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10 Women Get Candid On Why They Stopped Shaving Their Body Hair

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Photo: Natalia Mantini / Refinery29 for Getty Images

There's still a stigma surrounding women and femme-identified folks who don't shave, but 2018 has seen a movement toward body hair-pride that's gaining momentum.

Peppered between #fitspirational post-workout pics and smoothie bowls, hair-proud pictures with hashtags like #bodyhair, #bodyhairdontcare, and #womenwithbodyhair are likely popping up on your Instagram feed. This summer, women's razor brand Billie aired an ad featuring actual body hair for the first time ever. (Seriously, ever). A hairy-pit picture of Julia Roberts from 1999 re-emerged on social feeds after Busy Philipps asked Roberts about the now-iconic Hollywood memory on her E! talk show, Busy Tonight. And other celebs like Halsey, Paris Jackson, Scout Willis, and Miley Cyrus have taken to the internet to give body hair some love, too.

What's the point? No, it's not just to save cash on razors. "By acknowledging and celebrating that all women have body hair and that some of us choose to wear it proudly, we can help stop body-shaming around hair, and have more real representations of real women," says Billie cofounder Georgina Gooley. (Sounds like another part of the body-positive movement that we can certainly get behind.)

With that in mind, below, 10 women with body hair pride IRL share why they don't remove their body hair anymore and how that choice has influenced their relationship with their bodies.

"It makes me feel beautiful, feminine, and strong."—Roxane S., 28

"I stopped removing my body hair when I was acting as a man in a play some years ago. I didn't mind the hair at all! Which made me realize I had been shaving because I felt pressured to. Occasionally people will make comments to pressure me to shave, but I haven't allowed it to influence me. I love my body hair and myself as I am. It makes me feel beautiful, feminine, and strong."

"I wanted to contribute less trash to the landfill."—Callee A., 25

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I’m booking zero waste related workshops over the next few months and would love to hear from you as to what type of workshop you’d want to attend! Here’s what I have in mind so far: How To Build A Worm Compost Bin How To Conduct A Trash Audit DIY Laundry Powder DIY Tooth Powder How To Buy From Bulk Bins DIY T-shirt Tote Bags How To Reduce Waste in ___ Area Zero Waste Gift Wrapping Any other ideas? And if you know of any schools, community centers, low-income organizations, ethical boutiques, farmers markets, etc in or around the Atlanta area that would be interested in hosting / sponsoring an event in the next few months, please let me know! If you’re somewhere else in the US and want me to do a workshop in your area, DM me! I might be able to work it into my 2019 travel plans, I’ll be all over the Western half of the country next year. #ahippieinavan . . . #zerowastelifestyle #zerowastehome #zerowastelife #plasticfree #wastefree #wastezero #zerowaste #goingzerowaste #consciousconsumer #votewithyourdollar #ecofriendlyproducts #ecofriendlyliving #zerowasteirl #zerowasteliving #zerowastevegan #zerowastejourney #planetorplastic #reducewhatyouproduce #reducereuserecycle #savetheplanet #plasticfreeliving #circularliving #wastenotwantnot #yayforearth #plasticfreeforthesea

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"I quit shaving my legs over six months ago because when I threw away my last plastic disposable razor, I didn't buy more because I'm trying to limit the amount of trash I send to the landfill. And I found that I love the time I save by not shaving my legs, plus the rebel in me enjoys going against the status quo."

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I remove my bikini hair but grow out my armpit hair. I’ve worked on organic farms and on Wall Street. I like to meditate but I love my explicitly lyriced hip hop I like to rough it while camping but I need a warm bath when I get home. I like my kale and I respect my peanut butter ice cream These different parts of me do not make me a poser, hypocritical, contradictory. They make me a human being: and a very multi faceted one at that. I give myself permission to be anything I need to be, whenever I need to be. Life’s too short to live it in a fortress of our own walls. Oh and the pits, I think they’re cute and I embrace every part of me. So yeah. Love it or leave it. #leefromamerica

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"I actually stopped removing my bikini and leg hair, so I'm currently going au naturel everywhere. It makes me feel so me... like I'm not trying to be somebody else. I feel sexier, more alive, and more confident in my skin than I did before when I was trying to box myself into society's expectations by shaving, waxing, etc.

