How an ad for a women’s razor sparked controversy on social media

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Susan Devaney
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An advert showing women’s actual body hair has sparked a lot of praise (and criticism) on social media. 

When we think of adverts for razors we think of two scenes: a man standing at a bathroom mirror shaving their beard off, a woman lying on the beach effortlessly gliding a razor over a baby-smooth leg – right?

Because women don’t really have body hair. At least, that’s what countless adverts have led us to believe.

Enter: Billie, a “female-first shave and body brand”.

The US brand’s advert, which features several women shaving real hair from various body parts, has gone viral for its authenticity.

Taking to Twitter, the brand shared its advert which features a diverse line-up of women.

“For more than 100 years, women’s razor brands haven’t shown women’s body hair… until now. Introducing Project Body Hair. A celebration of body hair, wherever it is or isn’t,” Billie wrote, referencing the brand’s campaign for its subscription service. 

On its website, the company, which launched in 2017, says: “Shaving companies have always been created for men which may explain why we’re still overpaying for women’s razors and referred to as goddesses for shaving.”

And many people have taken to Twitter to praise the brand. 

“So impressed with the Billie razor advert. Responsible, contemporary and cool advertising focusing on the normality of body hair and highlighting the choice that women can do what they want with it despite societal pressures,” one user wrote. 

“Best shaving ad I’ve ever seen. This makes me SO happy,” another person tweeted. 

“Body hair is not a shame. It’s natural and useful for our body,” another person tweeted. 

However, one writer has called the brand out for gaslighting consumers. 

“*whispers* a women’s razor company creating an ad campaign featuring women with visible body hair is neither progressive, nor radical. They’re trying to have their cake and eat it, and gaslighting us in the process okay bye!” Uwagba tweeted. 

Throughout the advert the brand pushes the idea that shaving is a choice which it most certainly is. Women don’t have to shave.

“Only showing smooth, hairless legs seemed like an archaic way of representing women. We have always said shaving is a choice,” Billie co-founder, Georgina Gooley, told the Guardian. “It’s your hair and no one should tell you what to do with it. We’re excited to launch a campaign that will help normalise body hair and change the one-dimensional way in which women are portrayed.”

Taking things a step further, Billie has made pictures available on the photography site, Unsplash, in an attempt to increase the number of stock images of female body hair that’s currently available. Furthermore, the company donates 1% of all revenue to women’s causes around the world.

The fact that female body hair is still taboo in 2018 is, frankly shocking. But thanks to forward-thinking brands like Billie the barriers are being broken.

Images: Getty