Body Hair Don’t Care

Almost a year into my current long-term relationship, my boyfriend decided to study abroad for most of the summer. We had constructed a positive relationship and although we were both excited for his new adventure, I was sad to see him gone for so long. Without thinking about it, I stopped shaving my legs. As I was walking on Eastern Parkway to work one morning, I could feel my leg hairs blowing in the wind. It was then that I realized it had been about a month since I shaved, and how wonderful that sensation felt. I started to ask myself why I even shaved in the first place, and had no good answer. Honestly, I hate shaving and have incredibly sensitive skin, so special razors, creams, and lotions were a necessity that become quite expensive.

My boyfriend and I kept in good contact and he did not seem phased at all when I told him. We are both body positive and accepting of natural body characteristics, like hair, so I assumed he would not care. And if he did, it would be hypocritical because he is literally covered from head to toe in hair. Which I find quite attractive, by the way. When he returned to New York City and we were intimate again, he still did not care.

sigler_legs

It was about a year later when I finally stopped shaving my armpits. Antiperspirants do not work on me and I had a non-cancerous lump removed from my breast when I was a teenager, so I stopped using the products years ago. The only reason my armpits were kept smooth was because I thought it made me sweat less. On a whim, I started growing my pit hair out again to see what would happen. It turns out, it looks pretty badass and I sweat about the same amount. Again, with this new hair style, my boyfriend did not mind. He seemed to enjoy it.

While I changed the larger hair regions of my body, the hair on my head and my pubic hair style stayed the same. My head of hair is curly and fierce, so it is easier to keep it long and let it do it’s thing. The public hair surrounding my cunt is kept well trimmed to make penetration more comfortable. Bushy and cushiony, but at a not-to-long-length to prevent pulling. I absolutely hate when any of my hair is pulled so I keep all of it at particular lengths. This pubic hairstyle has never been a problem for my current or past partners and in fact has been very well accepted. I heard the same comment from various men, stating that they prefer women to have more pubic hair on their cunts. Women, on the other hand, are usually weirded out by this choice.

Negative criticism regarding my hairstyles, has come from mostly women. Surprisingly, when men are awkward about seeing, usually my armpit hair first, they just stare and do not say much. Women, on the other hand, have made unhygienic comments or disgusted faces. This surprised me into thinking that maybe women are more brainwashed than men about societal standards for body hair grooming.

My stance has always been to do what you want with your body, as long as you are happy with it and not just attempting to please someone else. It is your body and you should be happy living in it, hairless or not.

Sweet D

 

 

Advertisements

Aisha Mirza -Fuck me or Destroy Me

2016-09-23-1

Aisha Mirza is an artist, writer and activist who’s expansive work looks at issues around body hair, race, queerness and mental health. Her short film Fuck Me or Destroy Me follows the striking Harnaam Kaur as she walks around the streets of London.

Words about the short-film by creator and directer Aisha Mirza  “I suppose at the heart of this film is an exploration of western body hair norms – how strange and oppressive they are, particularly for queer and trans people of colour whose bodies are already targeted, examined and laid thick with expectation from so many places. I am interested in how we all find moments of agency in this mess and in the false liberation of Harnaam Kaur. How she works so hard to reject and restructure societal oppression, and is defined by her otherness. How her extraordinary personhood is so informed by something that never should have been extraordinary. How her story is imagined for the white gaze. How she feels when everyone is looking. How she feels when no-one is looking. How she looks back.”

Watch the  video here Fuck Me or Destroy Me feat Harnaam Kaur as unfortunately I could not embed the video.

2016-09-23-2

 

Sarah Hester – Naked in the Woods

dsc_5517

This incredible photography project by Sarah Hester brought women together in a raw and candid way to unleash their inner Goddess and be shot Naked in the Woods.
I came across some of her photographs and the brutally honest and heartfelt accounts spoken about the experience, and felt it had to be shared (with permission!)

The following extracts are copied from her blog —

“I approached a local group about doing a shoot naked in the woods. I made it clear that there wouldn’t be makeup or clothes or any editing done to their bodies.  The idea was well received. VERY well received. Within a few days I had a group of nearly 100 willing to participate in the project. My visions for the project was to show what people really look like. To show how beautiful our bodies are without help from cosmetics or photoshop. Real life. Gritty and raw.

