body hair truth

Body hair: We all have it, but we never talk about it!

Body hair through the ages has seen some pretty eccentric styles and trends. The Romans were firm supporters of cleanly shaved nether-regions for both men and women, whereas the Middle Ages were all about bush. Weirdly enough, in the olden times where sanitation was scarce, the creepy critters we now call ‘crabs’, were not uncommon so many people shaved their privates but used wigs, or ‘merkins’ for fashion!

Fast forward to the 20th century and the swinging sixties fully embraced body hair of all varieties as part of the free love mentality which embraced the au-natural look. 20 years later ‘The Brazilian’ revolutionised pubic fashion for women who, due to teeny tiny bikinis, opted for an ‘all off’ approach.

So where are we at now with the body hair revolution? 

It’s something that literally everyone has had to deal with since the beginning of time, yet we’re still as clueless now, as we were 10,000 years ago! So let’s break it down…

All Body hair serves a purpose.

The fine hairs that cover our entire bodies (apart from our palms and the soles of our feet) are there to keep us warm. They may not seem like they are doing much, but that prickly feeling when it’s chilly outside? That’s the tiny muscles around the hair follicles contracting, which in turn makes our hair stand on end to trap warmth.

In terms of the dreaded pubic hair – it’s there to protect our bits from bacteria causing infection, bumps and scrapes, friction and other pathogens. Some people like it, some people don’t. It really is as simple as that – preference.

Eyelashes, eyebrows, nostril hair and ear hair – all serve as a barrier to protect some of our vital sensory organs from foreign objects such as sand, dust, sweat and bugs… ew.

Embrace or Erase?

Women are often under pressure from society to remove all body hair: armpits, legs, pubic regions and everywhere in between. Recently there are more and more women going against the grain of expectations and embracing their hairy armpits. In many places all over the world, to be hairy is to be beautiful.

Men, on the other hand, are often under pressure to keep their body hair. Masculinity dictates that men should be hairy. To have a beard or a hairy chest is often considered manly. The fact of the matter is, many men don’t like having body hair. In truth, with the high levels of personal hygiene that the modern world has bestowed upon us, we don’t depend on these methods of protection from the elements anymore, because we have houses, and showers…

“Some people like it, some people don’t. It really is as simple as that – preference.”

Some Athletes choose to remove body hair for performance enhancement reasons. Many olympic swimmers will be clean shaven all over so they glide through the water with ease, same with some cyclists and runners.

If you want to remove your chest hair, shave your legs, epilate your armpits (wouldn’t recommend – v. painful 😱) or pluck your eyebrows – do it. Similarly, if you’d rather opt for the more natural look and let your luscious locks grow, do that too! Shout out to my main gal Frida Khalo, for representing the bushy eyebrow squad and embracing her body hair in the most courageous way!

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/hairytruthrev.jpg”]

Hair Loss

Not only is hair growth an uncomfortable issue for most, so is hair loss. Losing your hair can make you feel embarrassed, sad, vulnerable and out of place and there can be loads of different reasons behind the cause of it. Some people will never experience hair loss, but a large number of men and women experience it due to something called ‘male or female-pattern baldness’, this will affect 50% of men by the time they reach middle age, and contrary to popular belief, women are not immune!

It’s surprising to think that something which affects such a large proportion of the population is still considered to be an embarrassing issue! Where there are many treatments and remedies for hair loss, these are not always necessary. Always remember that you are more than your hair!

Whether you’re a fan of a hairy pit, or you like a clean shaven chin, have long curly hair or a shiny bald head; embrace your fuzz or erase your whiskers according to your own preference – nobody’s else’s!😝

Something as trivial as the the hair that grows on our bodies carries with it so many varying levels of significance … but does it really matter? If we’re happy, healthy and hairy or bald – what’s the big fuss?!

If you are experiencing unexplained hair loss, it’s best to speak to a professional as it can sometimes be your body telling you that something’s not quite right… be sure to see a doctor or medical professional if you’re worried, or speak to one of our digital mentors on our community for more info!

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Comedian Shannon DeVido on how she usually answers these 10 common questions about being a wheelchair user

1. How do you go to the bathroom?

I didn’t do well in science, but from what I can tell, after I drink a lot of water or eat, after a few hours, my body lets me know it needs to come out…unless I eat Chipotle, then it’s only about 30 mins. Worth it though.

