Hair removal for women has always seemed like a taboo subject.
None of us particularly enjoy talking about it. It seems a little too personal. But if you’re an active member of any form of social media, you’ve probably heard of the new feminist movement – going hair removal free.
I caught wind of the hair removal situation a couple of months ago on Facebook, after stumbling upon Ben Hopper’s ‘Natural Beauty Project’. The project consists of black and white portraits of real women, with fresh faces and an intriguing air of power, boldly embracing the hair on their underarms.
My initial reaction was shock – that women actually did that. Then it dawned on me; why shouldn’t they? And why is this so shocking to me? All our lives us women are told that we should have smooth legs, no underarm hair, and certainly not any facial hair. But why? Surely it shouldn’t matter that much. The ‘Natural Beauty Project’ pokes fun at the fashion industry. The portraits are taken in a similar way to fashion photography, and suggest an irony in the way we see natural beauty. Hopper’s main goal in the project is to break the stereotype that real women must shave.
Most of us consider a clean face, a nice tan, or silky hair as naturally beautiful. When we see images on the front of fashion magazines nobody ever questions whether or not the model’s eyebrows have been plucked and their underarms waxed. But, if you really think about it, plucking your brows isn’t all that natural. It’s the total opposite.
As a feminist who quite happily picks up her razor, I must admit that this whole ordeal is slightly bizarre to me. I’d never considered shaving to be such a controversy. But, thinking about it, I suppose women are practically programmed to do it. Shaved legs are the only kind of legs you ever see – in the media and in life.
Never before had I thought of shaving as a statement. But, I suppose it is now. Fashion reflects the movements of the times, and right now there’s a huge feminist movement going on. Something tells me that this isn’t the last we’ve heard from female body hair, especially in fashion.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Is hair removal a thing of the past? Or are you going to stick with the razors?