At the Golden Globes on Sunday night, Mozart in the Jungle actress Lola Kirke accessorised her pink Andrew Gn gown with simple jewels, rosy lipstick, and two important political statements: unshaven armpits and a “Fuck Paul Ryan” badge.
It was a clever one-two punch, not least because the provocative pin (a reference to the Republican politician who recently announced plans to defund reproductive health organisation Planned Parenthood) sucked up most of the attention on the red carpet. The Telegraph reports that Kirke wasn’t asked once about her underarm hair as she made her way into the Beverly Hilton hotel – a faintly remarkable feat, considering the pressure Hollywood actresses are generally under to look ‘perfect’ at awards ceremonies.
When asked about her badge, Kirke explained that she felt a responsibility to raise awareness of issues close to her heart. “Paul Ryan is talking about defunding Planned Parenthood,” she told Elle. “I think that, along with a number of other decisions that are being talked about being made by the new [Trump] administration, is atrocious.”
Kirke continued: “As a person with a platform, no matter what size it is, I think it’s important to share your views and maybe elevate people that might agree with you, that maybe won’t feel like they can have the same voice.”
Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, announced last week that Republicans intend to cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood when they repeal Obamacare later this month. The non-profit organisation currently provides reproductive healthcare to millions of women and men in the US, and it’s estimated that around 400,000 women could lose access to reproductive and sexual healthcare if Ryan’s proposals are enacted.
If Kirke’s badge was explicitly political, the actress made an unspoken statement with her unshaven armpits. She’s far the first famous woman to decide to go unshaven: in recent years, everyone from Drew Barrymore to Miley Cyrus and Bella Thorne have opted not to bother. (When recently told to shave her legs by a random man on the internet, actress and singer Thorne replied: “HAHAHHA NEVER”.) And it does seem faintly ridiculous that “woman has body hair” is still a news story, as though the world has moved on not a jot since Julia Roberts rocked unshaven armpits at the 1999 Notting Hill premiere.
On Instagram (where she also posted a brilliantly body-positive video of herself dancing goofily around her hotel room, pre-Globes, in nude underwear), Kirke indicated that she had received a backlash for going unshaven. “Thanks to all you beautiful people who didn’t send me death threats on account of my #awesome #hairyarmpits!” she wrote. “You rule.”
Of course, there is an argument that we should simply stop talking about what women choose to do with their body hair entirely. (The feminist cause has bigger fish to fry, after all.) But we think that any woman who kicks against prescribed beauty standards deserves recognition and applause. As Kirke said herself on the red carpet: “My body my choice, your body your choice.”
Images: Rex Features