Beauty

Billie’s new razor ad features female pubic hair – but is it really a body positive move?

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Almara Abgarian
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A black model dressed in a white top holds her arms behind her head with hair clearly visible under her armpits

In the ad, women can be seen proudly showing off their pubic hair, but let’s not forget that positive PR equals sales.

As a woman with Armenian heritage, I know all about being hairy - the highs, the lows and everything between. 

I sported an impressive unibrow until I was 14 when I tried out a new style. I was bullied by other kids for the “dark hair” on my upper lip – which has since been lasered away – and my family has its own home-made wax recipe. For me, removing my unwanted body hair was the right decision, but I have utmost respect for anyone who chooses another path. 

But sadly, women have long been encouraged to keep every area and orifice of their bodies smooth so they remain ‘attractive’ to the opposite sex – and the pubic region seems to attract the biggest debate.

To challenge this outdated beauty ideal, razor brand Billie has released a video from its new campaign which features women in swimwear proudly showing off their bushy bikini lines

The brand, which first debuted pubic hair on its models last year in a campaign dubbed Project Body Hair, has since received high praise for its inclusive approach – and at first, I also applauded. 

Although I still remove my unwanted hair, that’s not a blanket rule for all my whole body. And I dare anyone to try and tell me how I should (or shouldn’t) be ‘landscaping’. 

We can admire Billie’s efforts, but let us not forget this is a razor company that specialises in hair removal. It is fully aware that positive PR generates sales and even more so when you can throw the “feminism” label on top of it.

However, the campaign is great because it encourages open conversation around pubic hair.

For too long, the topic has been hidden away in the shadow of its own bush and we don’t talk about it enough. Quite often, whether hairy or not, women are expected to cater to the needs of others, especially when it comes to misogynistic beauty standards.

One of my most memorable hair-related incidents was when my first boyfriend told me he’d prefer me to be completely clean-shaven “down there”.

And now, more than a decade later, men are still telling me how to maintain my nether regions.

Many of my female friends have had similar experiences. 

A woman, dressed in white knickers with hair visible on her stomach and pubic hair visible
Billie regularly posts photos of models showing off their body hair

Interestingly, a study by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) published in Metro.co.uk yesterday (28 June) revealed that 39% of women who shave do so because their “partner wants it”.

But should they? It’s a grey zone, because it is perfectly OK to compromise for a partner, but only if you really want to – not as a response to an ultimatum.

If your partner ever asks you to trim your pubic hair to their taste, say goodbye – I promise that there are other men out there who will happily oblige, hair or no hair.

Asian woman blowdrying her armpits
Billie’s models show off their body hair in the brand’s photos

As for generally showing off your brilliantly hairy bits in a bikini while you lounge in the sun, Billie’s campaign makes a good point: you do you.

Women shouldn’t be pressured into having to maintain a specific look, because their pubic hair is no one’s business but their own.

“Body hair on cisgender men is seen as attractive,” Ashley Armitage, the campaign’s director and photographer, told Refinery29.

“Body hair on cisgender women, transgender women, and nonbinary individuals is seen as unattractive, unhygienic, and unacceptable. I want people to feel free to do what they want with their bodies this summer and every summer.”

Marketing intentions aside, I can’t argue with that.

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Image: Billie