Have you ever seen an advertisement for a women’s razor featuring a leg or armpit that actually has hair on it? These kinds of ads almost always show a (traditionally attractive) woman gliding the blade over already-smooth skin. When you stop to think about this, it actually makes no sense. Why would a person shave their hairless body? But more importantly, why are we so afraid to show female body hair? One company is tackling this question head on in a unapologetic new campaign that features unshaven women in swimsuits.
Last year, the female-founded razor brand Billiereleased their historic “Project Body Hair” video, which was the first-ever razor ad to show female body hair. “We very much wanted to not only acknowledge that body hair exists, and to show it, but we also wanted to move the conversation around the message that razor brands have been sharing with women—and that shaving is a choice not an expectation,” Georgina Gooley, Billie co-founder, told Glamour.
And this summer, they’re kicking things up a notch with the “Red, White, and You Do You” campaign. The video proudly displays women of all shapes, sizes, and colors showing off various styles of pubic hair peeking out from the sides of their swimsuits. That’s right, hair down there. Obviously shot through a female lens, this marks the first shaving campaign to display actual pubes — no fancy shrubbery or fuzzy fruits.
“If we’re not acknowledging body hair exists, it’s a form of body shaming,” Gooley continued. “There has been this shame around body hair, and a lot of that is the shaving category talking about the topic as a problem that needs to be fixed with the product they’re trying to sell. We didn’t want to be part of that conversation.” Case in point:
The ad also calls out the general pressure on women to be “summer ready.”
“Magazines tell us to stop eating carbs in February, follow a 12-step routine to get the perfect beach bod, and to remove every last strand of hair before squeezing into a bathing suit,” the video’s caption reads on Instagram. “The 4th unofficially kicks off summer. So this summer, you do you. Let your hair down, maybe even out… we hope you’ll enjoy the breeze.”
After years of legacy messaging telling us to remove it, or hide it, we can appreciate that companies are starting to recognize that having body hair is a choice. Of course, there’s still plenty of shame and criticism around it (like the fanfare around Halsey’s armpit hair on a recent magazine cover), but brands like Billie are helping women feel confident in their own skin — whatever that might look like. Oh, and in case you were wondering, it’s working. Billie was recently named to Ad Age’s America’s Hottest Brands list.