10 Women Get Candid About Why They Stopped Shaving Their Body Hair
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 felt liberated and more confident in myself."-Laura J.
"I grew out my body hair for a performance as part of my drama degree in May 2018. There had been some parts that were challenging for me, and others that really opened my eyes to the taboo of body hair on a woman. After a few weeks of getting used to it, I started to like my natural hair. I also started to like the lack of uncomfortable episodes of shaving. Though I felt liberated and more confident in myself, some people around me didn't understand why I didn't shave/didn't agree with it. I realised that there is still so much more for us to do to be able to accept one another fully and truly. Then I thought of Januhairy and thought I would try it out.
I have had a lot of support from my friends and family! Even though I had to explain why I was doing it to a lot of them which was surprising, and again, the reason why this is important to do! When I first started growing my body hair my mum asked me "Is it you just being lazy or are you trying to prove a point?" ... why should we be called lazy if we don't want to shave? And why do we have to be proving a point? After talking to her about it and helping her understand, she saw how weird it was that she asked those questions. If we do something/see the same things, over and over again it becomes normal. She is now going to join in with Januhairy and grow out her own body hair which is a big challenge for her as well as many women who are getting involved. Of course a good challenge! This isn't an angry campaign for people who don't see how normal body hair is, but more an empowering project for everyone to understand more about their views on themselves and others."
"It helps me feel sexier and more alive."-Lee T., 28
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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."