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julia roberts shouldn’t have to justify why she had hairy armpits in 1999

Isn’t that the point of the body hair positivity movement?

by Shannon Peter
|
06 November 2018, 4:23pm

via Instagram

Right now, an embarrassingly large section of the internet is getting excited about Julia Roberts’s armpit hair. In an interview on Busy Philipp’s new talk show, Busy Tonight, this weekend, Roberts was asked the question that apparently we’d all been pondering for the last 20 years — was the armpit hair she wore to the premiere of Notting Hill way back in 1999 intentional or not?

Excuse me if I’ve got the premise of the entire body hair positivity movement wrong, but I’m pretty certain women shouldn’t have to justify why they do or do not remove their body hair. As countless stories hit newsfeeds with headlines like ‘Julia Roberts finally addresses that hairy armpit moment’ and ‘Busy Philipps gets answers about Julia Roberts’s hairy armpit photo’, it’s perplexing as to why, in 2018, body hair finds itself being called into question.

Yes, some of us leave our armpits unshaven and legs unwaxed as a powerful rebuttal to society’s expectation that women should pluck every last hair from our bodies, lest men find it disturbing, or worse, unattractive, and more power to them. Another subset of us might instead choose to undergo a severe fortnightly waxing regime, submitting our genitals to the peril of a lollipop stick coated in honey-like gloop. That’s cool too.

Where I think the conversation is slightly missing the point is in the suggestion that simply because a woman leaves her underarm hair untouched, that she must be making a political statement, or that her prickly shins are a proverbial fuck you to the razor-waving ‘man’. Even if you take into account the added responsibility that comes with being a celebrity, why should we expect the likes of Julia Roberts, or Amandla Stenberg, who recently hit a red carpet with a little underarm fuzz, to be the pioneers of a body hair revolution?

The way I see it, what you do to your body hair is a personal choice, sparked by a wide spectrum of motives. Maybe you like body hair. Maybe you just couldn’t be bothered to shave in the shower this morning. Maybe somedays you wear it with pride, only to shave yourself silly the next.

That’s why I was quite impressed with Roberts’s response to Phillips’s question. “I think I just hadn’t calculated my sleeve length and the waving and how those two things would go together and reveal personal things about me,” she said. “So, it wasn’t so much a statement as it’s just part of the statement I make as a human on the planet, for myself.”

Basically, body hair, whether you have it or not, is no big deal and we really shouldn’t feel the need to ask anyone, Julia Roberts included, to justify their position on the subject.

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