Every so often, a news item comes across our desk that reminds us just how awful a place the internet can be. This is one of those times. Madonna’s 20-year-old daughter, Lourdes, was photographed on the beach in Miami recently, doing what most women her age do when they’re on the beach: frolicking, sunbathing and hanging out with friends. But when Just Jared posted a paparazzi photo of Lourdes on said beach, in which a bushel of armpit hair was exposed, the body shaming trolls who roam the World Wide Web looking for their prey decided to come out of their holes.
While we won’t give a voice to the Instagram users who think it’s their business what a woman does with her body, we will use this space to call them out for being awful. Revulsion at the sight of female armpit hair is nothing new in the West, but that doesn’t mean it should be tolerated. As it turns out, one person trying to destigmatize hairy armpits on women is Lourdes’ own mother.
In 2014, Madonna posted an Instagram in which she exposed her unshaved armpits to the world, and captioned it with “Long hair…… Don’t Care!!!!!!” According the Queen of Pop, she’s preferred unkempt armpits her whole life, despite society’s unspoken rules that women should be shaved in that area.
“[G]oing to high school, I saw how popular girls had to behave to get the boys. I knew I couldn’t fit into that. So I decided to do the opposite,” Madonna told Harper’s Bazaar in 2011. “I refused to wear makeup, to have a hairstyle. I refused to shave. I had hairy armpits.”
“The boys in my school would make fun of me. ‘Hairy monster.’ You know, things like that,” she added. “Straight men did not find me attractive. I think they were scared of me because I was different. I’ve always asked, ‘Why? Why do I have to do that? Why do I have to look this way? Why do I have to dress this way? Why do I have to behave this way?’”
Like mother, like daughter.