Rachel McAdams sparks fierce debate about body hair after baring her unshaven underarms in photoshoot

Rachel McAdams by Mark Seliger for Bustle
Rachel McAdams by Mark Seliger for Bustle. Photo credit: Mark Seliger / Bustle

Rachel McAdams' body hair has sparked a furious debate online after the actress flaunted her au naturel armpits during a recent photoshoot. 

McAdams, 44, proudly showcased her natural armpit hair in a series of photos shot by veteran photographer Mark Seliger, as part of a new profile with Bustle magazine. In the piece, the author noted McAdams' request for the images to be edited as minimally as possible.

In one of the portraits, McAdams posed in a sleeveless, floor-length Bally dress with her arm behind her back, allowing her underarm hair to peep out. In another, The Notebook star reclined on a velvet sofa in Hermès pants and a vintage corset, with her arms slung over the settee and her underarms on full display. 

The images have caused a sharp divide on social media, prompting a vitriolic response from many. Following the profile's publication, a number of people took to Twitter to deride and denigrate McAdams, with others pouring scorn on her decision not to remove her body hair. Among the insults were "tasteless", "nasty" and "gross", while others branded her body hair a "turn-off". One man even declared: "I would vomit if my wife had armpit hair like this."

"I cannot sleep. Having nightmares about Rachel McAdams' armpit hair," another tweeted.

Others accused the Mean Girls alum of being "desperate for attention", claiming the exposure of her armpit hair was nothing more than a PR stunt in a bid to keep her "relevant".

However, the controversial images have also seen others rally behind McAdams and rush to her defence, with many women weighing in with their anecdotes on refusing to remove their natural hair. Others applauded McAdams for her confidence and defiance against outdated standards of beauty. 

"I wish more celebs would be this comfortable in their bodies," wrote one, with a second deadpanning: "Oh no... Someone has hair, where hair f**king grows - the horror."

"If you're genuinely pissed off about Rachel McAdams showing her armpit hair in her most recent shoot, you should crawl back under the cold rock from which you came from," added another.

In her profile with Bustle, McAdams staunchly defended her right to do what makes her feel her best in her body, no matter the expectations placed upon women regarding their appearance. 

"I've had two children, this is my body, and I think that's so important to reflect back to the world," McAdams, who shares a five-year-old son and two-year-old daughter with her partner Jamie Linden, told the outlet. "It's okay to look your best and work at it and be healthy, but that's different for everyone."

In 2017, McAdams made headlines when she posed for Girls. Girls. Girls. magazine in a breast pump, a bondage-style Fleur du Mal bra, and Versace jacket. Addressing the photoshoot with Bustle, she said: "I love that juxtaposition of beauty, glam, fantasy, and then truth."

In 2019, controversial British broadcaster and journalist Piers Morgan was slammed after he branded unshaved women "lazy and revolting", adding: "Men don't fancy women who let it all out."

He also referenced the iconic and infamous images of actress Julia Roberts at the premiere of Notting Hill in 1999, where she was photographed waving enthusiastically at the crowds and baring her unshaven underarms. Upon seeing the photos, Morgan declared that "something inside [him] died".