The myth that women are born and remain in a permanent childlike state of hairlessness is perpetuated by the media and bizarrely enough, feminine hygiene brands. It seems to be the razor industry’s worst kept secret – that women do actually have body hair too.
Feminine hygiene market leader Bodyform made headlines last year when it became the first brand in the UK to depict period blood as red rather than blue. The TV advert, promoting its new sanitary pads, received widespread praise for beginning to de-stigmatise menstrual blood with the #bloodnormal and slogan ‘Periods are normal. Showing them should be too’.
US razor subscription brand Billie has this week launched Project Body Hair, ‘a celebration of female body hair wherever it is or isn’t’. Perhaps surprisingly, the campaign is the first for razors to show women with body hair. The parallels with Bodyform’s ad campaign are clear. Feminine razor adverts routinely show women ‘shaving’ smooth hairless legs. No wonder we often feel pressured to pluck, wax and shave to within an inch of our lives. Much like periods, body hair has been airbrushed out of the public discourse. These are important first steps in breaking taboos around the female body and societal pressure for perfection. It is perhaps testament to the strength of fourth wave feminism in the Trump and #metoo era that campaigns are finally beginning to portray a more realistic version of the female body – stubble and all. Whilst it has garnered criticism in the Twittersphere for not going far enough (in depicting unrealistically thin and wispy body hair), the campaign is certainly a step in the right direction. Billie, we applaud you. More campaigns showing real women please!
You can watch the Bodyform TV ad campaign here.