Madonna's Hairy High School Years

Madonna used an interesting method to keep the boys at bay in high school: Hairy armpits.

Madonna’s Hairy High School Years

Madonna used an interesting method to keep the boys at bay in high school: Hairy armpits.

-Lucia Peters


It may be difficult to separate Madonna from sex these days—after all, she did literally write the book on the subject—but apparently, her formative years were pretty sexless. Not that she wasn’t aware of sexual politics (au contraire!) but in a new interview in Harper’s Bazaar, the Material Not-Quite-Girl revealed some pretty interesting facts about her early life.

Madonna’s mother died of breast cancer when she was five, so she was brought up without a mother in an extremely Catholic-Italian family in the Midwest. The singer recalled, “[I saw that] my brothers could do what they wanted but the girls were always told that they needed to dress a certain way, act a certain way. We were told to wear our skirts to our knees, turtlenecks, cover ourselves and not wear makeup, and not do anything that would draw attention.” She remembered her father’s favorite saying: “If there were more virgins, the world would be a better place.” I wonder what he thought of “Like a Virgin” when it came out?

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Anyway, you can imagine how difficult it must have been once Madonna made it to high school. Building off of her earlier observations, she now say “how popular girls had to behave to get the boys.” Since she knew she couldn’t fit into that, she went the rebel route: “I decided to do the opposite. I refused to wear makeup, to have a hairstyle. I refused to shave. I had hairy armpits.” Well, that’s one way to keep the boys at bay. So what did said boys do in response? They called her names. “Hairy monster” was a favorite. Aren’t high school boys so wonderfully mature?

As weird as Madonna can sometimes be, you’ve got to give her credit for not bowing to societal pressure, especially at such a young age. And hey, it pays to be comfortable with yourself, especially if you’re going to work in the entertainment industry. If No-Shave November had been a thing when Madonna was a teenager, I’m sure she would have loved it!

Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.

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