2. How fast does that thing go?

Sadly, not as fast as I want. If I had my way, I’d “pimp my chair” so it’d be able to go on a highway, but my family don’t think it’s very “safe”. Also, I often hear “you’re going to get a speeding ticket!” Nope. Not true. Not even in a school zone.

3. Can you have sex?

I think you need to buy me a nice dinner and be interested in my extensive Harry Potter knowledge before I answer this question for you.

4. Do you sleep in your chair?

This often comes from kids, so I will usually say, “No, because the stuffed animals on my bed would be lonely.” To adults I just eye roll.

5. Does she need something? (Asked to the person I’m with)

Hi! Down here! You can talk to me! I graduated college, Cum Laude. I’m pretty good at ordering chicken fingers.

6. Do you know [insert name here]? He’s also in a wheelchair.

Steve McSteverson? Yeah! He’s usually at the underground wheelchair meetings where we talk about stupid questions.

7. What’s wrong with you?

Plenty! Just ask my therapist! Honestly, I don’t mind when people ask me about my specific disability, but when it’s said in this curt manner it makes me feel like I should think there’s something wrong with me just for being a wheelchair user.

8. Is your boyfriend in a wheelchair too?

No, James McAvoy is not a wheelchair user… unless he’s playing Professor X. Then yes.

9. Can I get a ride?

How much are you paying me? Rates go up during peak hours and big events. #WheelchairUber

10. Do you need help?

Nope. I’m good. Thank you for asking. I promise I’ll ask if I need it.

**Disclaimer: I’m not actually dating James McAvoy. Sorry, rumour factory and apologies to his incredibly attractive wife.**

Written by Shannon DeVido

www.shannondevido.com

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  • Coming out/ranting about my mother
    I’m bi and I have come out to my two best friends. I really want to come out to someone else-especially my mom- but I know it isn’t a good idea. Almost everyone I know that I could come out to is either really homophonic or can’t keep a secret. I’ve been thinking about telling […]
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    Hey I’m new here. I’m bi and I’m not out to anyone but my two best friends. I’m 13 and it’s nice to have this club. Thanks!
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Plus size style & lifestyle blogger Stephanie Yeboah on how she turned self-hate into self-love

The 25th of July 2012 is a day I’ll never forget.

I was alone, doubled-over in a hospital in Barcelona, violently trying to throw up the remnants of some diet pills that I’d bought online in the hopes that I’d lose a substantial amount of weight. I was 23-years-old and obsessed with staying thin; what was important to me at the time, was that my tummy was flat and I could buy clothes from the main ranges of high street stores. Yet, even though I was the smallest I had ever been, I was suffering from severe depression, low self-esteem and had virtually no self-confidence.

Growing up I’d always been chubby, and up until the age of 10 I was pretty okay with that; I was confident and happy in myself and never gave my size a second thought. It wasn’t until I started secondary school aged 11, that my perception of myself started to change, and the bullying began.

Over the years I would have to endure both verbal and physical abuse from a group of boys at my school. I was beaten up, spat on, chemically burned, sexually harassed and assaulted – all of which resulted in many broken bones, bruises and more significantly, a complete loss of confidence and self-belief. I was told every day at school that I was ‘worthless’ and that no one would ever want to be in a relationship with me, because I was fat and dark skinned. They told me I deserved to be raped, because ‘no one else would take me’ and that I should end my own life because I was a waste of space.

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Stephanie now

It was at this point that I first tried to commit suicide. Fortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful.

School left me resentful of who I was; in my eyes I was fat and grotesque and I honestly thought that no one would ever want, or love me. I thought my size was punishment for something bad I had done in a previous life. I envied girls my age who were smaller than me and having those first-time teenage experiences that I thought I would never have because of my weight. The self-hatred was unbearable. When I looked at my reflection in the mirror, I saw an ugly, dark-skinned girl who was going nowhere in life. I saw the person that the people that bullied me, had me believe I was.

This not only had impact on my mental wellbeing, but it also affected my ability to communicate with people; I became quiet, withdrawn and socially awkward in the company of others.