As the days counted down to the event the group numbers dwindled. We ended up with 16 amazing mothers who gathered in the woods for an all naked shoot. What I witnessed that day was wonderful, inspiring and absolutely beautiful! Here are some of the images and a few quotes from the those that participated.” SH

 “Following along with a bit of my own reflections from yesterday. Body positivity didn’t become an active part of my life journey until motherhood. I wish I can say I implemented it successfully, but much of it has been trial and error met with pain and reluctant growth. In the last decade, my body has grown five little humans; endured the waves of fad diets, over exercising, and exhaustion; overcome the physical symptoms of mental, emotional, and sexual abuse; and, continues to adapt from the misconceptions of societal expectations and postpartum hormones. Being human is difficult, but raising humans is the most stressful, overwhelming, selfless yet equally rewarding part of existence. Somewhere along the path I realized that in all my effort to give my children a positive body image, I had forgotten how to love myself and provide the ultimate example. The thought of being naked in the woods with other women immediately spoke to my soul and brought much excitement, but on this day, life got hard. My ability to cope faded fast, and the day I had been looking forward to became an effort that I wasn’t sure I could acquire. In an emotional state of isolation, I could have easily stayed home but something pulled my spirit to my tribe; a place where social anxiety couldn’t survive and my soul was instantly recharged. It was an oddy natural experience that made me embrace who I am and give myself in ways that made me happy. My body has been put through the wringer, my mental and emotional health has been a battle, but I can truly say this experience affirms I’m happy and comfortable as I am, in my body. This life journey is a continuous strive for understanding and growth. Being amongst so many beautifully fierce and passionate women ignited hope that one day my physical appearance will not only be a positive representation of how I feel about myself, but my ability to care for myself as well as I care for others. Until then, thank you all for reminding me what it means to love and be raw without any inhibitions in every season of life.” – D

“Yesterday was the first time I’ve truly begun to love my postpartum body. I had come to be comfortable with self hatred which is why I was OK with doing this. (Doesn’t make sense, I know… But it was my reasoning.) While I know that I have room to improve my health, I am now pursuing health because I love my body and not because I hate it. Thank you all for sharing your vulnerability and making this happen. You all have inspired me with your confidence and the support you offer your fellow beings. Thanks especially to Sarah and her helpers for their time and effort to put this together for us. My life is changed because of you!” – A

“I love everyone, and I love all bodies. I am fairly comfortable with every body type! I have touched over 550 naked (or nearly naked) people in the last year because of my job. One thing that my job as a massage therapist has taught me is that: our bodies are all beautiful because they sustain our life, and house our souls. Even though we all look so very different we are all kinda the same! I hope this photoshoot goes insane viral, because I want all the people around the world to know what women look like. Real women, raw, untouched, and beautiful! I am so happy to have had this opportunity to do this with you all!” – B

“I’m a ball of emotions today. The photo shoot was lovely and everything I had hoped it would be. I’m so honored to have stood next to such sweet, loving, fierce, empowered people. And of course, Sarah has done an amazing job with the photos.
I’m going to be very honest and tell you that I’m so unhappy with how I look right now. Partially, I was unaware at how much weight I’ve gained. I’m actually shocked at what I look like. Having 2 babies in 2 years at 35&37 has taken a toll on me but I didn’t realize I allowed myself to gain so much weight. I don’t weigh myself and l haven’t had a full length mirror in over a year. I’m glad I did the shoot, but mad at myself for not taking better care of my body. I’ve given my kids and family all of myself and failed to save a piece for me.
Seeing all of this has made me sad, but also angry/determined to change things. I turn 40 in a few months and do not want to drag this weight into a new decade with me. So, thank you for the beauty of last night but also, the awareness to be healthy for myself again. 💜” – D

