Body hair: We all get it. Growing hair is a completely natural, human, bodily function that The Bachelor's reality TV star Bekah Martinez wants everyone to stop judging so hard. The 22-year-old showcased her unshaved armpits on Instagram yesterday, and she had a very real and relatable message to go along with why she chooses not to shave.
"I don't shave my armpits when I don't feel like it," Martinez says. "I don't know. I don't feel like it right now. I shave my legs most of the time, but I just don't really care. Also I don't see why I should need to. Plus, I get so freaking itchy and get eczema under my armpits when I do shave and then waxing is expensive. And doing it myself, I mean, I used to wax 'em myself, but it is just a hassle. Bottom line I just don't care."
Is anyone else strongly shaking their head in agreement right now or is it just me? She gets even more candid when she goes on bring up her insecurities around body hair with her cultural background. "You know what, being half Mexican, I have a lot of body hair and it was always something I was really insecure about," she says. "It's kind of liberating now at this point to be like you know what? If somebody doesn't like me because of my pit hair, fuck 'em! It's just the way I was made. I can't help it."
Amen to that. She brought up the larger issue of societal standards surrounding body hair along with gender normative expectations that put pressure on women to remove hair that grows in natural places. "I don't know where the social expectation came from that I am supposed to shave down there," says Martinez. "I do not want red razor bumps all over my lady parts, and I don't want to be with a man who expects me to do so. I'd rather have the hair and I want to look like a woman, not like an 11-year-old."
Even though it's easy to not remove your hair, it isn't as easy to stop caring about what others think. Martinez admitted to the fact that it's hard to let go of these societal pressures as a woman. "I just want to say it is not easy to stop caring about removing your body hair," Martinez says. "It is really really difficult because it has been conditioned within us by society to believe that we're ugly if we're hairy even if it is something we're born with."
She even confessed to not quite being able to shake the judgment that comes with having hairy legs, so she still shaves them. "I get it. I still shave my legs because I honestly can't handle when people stare at them," says Martinez. "They're very hairy when I don't shave them. I don't like it. Even little children that I take care of like 4- or 5-year-old girls will be like, 'Oh your legs are so hairy. Oh your underarms are so hairy.' And it is like, damn! Even straight out of the womb we are taught that women should be hairless."
There's a cultural conversation around body hair that is a part of a cycle. Byrdie features editor Amanda shared the complex reasons it's hard for women to simply wake up and not care about shaving when everyone and everything around us tells us we should. It's our hope that you'll feel empowered like Martinez to evaluate the societal standards you're succumbing to. The choice is yours and there's power in that freedom.