An adorable photo of baby Leonardo DiCaprio circa 1976 was posted on the History in Pictures’ Facebook page two days after he won an Oscar for Best Actor. However, rather than focusing on baby Leo’s adorable towheadedness or how his and his father’s stripes match, people are instead zeroing in on the one thing they could possibly critique — his mom’s armpit hair.
I get it. We love to scrutinize anything celebrity related because it feels good to bring stars down a notch. That’s why there are magazines entirely dedicated to pointing out celebrity flaws when they dare to bare their bodies on the beach or in the privacy of their own homes. It’s like, the moment anyone achieves a “star status,” it’s automatically OK to magnify any possible embarrassment for the sake of spectacle news.
But this has just gone too far. For one thing, it’s a lovely photo from DiCaprio’s childhood that depicts a very happy-looking couple enjoying their young son. Are they also on the hippy end of the spectrum? Sure! It was the ’70s, and the family lived in California, where women’s lib was widespread, so it makes sense that they’d be more loose and free-spirited. But even if they didn’t fit that stereotype, would it be right to criticize his mother for not taking a blade to her underarms? Absolutely not.
If his father had been shirtless and showing a little underarm hair, you can bet there’d be no negative comments about it whatsoever. However, because the hair is on a woman, that automatically seems to give people the right to call her “gross,” “unladylike” and “lazy” because she’s not upholding the outdated female beauty standard of bare pits.
Fortunately a large portion of the social media community immediately started rallying around DiCaprio’s mom’s decision to go au naturel. Here are some of the great positive comments that appeared in response to the initial mean commentary.
— ☼☽Sydney (@Sydney_K14) March 1, 2016
The point in all this is that it’s such a silly thing to be making a fuss over. We’re in the middle of an incredibly important election season — this should be way farther down on the media priority list.
However, as long as we live in a culture that gets its kicks from judging others so we in turn feel more superior, petty controversies like this are bound to spring up. I suppose the only thing we can really do to quell them is to just not get into the conversation, because there are always trolls out there looking for more sparks to fuel their unhealthy anger.
More: Covering your armpits in glitter is a trend now