ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

It's Not So Scary Being Hairy

Updated on April 30, 2019
profile image

Phoebe (performer) wields art to fight for positive change and harmony in the world. Phoebe currently exposes and explores "taboo" issues.


A brief hair-story

Over the years, the acceptance of hair on women has fluctuated. The fashion industry launched marketing campaignsfrom the early 1900s that encouraged women to remove 'objectionable' body hair, namely their armpits, legs and pubic hair. There are now multiple ways in which women can remove their hair, including razors, wax strips, creams, epilators and laser hair removal.

What with social conditioning and the media depicting unrealistic beauty standards for women, it is unsurprising that so many women remove their naturally growing body hair for fear that keeping it somehow makes them less ladylike or feminine. Mintel's study in 2017 showed that 77% of women aged 16-24 remove their underarm hair and 85% remove leg hair. This is a smaller percentage than previous years, but still the majority of the younger female population are getting rid of their body hair. In the last couple of years, there has been a definite increase in body positivity and women defiantly growing their body hair, but it shouldn't be a political act to let nature do its job and there is still a very apparent stigma around the issue of body hair on women.

Bravin' unshaven

I was 14 years old when a male friend made a pointed remark about the hair on my thighs. I felt humiliated and vowed from there on to shave everything from the eyebrows down. I used to take forever in the shower, desperately trying to rid my body of its natural blanket. Despite my hardest efforts, I often missed a patch of hair and I was guaranteed to have a healthy layer of stubble coating my legs the next day. I felt inadequate for not being able to maintain smooth skin, which is ridiculous as femininity shouldn't be defined by the texture of skin.

I decided to stop shaving in January 2018. I can't remember there being an exact moment when I knew that's what I wanted to do. It was a general progression as I started to actively fight against societal pressures and tried to learn to accept and love my natural body. Some of my friends had stopped shaving and I tried to surround myself with body positive messages on social media as inspiration.

My hair was a beautiful accessory

It was difficult in the beginning because I wasn't used to being hairy. An unshaven woman is something that is rarely if ever shown or celebrated in the media. Instead, I was met with adverts for razors boasting that 'the smoother the skin the more comfortable you are in it' (Gillette Venus UK 2018). I found I felt the absolute opposite – the more my hair grew and I defied 'normal' beauty standards, the more accepting I was of my body and the more comfortable I felt in my own skin.

I made sure I never altered the way I dressed to try and hide my hair, instead I flaunted it. It was empowering to be unashamedly me. (Plus the rebel in me was clapping her hands in glee as it felt like I was breaking the rules #fightthepatriachy.)

To be honest, nobody really noticed unless I pointed it out. When I did, it was my female friends who were more shocked. Men didn't really care and if anything found it more attractive that I was taking ownership of my natural body. Women were supportive of my decision but expressed concerns about braving the unshaven look themselves because they felt uncomfortable, unclean, not confident or thought their hair was too dark to be beautiful.

I am a redhead so my hair is quite fair and am lucky that it is such a rich colour; I liked looking down at my hairy legs because I felt my auburn fur was a beautiful accessory. However it is time to bust some myths. I never once felt I was more dirty or smelly, even on the searing hot days we had last year. Hair grows on our bodies to try and prevent bacteria getting in and infecting or damaging us, so if anything I was probably cleaner during this period.

Hair-ving a nightmare

This wasn't completely without its challenges. I'd previously used hair removal cream a couple of times above my lip and on my chin. Unfortunately, when you do this it is more likely your hair will appear darker when it grows back which is what happened to me. Even though I embraced my body hair, I couldn't get to grips with the darker hair protruding from my chin. I also didn't realise until very recently that other women grow hair around their nipples. So whilst last year I let my razor collect dust in a drawer somewhere, I still plucked my areola and my chin.

This is a reflection of my own lack of self confidence, as I removed the hair out of shame and fear of my appearance being unacceptable. When it comes to removing body hair, we must make sure we have the right intentions behind the action and aren't doing it because we feel pressured or obliged to do so, or influenced by anyone else's ideas, decisions or will. We must only make changes and alterations to our bodies if we want to do it.

My advice

I would recommend everyone trying to grow their hair for a little longer than they would normally feel comfortable. This could be waiting an extra month or even couple of weeks before removing body hair, or focusing on one specific area to allow to grow out. I know there can be an itchy stage when hair starts to regrow but this doesn't last that long and moisturising usually helps to counteract the effects. I would also discourage permanently removing any body hair because forever is an unchangeable amount of time and no matter how certain you are right now that you don't want to keep your body hair, you truly do not know how you will feel in the future.

And now...

I recently had to shave my legs for an acting part. I initially fought this decision for a long time, but eventually agreed that for various reasons it was the right thing to do. After filming was over, I let my hair grow out again. Now, I can choose whether I want to grow my hair or get rid of it. I still don't shave my armpits and sometimes shave my legs because despite everything I've said it feels wonderful to stroke freshly shaved legs!

I like the freedom this decision has given me – I feel in charge of my body and my decisions, plus I save money on expensive hair removal products and don't have to ever worry about the panic shave before a last minute event or date because I just don't care anymore. I still have a way to go to be completely unapologetic about my appearance and my body hair. I feel this is a leap in the right direction to overthrowing unrealistic beauty standards and loving my own body. I won't be on this earth in any other skin so I'm trying not to waste any time being held back by the way I look.

© 2019 Phoebe Hopwood


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Doneta Wrate profile image

      Doneta Wrate 

      24 months ago from Michigan

      I am mostly in agreement


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)