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Vintage Leonardo DiCaprio family photo stirs debate over armpit hair

A photo of Leonardo DiCaprio as a child, being held up by his mom and dad, has created an online debate.
/ Source: TODAY

Weeks after winning his first and much-deserved Oscar, Leonardo DiCaprio continues to draw headlines, but not because of his work or even anything he said.

Instead, it's for a sweet throwback photo featuring DiCaprios as diapered toddler, being held up by proud, smiling parents.

In the 1976 picture, posted by the Facebook page History in Pictures just days after DiCaprio won his Academy Award, DiCaprio’s mom exposes an unshaven armpit as she raises one arm above her head to hold the hand of her little boy.

Shared by more than 13,500 people, the photo created a fierce online debate among commenters reacting to the armpit hair.

“Mom is even more hairy than Dad!” wrote Dan Hinken, whose comments were among the milder ones expressing displeasure.

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“I am sorry but the armpits are disgusting,” said Dee Dee Phillips-Valentino, who goes on to say “Come on everyone. We are woman (sic) and who doesn’t want to look pretty. And if you don’t shave you probably don’t shower and smell!”

Leonardo DiCaprio and his mother Irmelin DiCaprio, arriving on the red carpet of the 2014 Oscars.MIKE BLAKE / Reuters

Such opinions stirred rage from the other side, from individuals equally disgusted by anyone trying to shame a woman for going natural during an era when beauty norms expected it. Numerous people also pointed out that DiCaprio's parents used to be hippies.

"Pretty sure shaving pits wouldn’t have been high on their priority list and who cares anyway if she has hairy armpits? Armpits grow hair. Deal with it,” said Crystal Pike.

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Others expressed disappointment that the debate over armpit hair has taken away the photo's meaning.

“Funny how people lose focus of why this picture was posted and instead enjoy bashing a woman with confidence that poses with joy while caring her son next to her husband !! People are so ignorant, sad but true!!!" Mari Campos wrote.

DiCaprio, who frequently takes his parents as dates to the Oscars and Golden Globes, has spoken often about his counterculture childhood. In a 2002 interview with Barbara Walters for 20/20, he described his parents as "Bohemian in every sense of the word."