Have you ever looked at a shaving commercial and wonder why do all the women’s legs in those ads always look freshly shaved? What is the point of advertising razor blades if you’re not going to show a woman with hairy legs actually shaving?
I’ve always thought that ads like those are designed to make people who have body hair feel like they don’t belong within the framework of what society defines as being beautiful, but luckily for people like me, it looks like that’s about to change.
According to a recent feature on HelloGiggles.com, Billie, a woman focused body brand have just launched a stunning ad campaign that showcases women with actual hair on their legs, and under their armpits shaving.
Lourdes Avila Uribe from HelloGiggles reports that the subversive video campaign is designed to not only show a wide variety of women – of different body types – shaving, not only busting the myth that only women with tall and super sleek legs shave, but showing women with various stages of body hair growth.
How cool is that?
Oh and on top of that, Lourdes adds that Billie is taking things one step further by donating some of the photography of the shoot to stock photo site, Unsplash to help diversify their photography portfolio.
Watch the amazing video below:
The thing about body hair is that I’ve never really felt comfortable talking about it because it has always brought back so many memories of being targeted by school bullies for something that I couldn’t really help.
I try not to think of myself as a hairy beast per se, but it’s hard not to be self-conscious about your hirsuteness when you’ve earned the nickname “hairy worm” during your primary school years.
Perception is a funny thing, isn’t it?
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It’s years later and I still am haunted by the childish cruelty that formed a huge part of my formative years. The shame I felt back then has hounded me into my adult years, and to this day, I still find myself unable to wear a dress – regardless of how much I really want to.
To get back to my point about perception, the thing is that my body hair count is probably not as bad as my brain believes it to be – but that doesn’t stop me from thinking that I’m King Kong’s female counterpart.
It also doesn’t help that I have a relatively light skin complexion (my legs more so than the rest of me because I avoid showing them), so on top of being labelled hairy worm, I’ve also been mocked for that.
Even more reason to not even want to wear shorts to the beach. Or anywhere else.
I shave often. I shave usually because I have to and because I feel pressured into presenting an image that society considers normal. I shave because I loathe my hair and I shave because not doing so makes me feel that I need to apologise for having body hair.
Most of all, I shave because I’ve been taught to believe that having body hair is something that women should be ashamed of.
Intellectually I know this is utter hogwash, but all those years of being mocked has simply cemented my belief that I should cover up what people considered an unsightly flaw.
Do you want to know something ironic?
READ MORE: Here’s why I decided to grow out my leg, underarm and pubic hair
Even when I shave, I still don’t show off my legs. Makes you wonder why I even bother, right?
I mean I’d have laser hair removal surgery if I was able to, but a) I can’t afford it and b) doing so would seem like I’m giving into the idea of achieving a perfectionist ideal I wouldn’t even feel comfortable with.
And fixing something on the outside doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve closed the gap on the inside.
After all, a complex is a complex, and undoing the thought process of believing that the only beautiful body is a hair-free one is much harder than simply shaving to trick yourself into believing that your hair won’t grow back.
I’m all for people who make the decision to go completely hairless. The aim of this column is not to shame or make people who choose to remove their body hair feel bad. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I’m envious of people who don’t need to shave because their skin is naturally smooth.
Remember that time when Julia Roberts didn’t shave and people thought they were clever with headlines like “Pitty woman?” It’s a classic example of people demonising someone because they either forgot to shave or just simply didn’t bother and assume they are therefore unhygienic and lazy because they’re not taking care of their appearance.
Here’s the thing: Having body hair does not mean you’re dirty and unkempt. This is a mantra I’ve had to learn to recite to myself – and it’s one I’m still learning to this day.
Yes, magazine covers and spreads will show us an ideal of beautiful cover girls who almost always look amazing on each cover. And power to them for showing that kind of beauty, but surely one kind of beauty can co-exist with another?
Or perhaps this is too much of revolutionary idea?
READ MORE: Mom who was bullied for having a unibrow now embraces her look
Most marketing and ad companies still seem to think so (although kudos Billie for now boldly defying this concept and showing that shaving or not shaving, women are beautiful either way).
This could explain why we’re still surprised and sometimes even outraged when we see people who defy the conventions of what society considers ideal making waves all over social media.
Those outraged feel threatened that things that are considered normal are now going to disappear because we’re giving airtime to people who are “breaking the rules of standard convention.”
But we’re not asking to take up space, we’re simply asking for acceptance. Maybe one day I’ll be brave to bare my legs (shaven or not) to the public, but until then, I’ll keeping wearing leggings with my tunics.
In the meantime, I certainly hope that there will be more brands that follow in Billie’s footsteps because it goes a hell of a long way in breaking down preconceived notions of what beauty is “supposed” to look like.