It's not for everyone, and I don't necessarily preach armpit hair. Everybody should do what they want with their bodies. But not all have the privilege—I recognize it is a privilege for me to wear this hair in public without my safety at risk—though I do get judgment, criticism, mean comments, and I even lost 4,000 followers when I posted my body hair on Instagram. It just made me that much more sure that I was making the right decision to wear my body proudly, however it looks!" (Related: Why Body-Shaming Is Such a Big Problem—and What You Can Do to Stop It)

"To let the razor burn heal for good."—Tara E., 39

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I just finished listening to @jessicacaverlindholm talk about how important it is to Be You. So I thought I’d share a Random Fact... I had a different one in mind, but then saw this picture and realized I’ve never shared it because I’m still a little self-conscious about my #bodyhair when it comes to my business pics. ...Well, here it is! After decades of causing daily irritation to my underarms, I decided to let the rash heal. Why had I been doing this to myself? Did I think scabby armpits were sexier than hairy ones? I made the choice to love and accept my body as it is. These days, I opt for a buzz instead of a triple-blade shave. . #randomfun #aboutme #bodyhairdontcare #armpithair #hairyarmpits

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"After decades of causing daily irritation to my underarms from shaving my armpits, I decided to let the rash and razor burn heal. Why had I been doing this to myself? Did I think scabby armpits were sexier than hairy ones? I made the choice to love and accept my body as it is. Also, razor blades are expensive, so I've been enjoying saving money."

"Because body hair is natural."—Debbie A. 23

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"I stopped shaving my body hair because it is a part of who I am. Society has told women for so long that their hair is gross and improper. To me, it's natural and everyone has it, so why would I not love it? I'm a relatively low-key person and razors are a hassle, plus, I am susceptible to ingrown hairs which hurt...a lot. It's been years since I bought a razor—and my wallet, the earth, and my body thank me for it."

"To make a statement about beauty standards."—Jessa C., 22

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

@a_baum helped me wallpaper my bedroom with naked ladies. what a gal

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"Women are constantly being told to buy products and treatments that reinforce the belief that to be hairless is to be beautiful. We are told that our natural(ly hairy) bodies are not good enough. That's why it's important to me to fight for the right for women to grow out their body hair (or not!) and to be comfortable rocking their hair however they choose. For instance, I thread my eyebrows but don't wax my upper lip, pluck stray neck or chin hairs, or shave my underarms or legs.

At the end of the day, what we, as women, choose to do with our bodies is our choice. And if we choose to rock a little stache or hairy limbs or wax or shave it off once a week, that's for us to choose and not for society or opinionated folks to dictate. Through my body hair choices, I am hoping to slowly rid myself of the scared little girl inside of me who was taught to be terrified of someone noticing the extra hair on my body." (Related: Cassey Ho Created a Timeline of "Ideal Body Types" to Illustrate the Ridiculousness of Beauty Standards)

"I stopped shaving when I came out as queer."—Kori O., 28

"I started to grow out my body hair right around the time I came out to my friends and family as queer five years ago. Once I became comfortable with my sexuality, I started to become comfortable with my body and sense of self. I think being a queer woman of color and being comfortable with who I am is what I need to do. Younger impressionable people (like my 6-year-old sister) can now recognize that I am not like other women my age and that's OK! (And TBH, she's way more accepting of it than anyone else in my family!) I feel like a confident grown woman with my grown body hair."

"It started as a No-Shave November challenge."—Alexandra M., 23

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Suns out tongues out amirite?

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"I actually started growing it out for No-Shave November because I thought it would be fun. And, honestly, for me, it hasn't been easy. Once my hair got longer and thicker, I found myself wanting to shave it off every time I stepped into the shower. We are conditioned from a young age to see hairless and smooth as the standard, as what is beautiful, so I struggled. But I still haven't shaved because I want to confront the societal beauty standards that have been ingrained in me since I was young and change the way I see beauty in myself."

"It makes me feel self-assured."—Diandrea B., 24

"I haven't shaved in years because it makes me feel sexy, confident, and self-assured. It's that simple. Choosing not to shave can be a polarizing choice. My family has opinions about it (which they share) and so do some of my acquaintances from childhood—but this is a choice I can stand behind. And I won't date anyone who can't stand behind my choice with me (or who doesn't find my hair sexy, too)."

"Because it's my choice."—Alyssa, 29

"My body hair simply is. And, for me, that's the point: existing in my body, proudly. Whether I leave my hair be or get rid of it entirely, it's my choice. Having it, not having it, that doesn't change how I feel about my self-worth. Ultimately I care more about that than unrelentingly strict beauty standards."

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