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Emily Ratajkowski is opening up in an essay for Harper's Bazaar, but it's the picture accompanying the essay that is causing a stir. In a black-and-white photo, Ratajkowski flashes her underarm hair, and her commenters have fired back.
"If I decide to shave my armpits or grow them out, that's up to me," the 28-year-old says in her essay. "For me, body hair is another opportunity for women to exercise their ability to choose – a choice based on how they want to feel and their associations with having or not having body hair."
"On any given day, I tend to like to shave, but sometimes letting my body hair grow out is what makes me feel sexy. And there is no right answer, no choice that makes me more or less of a feminist, or even a 'bad feminist,' to borrow from Roxane Gay... Ultimately, the identity and sexuality of an individual is up to them and no one else."
"Give women the opportunity to be whatever they want and as multifaceted as they can be." I wrote an essay for @harpersbazaarus about the importance of women's right to choose (how she dresses, what she posts, if she decides to shave or not) no matter what influences have shaped the way she presents herself. Do your thing ladies, whatever it might be. Link in bio.
A post shared by Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata) on Aug 8, 2019 at 8:32am PDT
Some commenters were less than impressed.
"So to be 'hyper-feminine' means to let a bush grow under you arms," said one Harper's Bazaar poster on Instagram. "Sorry but it's just disgusting to me."
"Being a feminist doesn't mean leaving your hygiene behind," another reader complained, while many simply posted vomiting emojis.
"Now that you got the attention you wanted, please shave, bye," read another comment.
"There's a big difference between women's rights and a clean body," someone wrote on Ratjakowski's page. "Disgusting... unfollow."
The backlash had fans rushing to defend the star.
"I love how worked up y'all are getting over some hair," one shot back. "Prudes."
"To shave or not to shave is a preference and has absolutely nothing to do with hygiene," wrote another.
"These comments are disgraceful," added a supporter. "This is exactly why she did this. She doesn't need to look good for anyone or any man to need validation or to feel good. She is not just for your gaze. No woman, however she identifies, needs to keep up appearances to fit a mould [for] someone else finds acceptable."