Thanks to Halsey’s latest move to redefine beauty norms on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, we’re finally seeing more body hair in the spotlight.
In an era of hashtag activism, a routine scroll of your Insta feed is all the confirmation you need that our favourite stars are using their platforms to champion the causes they care about. From Jameela Jamil’s I Weigh platform celebrating people’s self worth beyond the scales, to Lizzo speaking up about her struggle with depression, one well-worded post has the power to break down stigma, change the conversation, and inspire millions of people around the world to be their true, authentic selves.
One star who’s no stranger to using their voice to speak truth to power is Halsey. Whether it’s defiantly speaking out about LGBTQ representation in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, taking on Trump over US immigration policy, or bravely opening up about her own sexual assault at the Women’s March in 2018, the singer’s bold advocacy has become as much a part of her identity as her chart-topping music.
Earlier this month, Halsey spoke out in support of a lesbian couple who suffered a vicious homophobic attack on a London night bus. While performing at London’s Electric Ballroom, she donned a t-shirt emblazoned with the couple’s image alongside the message, ‘F*ck your straight pride’.
“Two people on my shirt are a young couple Melania and Chris, a couple nights ago right here they were assaulted because they are lesbians,’ she told the crowd. “It’s Pride month right now. Which is a really exciting thing… But the sad reality is that after the Pride parade is over and the bars closed, and the glitter is being swept out of the streets a lot of people get on those trains and they get on those buses, and they wash the rainbows off their skin and peel the stickers off their clothes. Because when Pride is over, it’s not safe to be gay anymore. There is a worry that someone is going to viciously assault them or attack them.”
In a new cover for Rolling Stone magazine’s ‘Hot Issue’, however, the singer showed that sometimes, no words at all are needed to serve a strong message to the world.
The latest cover heralds Halsey as ‘Pop’s Queen of Chaos’, and shows the singer in a white tank top with her arms held aloft. She looks beautiful, of course, but the real reason everyone on the internet is talking about the shoot is because of a personal grooming choice. Namely, the decision to rock unshaven armpits.
For those of us who skip a few days of shaving on the regular, the cover might not seem especially radical. But given that we live in an age of perfectionism and restrictive beauty norms, seeing a woman proudly embrace her natural body hair on a major magazine cover is an instance of mainstream body positivity that’s definitely worth celebrating.
A host of celebrities turned up to show their love and support for the singer, included Demi Lovato, who wrote: “There is so much yes about this picture idk where to start”, while fellow singer and collaborator Benny Blanco posted an emphatic, “Rockstar status”.
Singer Zara Larsson also joined in the praise, applauding Halsey for defying the pervasive use of Photoshop of women’s bodies in the media. “I loooove the fact that they didn’t edit the armpits like most magazines would do. Women are not little babies who don’t have body hair. Stunning cover.”
Whether it’s with her music, her social media activism, or her empowering magazine shoots, there’s no doubt that Halsey is changing the narrative about body image for the better. Here’s to seeing more natural, normal body hair in the spotlight.