Emily Ratajkowski criticized for flashing underarm hair: ‘Please shave’

In an essay for the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar, Emily Ratajkowski is opening up about her feminist beliefs and how she feels judged for her sexy appearance — “even women from the left, who fully supported the purpose of my protest, made comments about my missing bra underneath my white tank and jeans,” the model and actress writes of reaction to her protests against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 26: Emily Ratajkowski attends the Kerastase Party at Port Debilly on June 26, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Emily Ratajkowski (pictured in June) addressed her body hair in an essay about feminism for Harper's Bazaar. (Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

But it’s the photo that accompanies the essay — and more specifically, the tuft of dark underarm hair she flashes in it — that seems to be causing the biggest stir.

Ratajkowski showed off her underarm in a shoot with Michael Avedon. (Photo: Harper's Bazaar/Michael Avedon)
Ratajkowski showed off her underarm in a shoot with Michael Avedon. (Photo: Harper's Bazaar/Michael Avedon)

The Gone Girl and I Feel Pretty star defended letting her hair grow naturally in her essay.

“If I decide to shave my armpits or grow them out, that’s up to me,” the 28-year-old says in her essay. “For me, body hair is another opportunity for women to exercise their ability to choose — a choice based on how they want to feel and their associations with having or not having body hair. On any given day, I tend to like to shave, but sometimes letting my body hair grow out is what makes me feel sexy. And there is no right answer, no choice that makes me more or less of a feminist, or even a ‘bad feminist,’ to borrow from Roxane Gay ... Ultimately, the identity and sexuality of an individual is up to them and no one else.”

Some commenters aren’t so open-minded.

“So to be ‘hyper-feminine’ means to let a bush grow under you arms,” one Harper’s Bazaar commenter complained on Instagram. “Sorry but it’s just disgusting to me.”

“Being a feminist doesn't mean leaving your hygiene behind,” another reader griped, while many simply posted vomiting emojis.

“Now that you got the attention you wanted, please shave, bye,” read another comment.

VALENSOLE, FRANCE - JUNE 24: Emily Ratajkowski attends the Jacquemus Spring Summer 2020 show on June 24, 2019 in Valensole, France. (Photo by Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images)
Ratajkowski was clean-shaven in late June. (Photo: Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images)

“There’s a big difference between women’s rights and a clean body,” someone wrote on Ratjakowski’s own page. “Disgusting ... unfollow.”

The backlash had fans rushing to Ratajkowski’s defense.

“I love how worked up y’all are getting over some hair,” one shot back. “Prudes.”

“To shave or not to shave is a preference and has absolutely nothing to do with hygiene,” wrote another.

“These comments are disgraceful,” added a supporter. “This is exactly why she did this. She doesn’t need to look good for anyone or any man to need validation or to feel good. She is not just for your gaze. No woman, however she identifies, needs to keep up appearances to fit a mold [for] someone else finds acceptable.”

Chrissy Ford, special projects director at the magazine, also shut down critics, writing, “THERES NOTHING WRONG WITH BODY HAIR. Also, let’s get one thing straight for the people who don’t understand the meaning of hygiene ... having armpit hair has nothing to do with one’s hygiene.”

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