“All my life I was skinny, like I couldn’t even given blood in high school blood drives because I didn’t weigh enough and was a part of the itty bitty titty committee. Guys were always easier to talk to and hang out with cause I knew I wasn’t going to judged. I wanted to gain weight and have bigger boobs. I work at a pool during the summers and would literally eat snickers and Cheetos with nacho cheese all day long. Nothing.
When I got pregnant with my son, I gained over 40 pounds. I was bigger than I ever was and I don’t want to be. However, I gained 1 stretch mark on my tummy and all the rest on my boobs. They were huge! I went from a small B to a large DD. We struggled at the beginning of our breastfeeding journey but eventually made it to 15 months. I lost 30 pounds and was ok but not ok with my body. I learned to live with it.
Between the years of having my son and getting pregnant with my daughter, I lost a baby each year. The first was unsuspecting to us and I honestly wasn’t ready to have 2 under 2. Then I lost the baby and it hurt and hurt to have to re-tell everyone. There was no explanation as to why. That is when I very slowly started my journey to being healthier. The next year my husband and I took a motorcycle ride with friends. On our way home we had a wreck. He purposely threw me from the bike so I wouldn’t get hurt any worse. I ended up in a thorn bush and had blacked out. A week later I found out I was pregnant. This time we were ready, but because of the previous year we didn’t tell anyone. Two weeks later, I was going through a miscarriage. I literally hurt and my husband hurt worse than I because we both knew it was because of the motorcycle accident. I to ease my mind I trained and ran 2 5k runs. It helped so much. For the first time in my life I began to love to just run or walk.
The next year I became pregnant with my rainbow baby. I vowed to myself to not gain so much because I wanted to be healthier and more fit. I succeeded, I only gained 19.5 pounds. We were both happy and healthy. Through the next 2 years I was happy and learning to love that my body was ok and housed 4 humans even if for a short time. Then, I started to not feel like myself. I started gaining weight, I was tired, I was sad, I was depressed, i began hating how I looked again. I was nothing that was the normal for me. I finally went to a doctor and found out I had an autoimmune thyroid disease. It’s been a long year of healing and changing everything.
I am still not completely happy with my body and I was even more nervous for this photo shoot with a bunch of other women. Women scare me, because I know how judgey they can be. I was late getting to the location and when I walked up everyone was naked already. I thought I made a mistake, I was nervous but I pushed through it and quietly took my clothes off and sat down trying not to make a scene. My confidences was stripped with my clothes, but by the end of the shoot I had gained it back and was inspired to see how everyone was exuding confidence as if nothing was wrong. Thank you all!” – S

“I am not entirely sure how to start this out.. I have written, erased, and rewritten my words over and over and every time they still feel clumsy and rambling, but nevertheless- here we go!
When I saw Sarah post about this project I felt an immediate calling to be a part of it. I’m not sure where this urge came from because I am pretty much a hermit, my social anxiety makes me feel awkward and out of place in basically every situation, so I usually avoid group outings at any cost! In addition to that, I have not been at all happy or comfortable in my skin since I gave birth to my daughter in 2010. Before getting pregnant I was in decent shape, I danced ballet for many years as a child and into early adulthood. When I stopped dancing I had somewhat maintained my body- though I was completely unhealthy in my habits. These unhealthy habits, coupled with pregnancy depression caused a 100+ pound weight gain. My new body never felt right to me, I was completely uncomfortable with the marsupial pouch and pendulous breasts I developed. My body didn’t ‘bounce back’ because even after 6 years, and another baby, I never lost the original baby weight. Even before the weight gain I have never really had a positive body image so one can imagine what an extra 100 pounds did for my self esteem. Instead of looking at the miracles my body had created, and nourished, all I could see was the industry standard ‘fat, and ugly.’ I have started the slow and steady journey to get healthy in body- but most importantly in my mind. I think that is the main reason I wanted to do this project- I need to start being my loudest cheerleader, instead of my worst critic.
I’m not sure what I expected to get out of this experience. Half of me was filled with excitement, and the other half was completely terrified of the idea. I spoke with my family about it and received surprisingly positive feedback. I began to evaluate my insecurities. I worried about seeing the juxtaposition of my shape next to women way more beautiful.. I didn’t expect to feel like Cinderella, suddenly transformed into a beautiful butterfly.. But I hoped that seeing the differences and similarities might help me, and other women, stop being so critical. When I look at other women I always see their beauty- why can’t I look at myself in the same light?
Now having participated I can’t say that I am in love with my current form, but having interacted with so many women it has helped tremendously for me to see we all have essentially the same insecurities. Seeing women, who in my eyes are amazingly gorgeous, and hearing they are uncomfortable or unhappy with parts of themselves too has helped me realize that I am not alone and to come to terms with my own unrealistic and self depreciating feelings.
I’m a work in progress, and I am taking steps to be healthy, and lose weight in the process. I’m immensely proud of being able to push passed my insecurities, push passed my intense social anxiety, and let myself be completely vulnerable in front of so many strangers. This has helped me be able to see myself as (I hope) others might- not with criticism, but with love and appreciation.” – K

dsc_5633

This adventure has really inspired us at PN and we are so thrilled to share it with you. Please check out Sarah’s website to see her beautiful photography and more shots from this awe-inspiring series. A Body Positive Experience

