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Ryn Weaver armpit hair
Ryn Weaver via Twitter

What's Azealia Banks' problem with this armpit selfie?

Rising artist Ryn Weaver is proud of her body hair, but the rapper isn't happy with the natural look

It’s been 16 years now since a nonchalant wave from Julia Roberts at the premiere of Notting Hill garnered more headlines than the film itself – and still, the debate over female body hair rages on. Now, female body hair has found itself a high-profile detractor in the form of Azealia Banks.

The dialogue began over the weekend when musician Ryn Weaver wrote on Twitter, “No one should feel the need to apologize for not shaving. what is this world? Ur too busy and excited about life to shave? Cool. I like u.” To prove that she followed her own doctrine, she then posted a photo of her unshaven armpits, and asked, “What’s wrong w nature?” Well, according to Azealia Banks, quite a lot.

“no girl,” came Banks’ response. “Public hair [sic] holds smells and bacteria. Now that we have clothes we don't need it. Veet her.” She later added, “That armpit just screams ‘my pussy stinks.’ But, To each its own... Carry on.”

“[You’re] a dope rapper,” responded Weaver. “Occasionally the most problematic but I don’t feel the need to comment on ur lifestyle choices.” Weaver, who broke onto the scene and into the Dazed 100 with "OctaHate" at the start of the year, is not a newcomer to the world of unshaven armpits – YouTube footage of her second ever live performance in 2014 proves that. The video is proof as well, if ever it were needed, that such a small act of female liberation is still absurdly contentious – the comments are almost exclusively related to her armpits.

Weaver is far from the only musician to challenge the expectations that come with being a woman – Madonna, Pixie Lott, Britney Spears, and even Beyoncé (as the Mirror gleefully pointed out with the caption, ‘No Beyoncé, NO’) have all had the audacity to appear in public unshaven. Most recently, Miley Cyrus grew out, bleached pink, and then waxed off her armpit hair, and documented the whole thing on Instagram.

Banks’ disdain for Weaver’s armpit hair extends beyond the superficial though, and towards the prioritisation, among white feminists, of issues she deems to be unimportant – namely body hair and #freethenipple, a recent campaign that aims to tackle the double standards of Instagram’s (and, by extension, society’s) nudity policy.

“I find that non-colored feminists cloud the feminist sphere with shit like free the nipple and hairy armpits,” wrote Banks. “Women everywhere are in much more dire situations than worrying about pussy hair or whether or not they can show a nipple on instagram.”

Read the entire debate between the two here.