As a fat and hairy woman, I felt like I really had no choice but to become a feminist and a part of the body positivity movement in order to survive. Realistically, I could have carried on shaving, triggering my folliculitis, scratching my legs to pieces, and being exasperated when two days after shaving the hair had returned. I also could pretty easily go back to the disordered eating of my teenage years, when I'd feel guilty for consuming more than 500 calories a day. It would be so simple to fall back into the world of self harm and self hating, and I can't pretend that I haven't tip-toed around the edges on my worse mental health days.
Yet as a strident body positive, feminist babe, I find that my Instagram feed is filled with diverse images of my friends and people that I admire: People who break beauty standards and look freaking fabulous whilst doing it. Representation is incredibly important. When I'm feeling shitty about how my tummy looks in a dress or simply having an off day, looking at pictures of beautiful, fat people can make me feel whole again. I'm no less anything because of how my body appears. In fact, I've become someone better because of how my body appears. I love myself for being fat and I love myself for being hairy.
What I've struggled with, however, whilst looking for more and more different people to watch and admire, is finding humans who break binaries and beauty standards in more than one way. With the media spotlight shining on the feminism movement right now, plus size women and hairy women are finding their way into public consciousness. We're arguably becoming more accepting of women who don't shave and of women who aren't thin. It's not hard to find articles and blogs dedicated to these people and the work that they do. What's a lot harder is finding people who break boundaries in more ways than one. Luckily, there are some plus size people who unapologetically rock their body hair and share their photos with pride and self love:
Ragini Nag Rao's whimsical fashion and fierce self love is inspirational. Too often, body hair is seen as a masculine trait, but on Nag Rao, I can't imagine anything more feminine.
I've followed Majestic and their wife Jessica Luxery for years and they're both a huge source of inspiration and self love for me. Majestic is genderqueer, but when their femme side combines with their amazing mustache, they are a no-brainer for this list!
3. Lauren Crow
There are very little ways to word this without seeming creepy, but Rebekah Krispi has just taken up knitting and seeing her lovely, fluffy leg showing off her homemade sock has made me overjoyed.
5. Beth Ditto
Both as a young fatty and as an older (but not old) fatty, Beth Ditto has never stopped being everything to me. I loved her when I was 14 and I'll love her until I die.
So go forth, fat and hairy babes. You're already killing it.
Images: Georgina Jones; Getty Images