Showing off our natural bodies in 2023 is so fetch. And there’s no one better to tell you that than Hollywood’s forever It-girl – Rachel McAdams.
For McAdam’s latest photo shoot, the Notebook actress opened up to Bustle about the importance of being honest about her body. Many are praising the actress after she specifically requested that all the images receive “minimal” retouching, and bared her armpit hair proudly for the camera.
In a video posted to Bustle’s YouTube channel, McAdams gives her preteen self advice on growing up — including the decision to start shaving her legs.
“Life is long once, shaving is intense, but if you’re gonna go ahead with it anyway, watch the ankle bones, the shins,” McAdams advised.
The 44-year-old actress, is set to star in the upcoming highly anticipated movie Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, based on the best-selling Judy Blume book of the same name. The book tackles a coming-of-age story with themes of puberty and dealing with your body, something that McAdams herself relates to.
The actress has always been candid with her choices – back in 2018, she was the centre of another controversy when she appeared on the cover of Girls. Girls. Girls. Magazine wearing Versace and a breast pump.
“Obviously #rachelmcadams looks incredible and was quite literally the dream to work with but also this shoot was about 6 months post her giving birth to her son, so between shots she was expressing/pumping as still breastfeeding,” Claire Rothstein, the publication’s founder and editor wrote in a caption.
And just like back then, her decision to show off her armpit hair has also naturally attracted some internet backlash.
“Dear Lord…she has more pit hair than me. Not sure who exactly really wants pit hair. It’s kinda worthless,” one shared on Twitter.
“That’s just nasty,” another claimed.
I could have gone without seeing Rachel McAdams armpit hair…….but what's done is done. 🤮
— Sara Eliza (@blue_rose_sara) April 22, 2023
Another asked: “Am I seeing badly or does she have armpit hair?”
We think we’re a progressive society, but women showing off their natural bodies on screen even today is a revolution. But it doesn’t have to mean anything, it should just be normal. From conversations I’ve heard growing up, one thing is very clear: insecurities are taught.
“Body hair is literally one of the most natural things ever.” says Prajakta, 21, “And I was very okay with it, it didn’t strike me as anything but normal until a very nasty aunt pointed it out to me when I was 19. It was a family wedding and I was going to wear sleeveless – in the changing room, she handed me an electric razor without me asking, adding that I’m ‘old enough now, it doesn’t look pretty.’ It was so ridiculous even back then, but when I saw my cousins later looking all pretty without body hair, suddenly, I could literally feel the insecurity creeping up.”
A lot of my female friends share similar experiences. Most of the time relatives aren’t so upfront, but this insecurity is conditioned over time through micro-aggressions.
I have shaved once in my entire life. I don’t have much body hair that needs regular maintenance by going to salons or shaving regularly. But an incident as a child shaped my attitude towards body hair for the longest time.
When I was 14, most of my classmates had started going to salons with their moms to do their eyebrows and stealing razors to shave. Some of their mothers would threaten not to take them to their next appointment if they didn’t study well – and the girls would freak out in school, conversations that I could not yet participate in. This whole ordeal ended with me stealing my mom’s electric razor to shave my leg, and instead shaving half of my right eyebrow off (accidentally). Didn’t go to school for a week, never touched a razor since. Come to think of it though, my 14-year-old classmates shouldn’t have had to worry about body hair either.
And now as I’m 21, I know that nothing has changed as I watch my 15-year-old cousin beg her mom to take her to a salon.
Among celebrities, female body hair is sprouting all over. Ilana of Broad City has exposed her underarm growth; so have Jemima Kirke and Zazie Beetz. In January 2019, Laura Jackson, a British college student, ran a campaign called “Januhairy,” urging women to grow out their body hair and post selfies on Instagram. Julia Roberts and Miley Cyrus have showcased underarm hair and Rachel is one more on a rather long list, but among the masses, attitudes surrounding it are changing too slowly.
It’s 2023 — and honestly, Rachel McAdams showing off her armpit hair should not be this groundbreaking. It’s about time that we stop viewing body hair as something radical and just call it what it is.