Frances Cannon – illustrator and SELF LOVE CLUB innovator

Frances Cannon is shaking up Instagram with her illustrations that advocate positive vibes and self-love in a down to earth and relatable fashion. Her work looks at the female body and relationships with a strong message around our personal worth and respect.

Her simple and delicate drawings make the important and compelling point that we should love and respect ourselves, our bodies and each other – with messages such as “you are enough” and “I am complete” (things that we don’t always believe in and sometimes need reminding of!) It is so important that there are artists out there that create art that people can relate to and find solace in the fact that, yeah sometimes we feel shit but we are capable and we have a support network around us.

I particularly love her development of the SELF LOVE CLUB

CLUB RULES (words by Frances)

  • You must always show yourself respect, love, forgiveness and understanding
  • You must show each other respect, love, forgiveness and understanding
  • You must be kind to your body and you must take care of your mental health

I wholeheartedly agree with these simple yet potent rules and here at Project Naked we stand by her principles – a little bit of self-love goes a long way!

So here are some of her sweet as illustrations (shared with permission) and give her a follow on Instagram @frances_cannon for some daily positive vibes. Oh and P.S!!! You can get one of her designs as a tattoo !! —> http://francescannon.bigcartel.com/category/tattoo-ticket

acceptance-copydazed-4dazed3eyemag8

Radical Bodies

radicalcuteness

The embroidery series Radical Bodies is taking up the issue of beauty ideal in modern society.

stick2

I was struggling with my body image my whole life and whenever I saw pictures of the ideal women, that I will never be, I felt worthless and insecure. A few years ago I discovered the internet movement of bodypositivity. I felt so happy that some of my sisters* didn’t submit to the bodyshaming beauty standards of the modern world. They encouraged me to be proud of who I am. It’s not just about fat girls wearing plus size dresses and looking cute in it. It’s more like a selflove campaign. It’s for all human beings that feel excluded from the society because their bodies are different. For everybody who feels uncomfortable in their own skin. It’s about encouraging each other and stop hating on each other.

That’s a thing I want to work…

View original post 49 more words

SINCE WHEN IS REMOVING YOUR BODY HAIR LINKED WITH RESPECTING YOUR BODY?

I came across AYQA through a buzzfeed post and felt it completely necessary to share her illustrations and her message.

We live in a society where woman are made to feel like they don’t have a choice on what to do with our body hair — we are expected to remove it all and if we don’t we are ‘weird’ ‘disgusting’ ‘dirty’ ‘smelly’ etc etc the negative words go on and on — we DO have a choice. And that choice should be normalised and respected.

Ayqa has illustrated these amazing drawings in an attempt to normalise body hair.

Let us wear our body hair with pride! Or not, if you choose to remove it. Do what you want with your body hair — it is YOUR CHOICE after all.

Find out more or purchase a print here — Ayqa’s Art

‘This is a call to accept all body hair’

I tried to grow my armpit hair a couple of years back and managed a week before I had a mini freak out and shaved. I felt guilty, then I tried to not think about it “i prefer them shaved anyway” I would tell myself.

Then about 6 weeks ago I joined a gym and my temperamental shower broke, which was good timing as I could just shower at the gym- but shower without all my products and razors… When the hair started coming in I thought, well at least it’s winter, I don’t get my pits out a lot… Now it’s been a few weeks and the hair is long and soft and I love them more and more each day. My usual sweat patches around my pit area, which would sometimes come through my coat (!), have stopped, I don’t smell as much (as far as I can tell/smell) and I’ve come to the realisation that FUCK IT. Why the fuck was I shaving anyways? Cos I thought it was prettier? To stop myself from feeling embarrassed or ashamed in a tank top? and who the fuck was I shaving for? Before I’d have said ‘me’ but now I feel I am the proud owner of two hairy underarms and I won’t shave them for anyone.

