American women have to navigate all sorts of expectations about what our bodies should and should not look like — including the belief that everything from the neck down should be completely hairless. And in counteracting that pervasive, limiting message, images like Refinery29's photo series of women with body hair are important. Because having hair in places where hair naturally grows does not make anyone less attractive.
It's a simple truth that hair grows on (virtually all) human bodies. Some people have more hair than others, but bodies grow hair. It's what they do. And the idea that letting female bodies do what female bodies do is somehow not feminine is really very confusing when you start to think about it. Of course, there are plenty of women who would probably choose to shave and wax regardless of societal expectations — everyone has their own personal tastes, after all. But the fact that society expects all women to conform to some arbitrary standard of hairlessness is stifling and serves really no purpose other than to make people feel bad about their bodies.
Unfortunately, there is a definite dearth of positive images of women with body hair out there. Which is why it's awesome when someone breaks out of that mold and photographs women proudly sporting their body hair. Or really, whenever we get to see images of real, un-photoshopped bodies, given how altered most pictures we're exposed to are.
Much like their series of real boobs, and of real butts (both women's and men's), Refinery29's series of Women with Body Hair not only shows off real live examples of women who let their hair grow the way it wants to, but also what the women in question feel about their body hair and how it might have changed over time. Some of the women have always been cool with their hair. Some came around it after hating it. But all of them are willing to show it off for the camera.
You can check out the full series here. (Note that many of the images are NSFW).
Images: Refinery29 (2)