Emily Ratajkowski wants you to know that femininity is about choice and not what society dictates. For example: If you want to grow out your body hair and it makes you feel good, then go do it!
The actress penned an essay for Harper’s Bazaar on her thoughts about being “hyper feminine” accompanied by a photo shoot where she’s flaunting her armpit hair. Here, she talked about feeling offended when a friend described her as “too femme” because of how she presents herself.
For her, femininity shouldn’t be placed in a box, which is why she’s letting her armpit hair grow out. “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,” she said.
“I’m definitely not saying that every woman needs to connect with their inner Thotiana; I’m just making the point that women can and should be able to wear or represent themselves however they want, whether it’s in a burka or a string bikini,” she added.
Throughout history, women are told to shave their body hair because it’s considered “unhygienic and unfeminine.” It’s not a simple beauty trend, but a standard forced upon women because of sexism and gender norms that dictate women should be smooth and only men are expected to have body hair. This is impossible considering that 1) having body hair is normal; and 2) not every man has it and they are emasculated when they can’t grow out facial hair.
Meanwhile, Emily also mentioned how society still demonizes women like her when they’re not acting the way they want her to. When she was arrested for protesting against Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, the media focused on the fact she wasn’t wearing a bra. But, again, she said her choice to wear or not wear one shouldn’t affect her credibility, nor lessen the respect people give her.
If there’s one takeaway we got from Emily Ratajkowski’s essay, it’s that women can be feminine without having to conform to society’s impossible beauty standards. Don’t be ashamed of your body and don’t let people tell you what you can and cannot do.