Model and new spokesperson for hair care line Kérastase, Emily Ratajkowski, celebrated her latest win the way all good millennials do: with a post to Instagram. But the caption that accompanied the sultry black and white snap of Ratajkowski has been deemed insensitive by a slew of commenters and onlookers, this writer included.
“Hair is a fundamental part of beauty, femininity, and identity. So excited to announce that I am the new face of @kerastase_official!” she first wrote.
Surely this message was posted with good intentions, but not everyone is fortunate enough to have a thick wavy mane a la Ratajkowski, and beauty goes far beyond appearance.
Women can lose their hair for several reasons, including stress, chemotherapy, androgenetic alopecia (female pattern baldness) and hormonal imbalances like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), the latter of which I have. PCOS has a laundry list of symptoms, including insulin resistance, infertility, and, yup, hair loss.
As someone who’s been battling dispersed hair loss from this hormonal imbalance, I’m not offended by Ratajkowski’s caption, but I am disappointed. This is an A-list celeb with a huge reach — many of her followers, young and impressionable (though many middle-aged white men without a clue, from what I can tell, too) — and here she is, perpetuating beauty ideals as something strictly related to physical appearance.
“Hair has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with beauty – beauty comes from within, strength & intelligence,” @cuhstanza wrote.
“I lost all my hair to chemotherapy a few years ago. Hair does NOT make you beautiful. This is so narrow minded and disrespectful to people who are and have lost their hair and had no choice due to illness,” added @jessediamondd.
“So Shallow!!! Open your eyes and look around! So many Stunning, Gorgeous Woman/Girls and Men out there without hair……. and you call hair “Fundamental to Beauty” I will Never use any hair product you endorse!!!!” @chrissystar echoed the sentiment.
Ratajkowski has since revised the caption to reflect a more encompassing message:
Kérastase also apologized from its official account on Ratajkowski’s Instagram post.
“We are deeply sorry about that, we didn’t want to cause any harm to anyone with the caption. Of course beauty is not defined by your hair, beauty is something more spiritual, beauty is an attitude coming from the inside of each of us,” the brand wrote.
Ratajkowski’s revised caption is certainly more appropriate, but what is a “good hair day” anyway? Sometimes you just wake up feeling more confident, regardless of what’s happening on your head. Whether I like it or not, my thinning hair has made me realize that it’s not a “fundamental part” of what defines my beauty, femininity or identity, but my attitude and outlook is.