Rihanna Has Stretch Marks And Leg Hair. Rejoice.
Body. Positive. Queen.
Some things that are just part and parcel of being a woman. Stretch marks and body hair are two of them.
Or are they?
These natural, largely unavoidable and very common phenomena don’t seem to exist on the silver screen, in magazines and advertisements et al. Seriously, flick on the TV or stroll past a billboard and you’ll likely see a stunning young woman with blemish-free skin and not a stray hair to speak of wearing (or often not wearing) very beautiful clothes.
Now, I get it. Ladies, we get it. If you want to sell something (and let’s face it, that’s what films, magazines, advertisements are doing) it helps to make it pretty. Flawless. Edited. Aspirational. A lot of us (myself included) make some sort of effort -- sometimes without even noticing -- to attain these aspirations.
That might mean opting for strategically-cut swimsuits to conceal stretch marks, or undertaking one of the many depilatory methods available to us lucky gals. You really don’t know yourself until you’re on all-fours while a laser hair removal technician zaps away ~down there~. Ouch.
We do these things for reasons too complex to go into here. But the end result is that there’s almost no room nor tolerance for what’s ‘real’. What’s raw and messy. What’s uncensored and un-retouched.
And, like most women, I have a lot of real, raw and messy going on. And when the real does rear its head the reaction is more likely to be shock, scandal and – yes -- shame rather than acceptance. Will there ever come a time when the sight of a hairy calf or stretch marked derriere makes us go ‘hell yeah’ instead of ‘ew’?
Yes, I think so. And thanks to some bad-ass body positive celebs we’re already on our way.
Way back in 2015 (sooooo long ago, right?) model and all-round-truth-talker Chrissy Teigen posted a photo to Instagram that made the world explode. The pic, taken by the then-29-year-old, showed her cross-legged on the floor, sporting bruises (from bumping into kitchen cupboards, she explained) and some fine, light-coloured stretch marks on her inner thighs. Shut. Up.
Her caption – “stretchies say hi!” – killed everyone (in the best way) and attracted hundreds of thousands of supportive comments from women around the globe. Her motivation for posting the photo? “I think we forgot what normal people look like now,” the Sports Illustrated regular revealed on The Meredith Vieira Show. Preach. Mrs Legend went on to vow to stop using Photoshop apps -- popular amongst many celebrities -- to alter images of herself on her personal social channels.
A little over two years later Paris Jackson, now 20, rocked up to the Melbourne Cup in a gorge floaty terracotta frock and a DGAF ‘tude. But it wasn’t the actress and model’s many tatts or famous relatives that attracted the most attention. No, it was her legs. Or specifically, what was on her legs. She had hair. Leg hair. On her legs!
The media was more concerned about her fuzzy stems than her too-cute dress -- which was designed by Aussie label Morrison and sold out before it even hit the stores. Now I’m not saying that Paris and Chrissy are the first and only women to ever dare expose their ‘flaws’ but they are two examples that really stuck in my mind. That and the second verse of rapper Kendrick Lamar's song, HUMBLE., where he says, "I'm so fucking sick and tired of the Photoshop... Show me something natural like ass with some stretch marks."
And looking at Rihanna’s recent Instagram post, I reckon she tends to agree.
The singer posted a series of three selfies -- makeup-free, hair loose and unfiltered – to Instagram on May 3 with the totally relatable caption, “when u can’t wait for summer.” But what was even more relatable were her cute little leg hairs that caught the sunlight, and what appeared to be stretch marks on her bottom.
Sure, Rihanna later clarified that in that particular photo they were sun rays not stretch marks but she certainly didn’t deny having them. “I got stretch marks but that's just the sun,” she said in a comment to a fan. Cue applause. And sighs of relief – if living legend Rihanna is okay with exposing her stretch marks and body hair to the world then maybe we can be too. And that, my friends, is why those three selfies are so very important.
Leave it to RiRi to tackle two taboos – body hair AND stretch marks – in one fell Instagram post. To be honest, can we expect anything less from such a queen? The Fenty Beauty mogul -- who killed it on the Met Gala red carpet in May -- has long been an advocate for self-love and inclusivity of all shapes, sizes, sexualities and races. Her Fenty foundations come in 40 different shades to cater to all skin tones. So is Rihanna content with dominating and democratising just the beauty world?
That’d be a no.
RiRi launched size-inclusive lingerie brand SavagexFenty on May 11 after dropping sneak peeks on her social accounts for weeks. The range includes bra sizes AA to DD and briefs sizes XS to 3XL. She treated us to a moody video of a model in a two-piece nude bra and knicker set with the caption, “Savages come in all shapes and sizes!! ya ready?”
You betcha we’re ready. Just give me a sec to cancel my next laser appointment first.