When it comes to body hair , there are two types of women. The first would rather be hair-free by getting threaded, waxed, and even lasered—this is totally me by the way. The other is totally comfortable with her layer of fur and flaunts it for the world to see. I started getting waxed at a young age and have continued ever since. Although there is nothing wrong with hair removal, being confident in your natural state can be very empowering. On-screen, Julia Roberts plays roles of women you look up to. This works off-screen too. In she attended the premiere of her film Notting Hill. She wore a sparkly red dress and waved enthusiastically at fans while showing off her unshaven armpits.
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We might as well call it: We are fully living in the era of body hair. It sounds somewhat ridiculous to say, considering body hair didn't magically appear out of nowhere this year. And yet, shockingly, in beauty campaigns, on the red carpet, and social media, it really kind of did.
T hings have come a long way since , when the actor Julia Roberts hit headlines globally for wearing a dress that exposed her unshaven armpits. Brands are cottoning on, too. Last year, Nike and No7 ran advertisements with models showing body hair underarms and upper lip respectively. Even the ubiquitous advert trope of a woman shaving an already shaven leg was challenged by the razor company Billie, which had marketing collateral that showed underarm, leg and pubic hair. In real life, however, the sight of a woman in public with body hair remains rare, although norms are slowly changing almost one in four women under 25 no longer shave their armpits, compared with just one in 20 in , according to the market analyst Mintel. One campaign that is helping to continue this trend, and normalise body hair on women, is Januhairy , an initiative that encourages women to grow their body hair for the month of January and share images of themselves online. Started by students Laura Jackson and Ruby Jones in , the campaign hashtag has now attracted thousands of posts from women across the world. Laura Jackson was a student at Exeter University when she first grew out her body hair. It was May and she was working on a one-woman stage show she had written and would perform in. Girls are often introduced to depilatory products and techniques by relatives, borrowing razors and trying to imitate their mothers.
Au naturel may be French for as nature intended, but when applied to personal hygiene too often those two words just add up to fancy foreign longhand for "stinks". Sure, Julia Roberts may be passing on the Chanel No 5 and letting it all sprout out but, make no mistake, this is no assertion of her independence or her sexuality. Julia, we are told, is only obeying orders. Nothing quite rings his bell like a woman's natural growth and odours. Whether he applies the same rules to himself is unknown, but we can safely say that he probably smells heavily of soap since he admits to taking at least three showers a day. This is not a man with a balanced approach to grooming. I, like millions of other men, get by on a shave and a shower and we like our women to do the same. There is, of course, a whole load of politics surrounding shaving, but most women, at least among the fragrant sample I have come across, would also rather opt for a few pumps of the atomiser and swift strokes with the razor than let nature take its course. Nature, after all, can be a pretty brutish thing. From under-groomed armpits it is a short step to growing cabbage in the ears, spinach in the teeth and nits in the hair.