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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    KS1 Primary Teacher

    £100 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Supply Teacher re...

    KS2 Teaching Supply Wakefield

    £140 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

    Year 1/2 Teacher

    £130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

    Primary Teachers Needed for Supply in Wakefield

    £140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam