Despite the fact that she made her on-screen debut just this week, Bekah Martinez from The Bachelor is already making waves in the media — but not for the reasons you might think. She didn’t get too drunk during the first episode, nor did she cause a squabble among fellow contestants. Rather, Bekah M. posted a photo of her armpit hair to Instagram and rocked a pixie cut which, for a contestant on that particular reality tv show, is sadly unheard of. The Bachelor is known for its rather homogeneous beauty standards, so anyone who deviates from their typical archetype in any way is bound to grab some headlines. For contestants on The Bachelor, armpit hair is shockingly progressive.
You can’t deny that previous casts of The Bachelor have all looked quite...similar. For one, they are overwhelmingly lacking in ethnic and racial diversity. Just last year Rachel Lindsay became the first black Bachelorette in the show’s 33 (now 34) season run, which is frankly just not right. What’s more, female contestants on The Bachelor have without fail sported similar hairstyles (long, preferably with finger brushed barrel curls) and groomed themselves to the point of uniform poodledom.
There has never been a female contestant with a vivid hair color, unique makeup look, or — correct me if I’m wrong — big tattoo (because wrist tattoos are dainty enough for true ladies to rock, right?). My point is that no one with an even remotely alternative look has ever snagged a spot on the show.
So when Bekah M., a pixie cut-rocking 22-year-old, turned up on this season of The Bachelor as a potential partner for 36-year-old Arie Luyendyk Jr., you better believe people freaked out a bit. Last week, the internet was set abuzz with the realization that Bekah is the first contestant with above-shoulder hair, much less a pixie cut.
To me, this pretty much cements the fact that the show is cast based on antiquated ideas of what defines female beauty (aka long hair), which, ew. It’s great that there is finally someone on The Bachelor who is shaking things up and I guess it’s a symbol of progress for the show in regard to whom they cast. But at the end of the day, it’s just a short haircut. All progress is good progress, I suppose!
Which brings us to a photo that Martinez posted to her Instagram account in June of 2018. Captioned “am i a good feminist yet? 😉 (all you haters will be happy to know i got them waxed last week),” the photo shows Bekah with her arm above her head and her armpit hair on full display. The photo has already gotten some mixed reactions ranging from “Yessssss girllllll” to “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.” It only has seven comments total as of now, so I have a feeling once Bachelor Nation gets wind of it it will blow up.
While armpit hair is obviously completely normal, it remains a topic of conversation whenever a woman decides not to shave hers. While I realize the expectation for women to shave their armpit hair was set forth by a patriarchal society with a ridiculous conception of what idyllic beauty should look like, I still shave my own. It’s my choice, and mine alone. And if a woman decides to let hers grow, that’s also her choice. Neither should be newsworthy, really, but in this case it actually is. And I get why.
Assuming The Bachelor screens the social media accounts of individuals before casting them for the show, it’s safe to assume that they likely saw this photo of Martinez and were totally cool with it (as they very well should be!). It proves that the show is beginning to have some wiggle room in whom it chooses to represent it which, again, is a tiny symbol of progress in my book.
I truly hope that soon we will live in a society where people of all appearances, genders, races, ethnicities, shapes, sizes, creeds, religions, and armpit hair lengths will be equally and fairly represented within the media. Until then, it’s triumphs like a Bachelor contestant with a little armpit hair that we need to celebrate.