(And so can you)
When I was ten years old, a boy in my class turned to me and out of the blue told me “your arms are hairier than my Dad’s!”
He probably didn’t think about it twice, but this one comment sparked a deep insecurity in me for years to come.
I have thick, dark hair, which is something I now embrace – but back then, I was ashamed of having noticeable hair anywhere but my head. In my early teens I would sit and trim my arm hair with nail scissors as I watched TV. I bleached my arm hair a few times, and my stomach hair. When that wasn’t effective enough, I turned to hair removal cream.
I felt disgusted by my body hair – I thought I would never have a boyfriend, because who would want to date a girl with a snail trail? I envied my friends who would happily sunbathe with their bellies out, and go swimming in a bikini.
When I was 15 I got caught in the middle of a discussion about how ‘gross’ it was for girls to have pubic hair. I nodded and expressed my disgust with my friends, as I stood with an untouched bush in my knickers. That day I went home and shaved it all off. I didn’t know what I was doing. It hurt and I bled.
But at least I wasn’t hairy, right?
Your vulva is as beautiful as anyone else’s. There is so much natural variation in how labia look: they can be long, tiny, thick, wavy, flappy, asymmetrical, curvy – and there is only one like you. Stop comparing yourself with others. Appreciate the natural body you have, because you are beautiful in your own unique way. Let’s celebrate our diversity, instead of comparing and pointing at each other’s flaws. We are beautiful. We are awesome! 🙌🏻 Love yourself, and love your vulva, just the way it is 💕✨#thevulvagallery #vulvas #vulvaart #vulvalove #bodypositive #bodypositivity #empowerment #genderinclusivity #transinclusivefeminism #positivity #watercolorillustration #bodylove #selflove #loveyourself #hildeatalanta
My mum always told me I shouldn’t worry – it was up to me what I do with my body hair, and I shouldn’t have to shave if I didn’t want to. How I wish I had listened to her.
Ten years ago that boy in my class unknowingly changed the way I saw my body. It took time and (ironically) growth, for me to realise that my body hair is not disgusting or dirty or wrong. But I got there in the end!
Now I’m 20, and I wear crop tops and bikinis and go out with unshaved legs. I choose what, and when, I shave. My boyfriend loves my tummy, hair and all. I’m not the most confident person in the world but I’ve certainly come a long way; and most importantly I know that my body is my body – and no one else’s opinion matters.
So, if you too are struggling with embracing your body hair, I’ve listed some things to help you see it in a positive light:
💇 Perspective is important – remember this is just hair, and literally everyone has it.
👱 Surround yourself with accepting, positive people who don’t make you feel like you need to change your body. You don’t need to change how you look to please other people, and anyone who makes you feel bad about having body hair isn’t worth your time.
👴 Follow body positive accounts on social media! We constantly consume media that showcases one totally hairless body type, and says that that’s the body you should desire. But this isn’t true – following women who embrace their body hair has had such a positive impact on my mind. The accounts embedded here are a great place to start, and there are lots of other places you can find varied and diverse bodies.
You may want to remove your body hair because it’s your personal preference – and that’s fine! But whether you decide to go completely bare or totally natural, make those choices because they are what you want, and they make you feel good. Your body = your choices. And remember: however you wear your hair, you look GREAT today.