This week, the Cut explores women’s complicated relationship to beauty standards and the effort required to meet them.
Can you remember the first time you were informed you were doing your body wrong? I was 13, lying in the grass in the park with another girl, arms behind my head, eyes closed. She sat up, pointed at my armpits, and frowned. “I’m disappointed in you,” she said, and I immediately went home and, wheezing in panic, shaved for the first time.
This kind of sequence: the spoken and unspoken expectations, the horror and shame of not measuring up — it’s not just a growing-up thing. We all know this. And we know too that when women disobey the rules of bodies — let their roots grow out, go out without makeup, or stop shaving, the world flips out.
There are many who limit their explorations of the art of armpit bush to their rebellious days of college and Gender Studies 101, and others who put down the razor permanently. Click through the slideshow for a look at the members of the very exclusive Paparazzi Pits Club: celebrity women, from Penélope Cruz to Madonna, who dared to go natural for once (or twice, or more).