This story was originally published on Apr. 18, 2016.
It's no secret that many people have opinions, solicited or not, about female body hair. Many of these people insist, in fairly vehement tones, that it has no place in polite society. That attitude has recently prompted more and more women to come out on social media and embrace their natural body hair, redefining what it is, and, more importantly, what it's not — i.e. something to be ashamed of.
Plenty of women eschew the razor for practical reasons (shaving is a time suck, it irritates skin, it's expensive over time). Others, however, grow their body hair and display it proudly (even colorfully) as a form of self-expression. Still others choose to remove however much hair they want, whenever they want to — which is empowering, too. Either way, all of these ladies are sending a message, announcing that "typical" grooming standards don't dictate their lives. And to us, that's awesome. Challenging the status quo is beautiful.
That's why we've decided to celebrate women who embrace their natural body hair. We collaborated with two models — Ivy Stewart and Lee Armoogam — who are doing just that. Together, we're shining the spotlight on body hair by highlighting it in fanciful, frivolous ways, using materials both whimsical (confetti) and natural (moss). A fair warning here: Some of these photos are NSFW, depending on where you work, of course. But this isn't just about bells, whistles, and follicles. Both women have well thought-out reasons for ditching the razor (or the laser, or the epilator, or waxing strips...) that have taught us a lesson or two.
Our goal at Refinery29 is to empower and inspire the women who empower and inspire us. Because, to us, the most badass women are those who define beauty on their own terms.