Rihanna's Selfie With Visible Body Hair Is Empowering, But Is It Really News?

Updated 05/04/18

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I'm currently sat at my desk, happily tapping away on my laptop, wearing cropped jeans that show a little bit of my unshaven (shock! horror!) leg. They've been unshaven for about six days now because the weather in England has sucked as of late (although it's sunny now, praise be) and I have had no desire, need or want to shave my legs. Superstar Rihanna apparently had the same idea.

Rihanna leg hair Instagram: Rihanna Instagram Selfie
@badgalriri

A couple of days ago, she posted an Instagram selfie with the caption "when u can't wait for summer." The image featured RiRi, looking all kinds of great, posing in what appeared to be a field wearing a black strap top with her leg (and some visible leg hair) on show. So why is it that whenever a celebrity shows up rocking body hair, publishers feel the need to report on it?

Yes, Rihanna casually posing with visible leg hair is brilliant, and it's important for us all to see that, like us, A-listers either don't want to remove their body hair or simply don't have time—no big deal. Yes, these women are defying long-held beauty standards, and are empowering people far and wide by going against that grain. But RiRi didn't feel the need to highlight her leg hair in the picture, so why do we?

Search Google for "celebrities with body hair," and a staggering 2,740,000 results come up. You'll find galleries of celebrities "flaunting" their body hair and "showing off their flaws" on social media. But it's precisely this type of language that stunts any real progression on the topic—yes, these galleries are meant to be empowering, but instead they're a reminder that for so long, body hair has been seen as something we should control and remove.

Women have been rocking body hair for decades and will continue to do so. Remember that time Julia Roberts looked absolutely incredible in that red sequin gown at the London premiere of Notting Hill back in 1999? You probably don't, because instead of newspapers reporting on how stylish her dress was or how good her performance in the film was, they reported on her armpit hair. (Yes, really.)

It's time we normalised body hair and accepted it for what it is—something everyone has. And by reporting on it as "news," we're just implying that it's still a big deal. Rihanna doesn't give a F about her leg hair, and we love her for it, but it shouldn't be a topic of conversation. What are your thoughts? Come join in on the conversation on The British Beauty Line.

Opening Image: Getty

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