Body hair is something that occurs naturally on human bodies, but when it grows in certain places on women, people can get very… emotional.
Lalonie Davis, a 17-year-old college student and illustrator from Los Angeles, had a refresher course on this recently.
Last week she shared a selfie to Instagram, displaying a thicket of armpit hair in order to help more girls embrace their body hair and to point out the double standard surrounding the issue. “You don’t have to like it, but please know that misogynistic opinions that shame girls for having body hair while ignoring boys who do will never get me to change who I am,” she wrote.
After calling people who poke fun at body hair "lame", Davis went on to offer words of encouragement for those women who choose to stay furry (hello, Paris Jackson).
“Baby girls don’t ever let anyone ever make you feel bad for being who you are or doing what you want to do. You are deserving of self respect and love no matter the decisions you make with your body. Body hair is normal and so are you. It’s okay to do what you want to do with your body.”
Davis’ comments were a mixed bag, to say the least. On the positive side, one fan shared her own experience with shaving. “This is so beautiful, there is nothing wrong with women not shaving,” she wrote. “This empowers me so much, as I haven’t shaved in forever and I rarely get anything other than criticism back.”
Another expressed how glad she was to see a dark-haired young lady eschew shaving. “I mostly see girls with little blonde hairs saying they’re not gonna shave anymore & gonna be themselves & whatever which is awesome but I’m like, you can hardly see that s**t anyway! But finally I’ve seen someone with dark hair that is more prominent & I relate so much more to you having thick dark hair on your body.”
Others helped to reinforce Davis’s point, advocating to normalise body hair on women. “I think it’s really sad that girls are taught from a young age that we need to maintain a certain image in order to be labelled as ‘feminine’ or even ‘normal’ in today’s standards,” one person offered. “Body hair is a natural occurrence during puberty and It’s sick that girls grow up thinking they need to be hairless in adulthood in the same way that they were hairless when they were 9 years old. Real women have hair and real women aren’t ashamed of it. Keep doin’ you, there’s always somebody out there who won’t agree with your personal opinions or style.”
Still, some people succeeded in proving Davis’ point that anti-hair stances are based in misogyny, with one clumsily blaming her for "making" men make sexist judgments. “Making men seem like pigs, you bring pigs out of men,” he wrote. “Attack a whole gender for no reason lol…”
Perhaps the most hysteric reaction came from Internet personality Prince Don, who was so distressed by Davis’s photo that he made an entire video waxing poetic about how horrible and unattractive it is for women to have body hair. He claimed he was upset at the fact Davis had the “nerve” to connect the pressure women have to shave to misogyny, saying that not wanting a “hairy girlfriend” has nothing to do with it, and that it’s merely a preference.
Of course, Prince Don not only fails to examine why he has such preferences, but why he’s so offended by women who don’t shave their body hair — especially when he wasn’t checking for them anyway.
But Davis soon found Prince Don’s video and reposted it to her own Instagram page. “I AM SO FLATTERED THAT THIS BOY TOOK TIME OUT OF HIS DAY TO MAKE THIS WHOLE ASS VIDEO EDIT TO DEMEAN WOMEN!!!!” she wrote. “ALSO ‘ITS NOT MISOGYNY’ BUT I’VE NEVER SEEN SOMEONE TELL A BOY TO KILL THEMSELVES FOR HAVING ARMPIT HAIR AND GET DEATH THREATS!!!!!”
Yahoo Beauty reached out to Davis and she told us that she had originally shared a photo of her armpit hair and “happy trail” on Twitter “to express my comfortability with myself and show girls that it’s okay to do what you want to do regardless of how society makes you feel. My intention to post it was not as some big political against our misogynistic society, it was simply to show girls that it’s normal to have body hair even though it’s often shamed and overlooked.” She said that the backlash from that post prompted her to take to Instagram to proudly show off her body hair.