Since when is arm hair an issue? (Photo: Instagram)
What’s the first thing you think when you look at this photo? Apparently for some people it’s “gross.” Courtney Adamo, a 35-year-old blogger and mother of four is documenting her world travels on Instagam and recently received major criticism from some of the trolls amongst her 148,000 followers for her fine, blonde arm hair in this photo. “Is it that hard to shave your hands? At least laser the hair off,” one Instagrammer wrote. “Just a suggestion I hope you don’t take it as offensive. Your arms would look much smoother and feminine.” This is among the first publicized instances of arm hair shaming, and we’ll admit we missed the moment that arms were added to the list of female body parts required to be completely hairless.
The criticism follows a recent fiasco over Leonardo DiCaprio’s mom’s armpit hair in a throwback family photo. And that wasn’t the first time women got hate for bearing their armpit hair. Miley Cyrus was famously subjected to the wrath of rude commenters when she dyed her armpit hair pink, and the general populous accustomed to western beauty standards evidently finds armpit hair disgusting. But soft, blonde arm hair never seemed to gross people out until now.
But that’s what social media is for, right? “I wish people would only write online what they would tell to someone’s face,” one user wrote on Adamo’s photo. “I’m disillusioned of people’s manners and a bit afraid where this is leading…” It’s probably true that social media breeds false confidence, and it’s also likely that most of these critical strangers wouldn’t feel comfortable criticizing Adamo’s arm hair without their iPhone screens to protect them. Adamo thinks it’s pretty ridiculous, too. “Don’t we already have enough pressure on us to meet society’s arbitrary standards of beauty? Why are we encouraging (or more accurately, pressuring) each other to have more insecurities?“ she told the Daily Mail. “The global nature of social media means that women are subject to not only our own society’s peculiar standards of beauty but the entire world’s. Arm hair is just the latest to pop up. It’s not something I’ve ever cared about (I took the offending picture after all). Some women may think it’s ‘gross’, but hey, that’s what makes the world go round."
Adamo mentions that shaving her arms never even occurred to her, but other women with self-consciousness about their arm hair were inspired by the post nonetheless. “Dear @courtneyadamo - thank you for this post, even though you weren’t trying to send a message. I too have a lot of arm hair but I’ve been removing it for half of my life. I’ve decided to stop,” one user commented. “Now that I have a daughter, what kind of message will that send to her (especially since she will probably take after me)?” Others were equally moved. “I have been inspired and posted a photo of my arm hair too! No reason to be ashamed! No more shaving my arms!!” Another user thanked Adamo for “keeping it real.” Adamo seems more surprised than anybody that her arm hair would spark this debacle, but we’re glad to see it inspired people to embrace their alleged flaws.