I decided enough was enough; I was sick of being held prisoner in such a body, so I tried to lose weight any way I could by dieting, starving myself, throwing up food I had eaten, taking diet pills and binging on laxatives. I lost four stone, and while I physically looked ‘socially acceptable’, inside I felt disgusting.

The experience in Barcelona was the final straw. I realised that being slim wasn’t everything and that I was damaging my body just like the people that bullied me had done once upon a time. In a sense, I was letting them win. I vowed, that from that day forward I would try my best to be strong, to mend my self-esteem and rebuild my confidence. Of course, it wasn’t easy, and I had help along the way; I saw a therapist and talked about how I was feeling and I was also prescribed anti-depressants to help me through, but eventually, I reached a place where I could finally say I was in love with my body.

I still have days – just like everyone else on this planet – where I am not 100% confident in myself but if you had told me four years ago that I would be comfortable posing in nothing more than a bikini I would have laughed at you. I never, ever thought it possible that I could come to terms with my body, let alone love it and have someone else love it. But I have, and I do and someone else does too!

Yes, I’m fat. Yes, I may not have what society regards as the ‘ideal’ physique but in my eyes, I am good enough.

I am me.

Written by Stephanie Yeboah 

www.nerdabouttown.com

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    I’m bi and I have come out to my two best friends. I really want to come out to someone else-especially my mom- but I know it isn’t a good idea. Almost everyone I know that I could come out to is either really homophonic or can’t keep a secret. I’ve been thinking about telling […]
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    Hey I’m new here. I’m bi and I’m not out to anyone but my two best friends. I’m 13 and it’s nice to have this club. Thanks!
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    For my whole life i was heterosexual.... (Dont ask me how do i know that. I just simply do.)but 8 months ago after brake up with the first love in my life i just simply stopped being into girls, and for last 3 or 4 months i actualy feel gay.... It happend litteraly forom day […]

Meet the GRL PWR Gang, a collective of girls set for world domination.

We interviewed Artist/Designer Elizabeth Ilsley, Photographer/Director Millicent Hailes and Marketing Consultant Jessica Riches; just three members of GRL PWR Gang, a collective of influential women who have joined forces to promote female empowerment and support other women working in creative industries. 

Founded by Kirsti Hadley and Kylie Griffiths, the GRL PWR Gang works together to provide opportunities for like-minded women to come together for girl-chat, media networking, creative support, team projects and sharing of ideas.

Their objective is to encourage and inspire other young women to access the creative industries as a potential career path, and plan to pass on their collective knowledge to the next generation of young girls via digital engagement and live events. They will soon host talks and mentor young girls on body image, beauty, feminism, social media and how to access that dream job!

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DTL: Our research revealed that 35% of teenage girls believe that their gender will have a negative effect on their career. What are your thoughts on this, based on your experiences?

  • Jessica: It’s true. But if you’re prepared for that, you can be aware of it. Call it out when you see it, know your rights, educate yourself and join any organisations or unions available to you for extra support.
  • Millicent: It’s really sad. There have been shoots in the past where I have been mistaken for the assistant, and my male assistant is assumed to be the photographer, just because he’s an older guy. This has happened before we’ve even set up or spoken to anyone, so it really is based purely on gender, and who is perceived to be the most ‘capable’ or ‘powerful’. It frustrates me, but ignorance isn’t going to keep me from furthering my career.

DTL: Did you ever experience bullying? If so can you tell us what happened and how you dealt with it?

  • Elizabeth: Unfortunately, like a lot of people, I experienced bullying throughout primary and secondary school. I had ginger hair and have a prominent mole next to my mouth, so kids used to tease me constantly about my appearance. I was in such turmoil during that time; I tried to cut my mole off with a razor when I was in Year 8, after a group of boys wouldn’t stop calling me ‘moley’! But my god, I am so glad I never had it removed – having a noticeable mole on my face makes me unique, and it has become one of my favourite features now!
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Elizabeth Ilsley
  • Millicent: One of the many times I was suspended at school, was for not intervening in a situation when I was aware that a girl was being bullied. Maybe the teachers thought that, because I was outspoken and confident, I should have stepped in and helped the girl. My mum always tells that story to my little brother and sister who are just starting secondary school – the tale of when their older sister was a coward. I still feel really awful about it now.
  • Jessica: All you have to do is go online to see the disgusting abuse directed at people – particularly women, LGBT+ people and ethnic minorities. I work with a number of bloggers, journalists and celebrities on their personal profiles online, and it makes them want to give up their platform. All you can do is tell them to focus on the people who are positively impacted by their words; they far outweigh the cowardly, unhappy few.

