Emma Corrin’s Armpits: A Deeper Look at Society’s Relationship with Body Hair


The uproar over Emma Corrin’s armpits extends beyond mere hair. It’s a reflection of societal norms, personal autonomy, and evolving beauty standards. Patricia Grisafi’s insightful opinion piece delves into this complex issue, revealing how the reaction to Corrin’s armpit hair is symptomatic of broader cultural dynamics.

Personal Choice and Aesthetic Evolution

Grisafi begins by sharing her own decision to stop shaving her armpits three years ago. Her reasons were practical and aesthetic—tired of the irritation and ingrown hairs, she sought a look that was less polished and more natural. This personal anecdote underscores a larger truth: body hair modification is a common part of human behavior. From plucking eyebrows to styling head hair, people constantly change their appearance to express individuality.


However, armpit hair remains a contentious topic, especially for women. While men can choose to do as they please with their body hair, women who dare to display armpit hair often face public scrutiny and judgment. This double standard highlights the persistent policing of women’s bodies and gender norms.

Gender Policing and Social Disruption

Grisafi notes that critiquing body hair is often a way to enforce gender roles and judge those who challenge social norms. This scrutiny is particularly harsh for nonbinary and queer individuals like Emma Corrin. Corrin, who gained fame for their portrayal of Princess Diana in “The Crown,” recently appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar sporting visible armpit hair. The backlash was swift and harsh, revealing deep-seated prejudices.


Corrin’s armpit hair became a focal point for critics, attracting homophobic, sexist, and body-shaming comments. The vitriol was not just about aesthetics but also about Corrin’s nonbinary identity. Comments like “Shave please…it’s not about human rights…it’s about self hygiene,” and “Pits, pronouns. Pass,” underscore the intersection of gender identity and societal expectations of cleanliness and beauty.

A Step Back in a Progressive Society

Corrin’s experience reflects a broader issue: despite progress in some areas, society often takes steps backward when confronted with nonconformity. The strong reactions to Corrin’s armpit hair and nonbinary identity reveal underlying fears and resistance to change. Corrin themselves noted the unexpected level of vitriol, highlighting a gap between perceived societal progress and actual acceptance.


The Evolutionary and Biological Perspective

Critics of body hair often misunderstand its evolutionary and biological purpose. Body hair, including armpit hair, serves hygienic functions, such as reducing friction and regulating temperature. The notion that armpit hair is inherently unhygienic is not only scientifically inaccurate but also steeped in cultural biases.

Challenging Beauty Standards

Emma Corrin’s bold cover look on Harper’s Bazaar is a statement against rigid beauty standards. In a world where fashion and beauty are often about conformity, Corrin’s choice to display their armpit hair is a powerful declaration of personal freedom and self-expression. It challenges the conventional narratives of what is considered beautiful and acceptable.



  1. Why do people have armpit hair?
    Armpit hair, like other body hair, serves evolutionary and biological purposes such as reducing friction and regulating temperature.
  2. Is it unhygienic to have armpit hair?
    Contrary to popular belief, armpit hair is not inherently unhygienic. Proper hygiene practices, such as regular washing, are more important than hair removal.
  3. Why is there a double standard for men and women regarding body hair?
    Society has long dictated that women should adhere to certain beauty standards, including hair removal, while men have more freedom in their grooming choices.
  4. How can individuals challenge societal norms regarding body hair?
    By embracing personal autonomy and self-expression, individuals can challenge societal norms and advocate for greater acceptance of diverse appearances.
  5. Why was there such a negative reaction to Emma Corrin’s armpit hair?
    The negative reaction reflects deep-seated prejudices and resistance to nonconformity, particularly regarding gender identity and beauty standards.
  6. What can be done to promote acceptance of body hair diversity?
    Education, advocacy, and representation are crucial in promoting acceptance of body hair diversity and challenging harmful beauty standards.
  7. Are there cultural differences in attitudes toward body hair?
    Yes, attitudes toward body hair vary across cultures, with some cultures valuing natural body hair while others prioritize hair removal.
  8. What role do media and fashion industries play in shaping perceptions of body hair?
    Media and fashion industries often perpetuate narrow beauty standards that prioritize hairless bodies, contributing to societal pressure to conform to these standards.

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