prove this trend might not be growing along with her hair."
Excuse us, we had no idea that our natural bodies--which have so intelligently evolved over millennia--were a "trend," or that an act of self-love is considered a vapid grab for the spotlight. The only thing these comments prove, is that women with body hair will always get called gross, that women should never dare show a spark of individuality or resistance to normalized body standards (even the most famous, creative, and whitest ones), and that sexism is alive and well.
Even a well-respected individual such as Cameron Diaz has to "encourage" not shaving pubic hair (because putting a razor to the ol' cooch comes so naturally!) rather than outright promoting it. Just imagine the controversy if a female celebrity who isn't "crazy" like Madonna went on a talk show sporting a halter top and lusciously fuzzy underarms: Shailene Woodley? Kristen Bell? Come on, Jennifer Lawrence, I know you've been dying to do something actually feminist for once. Maybe we should all just start wearing suits and not letting people look at our armpits like the guys get to do. (I've always wondered what was under there...unicorns? Leprechauns? Rivendell?)
While Madonna's Instagram history is dubious at best, and her feminism is certainly spotty, her celebrity status concentrates this issue. Madonna is a conventionally attractive, insanely rich white woman, so if she's not allowed to proudly grow armpit hair, who is? These Instagram comments reveal the ugly disgust society has bred for the beautiful variety of natural bodies, and the implicit sexist desire for women to be soft, supple, and groomed to look as close to their pre-pubescent bodies as possible. Uhm, gross and no thank you.
So if you feel so inclined, grow that hair! Treat your body like the work of art it is, and snap a selfie while watching the original armpit hair queen cover Rihanna's "Stay."
What do you think? Is not shaving your pits #artforfreedom? Let us know in the comments below!