DTL: What advice would you give to someone who may be experiencing bullying right now?

  • Millicent: Tell somebody right away – a problem shared is a problem halved. Don’t isolate yourself, situations seem worse when you feel alone, there are people out there who are going through the same thing as you. More than you think.
  • Jessica: You are not alone. If you can’t get a support network in real life it will definitely exist online – Ditch the Label is a great example of this. You can visit their website and access support at the click of a button if you need to.

DTL: If you could go back in time, what one thing would you tell your younger self?

  • Elizabeth: You are not ugly. You are as funny and important as everyone else at school. There is no one else like you and life will get really, really fun as soon as you turn 18. Also, stop worrying about the colour of your hair and the socks that you wear.
  • Millicent: Embrace who you are. Wear weird clothes, watch weird movies. You’re great and don’t give a s*&% if someone says otherwise.
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Millicent Hailes

DTL: What are your most prominent challenges, and how do you overcome them?

  • Jessica: Being taken seriously as a young woman in business is hard. So many people have said to me ‘you’ve done so much for a girl so young’. They’d never say anything like that if I was a man.

DTL: What is it like to be a woman in 2016 and what needs to change?

  • Jessica: I have a very specific experience of being a woman in 2016, as a straight, white, cis-gendered woman with a degree and a middle-class background. I deal with sexist comments disguised as compliments, and have probably lost out on some income as a result of this – but I’m one of the lucky ones. There are lots of mainstream movements to make life better for women in 2016, but the majority of movements still need to broaden, listen to, and represent the needs of all women, not just those like me.
  • Millicent: Even in 2016 it’s important to remember how far we’ve come together, and how far we still have to go for gender equality and women’s rights.
  • Elizabeth: I want to keep this positive so, to be a woman in 2016 is…fun! Not in every aspect, of course, but in the main, it is incredibly fun! We are free to express ourselves, and there are opportunities out there for us – you just gotta find them.
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Jessica Riches

DTL: Is there anything you would like to add?

  • Millicent: I’m always available to speak to anybody that needs my help or advice. I might not be as good as Ditch The Label, but I’m still here!
  • Elizabeth: Enjoy being a woman – it’s a blessing, but don’t hate on men. Men are a blessing too!

Learn more about GRL PWR Gang here: Girls Girls Girls

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Read our full Gender Report here: https://www.ditchthelabel.org/gender-report-2016/

Whether you are being bullied, or you are aware of someone who is, Ditch the Label is here to help: https://www.ditchthelabel.org/get-help/

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  • The enneagram
    Hiii Wamna know about the healthy and unhealthy phases of each enneagram number.
  • My intro
    Hi, I'm Terra. Im from the USA and my pronouns are she/her. I've been questioning myself a lot this past year after the end of a 5yr hetero relationship and after a long truthful talk with my college bff i finally admitted the truth to myself. I'm still terrified to tell anyone as when my […]
  • Coming out/ranting about my mother
    I’m bi and I have come out to my two best friends. I really want to come out to someone else-especially my mom- but I know it isn’t a good idea. Almost everyone I know that I could come out to is either really homophonic or can’t keep a secret. I’ve been thinking about telling […]
  • Hey!
    Hey I’m new here. I’m bi and I’m not out to anyone but my two best friends. I’m 13 and it’s nice to have this club. Thanks!
  • I’m Danielle
    I’m completely lost and I don’t know what to do! I have 3 children and my husband left me 7 months ago for someone else and the break up is just getting harder and harder. My mental and physical health has declined a lot.
  • Am i gonna stay like this for ever ?
    For my whole life i was heterosexual.... (Dont ask me how do i know that. I just simply do.)but 8 months ago after brake up with the first love in my life i just simply stopped being into girls, and for last 3 or 4 months i actualy feel gay.... It happend litteraly forom day […]