So having recently come to this realisation, today I came across this post “I just want to be a hairy girl and for that to be OK” and felt it really expresses how I feel (and more) and I want to share it because it’s powerful and an important message we all need to be aware of.

I just want to be a hairy girl and for that to be OK
Minahil Mahmood

Women – we all remember the first time it was brought to our attention that something wasn’t right about our body hair. Whether it was in the sixth grade when your crush was yelling, “Ewwww, you have so much arm hair!” in front of the entire class, or when you were at home watching hair removal ads, questioning why we had to have these products, or watching every female role model in your family get rid of theirs.

Disclaimer: It’s 100 per cent OK to remove your body hair if that’s what makes you happy (I would never say otherwise), but it’s hard to avoid questioning what society would be like if we weren’t forcefed this clean-shaven concept since childhood. What if every ten minutes you didn’t see a razor commercial with an unusually happy woman sporting a pair of clean-shaven legs? What if there wasn’t an alarming amount of products at every drugstore telling you to cut/shave/burn your body hair off regularly? Our perception of body hair on girls has been so twisted that it’s almost impossible to tell if it’s a personal choice that truly makes us happy, or another way we try to conform and fit in.

It’s difficult to tell if we actually want to get rid of our body hair or if we’re just trying to get by without shaking up the whole world’s view of us. From our lovers and partners to fellow women and random glares on the street, it’s hard to be carefree about your body hair while avoiding negative backlash.

Many myths about body hair have been used against women to make them feel dirty and inferior. It’s funny when people claim that having pubes is inherently dirtier than a clean shave, when in reality those hairs are there to protect and keep bacteria away. In fact, a huge reason why women became obsessed with a more clean pubic shave stems from the porn industry. Women with pubic hair were always seen as more mature which equated to sexiness. In 1974, a magazine calledBarely Legal (yikes!) was published, which popularised the fetishisation of young women, a major reason why women suddenly decided to go bald down there and appease the idea of what men may want.

There is virtually no health-related reason for women to have to remove body hair, only personal choice. What about society’s opinion of our anatomy makes body hair unhygienic on women but not men? In a perfect world, it would have been left at individual preference, but body hair on women has become something so taboo, that girls as young as ten years old old feel the need to get rid of it. I was 11 when I first shaved my arms, but it never just stops there. As soon as you realise that there’s something people hate about it, you hate it too and you hate your body for creating it at all. Suddenly your eyebrows look too bushy, your armpit hairs are too thick, the little hairs on your knuckles are ‘unfeminine’. It goes on.

“What if every ten minutes you didn’t see a razor commercial with an unusually happy woman sporting a pair of clean-shaven legs? What if there wasn’t an alarming amount of products at every drugstore telling you to cut/shave/burn your body hair off regularly?”

Over the past couple of years, the internet has given young women a platform to display their true selves and pictures of women with body hair have swept the net. Whether it’s self-love or memes mocking hairy girls in love with their bodies, the conversation started happening. This feminism-centred movement, pushing the normalisation of girls with body hair gained traction and was something young women born after the 80s could relate to. But the movement has gone in cycles. Another reason women started shaving was because body hair became a symbol of feminism, which was seen as ‘manly’ and intimidated the male ego. I found solace in this internet wave for a while before quickly realising that even in a community that accepted body hair on women, there were certain standards you had to meet.

My first issue was only ever seeing pictures of white women with very thin blonde pit hair. I didn’t find it very groundbreaking and found it hard to relate to. I felt that women of colour with thick, dark body hair were rarely ever seen as cute feminist babes making statements, as if the sight of thick, dark hair undoubtably made people even more uncomfortable, making girls of colour feel the need to hide away and continue conforming.

This is a call to stop hiding. This is a call to stop conforming. This is a call to make amends with ourselves. This is a call to accept all body hair. No matter where it is or who it’s on. Let’s start by giving a platform to women who refuse to conform, let’s give platforms to trans women who don’t give a fuck about gender norms. When you see a women sporting some leg hair, instead of thinking ‘Did she forget to shave?’, just assume she loves her body hair. Let’s change this narrative that women who don’t shave don’t care about their looks. Let’s look within ourselves and try to unlearn everything we have been conditioned to believe about body hair on girls. I love your bushy eyebrows, I love your sideburns, I love your happy trail and back hair.

first posted here -http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/28857/1/i-just-want-to-be-a-hairy-girl-and-that-be-ok