Image source: Racked
By Giorgina McKay|@ggmckay11
American shaving company Billie has made history by launching the first razor campaign to feature women with body hair.
The diverse campaign differs from usual advertisements which showcase bare-bodied women.
Billie’s co-founder Georgina Gooley told Glamour Magazine, “We couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming amount of hairless skin in razor advertising,”
“It was strange to us that these brands only show women ‘shaving’ perfectly smooth and hairless legs.
“When brands pretend that all women have hairless bodies, it’s a version of body shaming. It’s saying you should feel ashamed of having body hair.”
Body image is a pertinent issue affecting many young Australians.
The unrealistic standards being imposed by the media, social media, and advertising only serve to cause further harm.
UniSA journalism student Courtney Flynn said “Most people put their trust in the media as we look to them for many things,”
“If the media only advertise one type of woman, it creates this false picture that either this is what women are supposed to look like, or this product/service is only going to suit you if you’re this type of woman, which is so unfair.
“And in turn, it makes women feel bad, to think that they can’t feel comfortable in their own skin because they don’t look like that woman in the magazine.”
Ms Flynn is unfortunately one of many young people battling with body image.
It is a battle she said she encounters on a daily basis.
“I’d say I have a mixture of good and bad days when it comes to body image and self-esteem,” she said.
“Some days I won’t wear makeup outside the house, or I won’t care how others perceive my figure because I’m happy with how it looks with what I’m wearing that day.
“But, other days, I won’t leave the house without makeup, and I’ll try and cover up most of my body, because my stomach might be poking out a bit, or my hips will look a little too big—it comes and goes in waves.”
The impact of body image on health and wellbeing has been made obvious by recent studies, with reports by Eating Disorders Victoria finding that eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness in young women in Australia.
With numbers set to rise, critics are calling for the industry to change.
“Only showing smooth, hairless legs seemed like an archaic way of representing women,” Ms Gooley told Buzzfeed.
“We have always said shaving is a choice. It’s your hair and no one should tell you what to do with it.
“We’re excited to [have] launch[ed] a campaign that will help normalise body hair and change the one-dimensional way in which women are portrayed in mass media.”
“I think more companies need to jump on board with the angle Billie are taking,” Ms Flynn said.
“It may come as a bit of a shock to some, but as the ad points out, yes, women have hair on parts of their bodies other than their head. It is completely normal, and women have the option not to shave.
“However, if women feel more comfortable when they do shave, the option of that is there too. It gives women the power of choice, to say that you can rock any look and be who they want to be—with or without body hair.
“The media play such a huge part when it comes to promoting something that has to do with women, and because it is such a huge part, it’s important to remind everyone that every woman’s body is different.
“Rarely is any woman the same shape, colour, size as another woman. It’s important to embrace and portray that factor as well, that there are so many different women out there and they’re all real and different, and that’s okay.”