For some reason, nothing sparks an angry response like a woman with body hair. Be it on her arms, legs, face or pubic area, people can’t seem to stand the sight of it – which is weird, considering we all have it. Case in point: After Nike posted a photo of Nigerian American model Annahstasia Enuke standing stoically with her arm over her head, revealing armpit hair, Instagram users immediately went to war in the comment section.
But before we delve more into that, we must first point out how gorgeous Enuke looks in the campaign. Her skin is near flawless, her eyes are piercing, and she looks strong AF. “Big mood,” the caption reads.
Of course, the Internet being what it is, most people focused in on her underarm hair instead, telling Nike to stop trying to make this a thing (though one look at Enuke’s own Instagram account proves this choice is authentically hers). “What’s next? Mustache?? Can’t wait to see facial hair is the new ‘trend,’” wrote one follower. “Shave that sh*t,” demanded another. Some commenters went as far as to call Enuke “disgusting” for the small amount of stubble shown.
But many were quick to jump to the model’s defense. “Yes, we grew up where the norm was for men to have armpit hair, but don’t you think women should have the same right and you should allow for this progression? For it to be normalized if they CHOOSE to have it and not have other people tell them it’s disgusting?” one user wrote in response to the hate. “To call someone disgusting is judgmental and damaging to a societal progression.”
Nike isn’t the first athletic company to embrace natural body hair, and while attitudes are changing, as shown in the support Enuke has received on social media, sadly the response is still overwhelmingly negative. When Swedish model Arvida Byström posed in an Adidas campaign with unshaven legs, the reaction was downright scary. In fact, she received rape threats as a result.
Seriously, what is it about body hair that begets this kind of hostility? It’ 2019. Women deserve the right to do what we will with our bodies. One Instagram user said it best: “Nobody has to be hair-free ANYwhere.” Now, that’s big mood.
The good news is that the pro-body-hair movement shows no signs of slowing down, and the more people – whether they be celebrities, models or normal folks on Instagram – who choose to embrace it, the sooner it will become another normal thing to scroll past.
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