The Hairy Legs Club: because female body hair is nothing to be ashamed of

Is this the start of a shift in the media to show women in a more natural way?

It’s that time of year again, the sun comes out and with it the media’s favourite pastime; presenting scantily clad bikini models and celebrities on the covers of magazines and newspapers all over the world. This is supplemented, of course, with perfectly toned and tanned ‘selfie’ snaps of flat washboard stomachs and never-ending legs, plastered over social media sites. It is this which makes the recent popularity of the Hairy Legs Club so refreshing. At a time when women are encouraged to begin the dreaded bikini season diet, a Tumblr blog has emerged which champions natural beauty, while dispelling some of the common myths about what constitutes female beauty.

The Hairy Legs club currently taking social media by storm encourages women to post in with snaps of their hairy legs along with positive comments. The blog has already received an immensely positive response with hundreds of posts from young women who are embracing the site as an opportunity to challenge some of the unrealistic body images prevalent in today’s media. One anonymous blogger gushed “I love this website! I was always ashamed of my hairy legs since I was 10 years old. Finally, a couple of years ago I accepted them… we should not accept what others think beauty is. We must accept our true nature and true beauty.” Another blogger declared “I have hairy legs, and to be honest I feel more ‘feminine’ than ever!”

The trend follows a number of other initiatives to promote a more natural and realistic portrayal of women’s bodies. The ‘Very Hairy Legs’ blog, started on Tumblr by blogger Sarah with the primary aim of encouraging women to embrace their natural beauty, has also been met with enthusiasm. Sarah told her followers: 'This blog is dedicated to females with very hairy legs. Let our legs be the champions!' The daily stream of empowered comments which the blog receives demonstrates the impression it has made on many young girls, with one anonymous blogger confiding “I'm so moved. For all my life I felt wrong, ashamed, different, alone, ugly, unlovable. Discovering this blog, going through the pages, made me cry so hard. I'm not alone. I don't need to be ashamed. I don't need to be scared. I can be proud.”

A submission to the Hairy Legs Club Tumblr A submission to the Hairy Legs Club Tumblr The Facebook group Women Against Non-essential Grooming has also enjoyed success in challenging stereotypes of female beauty. Described on its Facebook as “a supportive discussion space for women who reject the idea that in order to be considered attractive, feminine, and respectable they had to participate in gendered ‘beauty’ norms, such as removing their body hair and wearing make-up”. Other recent attempts to promote natural beauty have been effective; earlier this year the no make-up selfie craze raised over £8 million for Cancer Research UK, encouraging girls to pose make-up free for a selfie to raise money for the cause.

Yet the very positive outpouring of posts on the The Hairy Legs Club Tumblr also hinted at the darker side of the perfectionism which our media encourages. One blogger posted, “This blog is such a great inspiration! I’m still really self-conscious about my legs but day by day I’m accepting myself a little bit more.” Another blogger described the shame she used to feel “I just came across this website a few weeks back and it honestly blew my mind, in a good way of course. I was so ashamed of my hairiness but through this website I saw girls with even more hairier legs than mine and proudly showing them off.”

Issues surrounding a lack of self-confidence are very real in the UK. A report by the charity Girlguiding published at the of last year found that a growing number of girls in the UK were suffering from low self-esteem, the overall proportion of those surveyed who were not happy with their looks rose to 33 per cent in 2013, from 29 per cent in 2012 and 26 per cent in 2011. One of the key factors found to be causing this increase was the media publishing pictures which “shame” celebrities, with more than seven in ten of those aged 11 to 21 indicating that such pictures made them anxious about the way they look.

In part as a response to these concerns, new initiatives including no make-up selfies and the Hairy Legs Club are thriving, challenging our perceptions of beauty and embracing what women naturally look like. It seems that this refreshing attitude is catching on more and more with young girls increasingly opting to champion the natural - and challenge the media’s Barbie Doll perceptions of beauty.

Read more: Why women don't like female body hair, according to academic research
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

    £37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

    Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

    £25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

    £16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea