Botanical Body Hair, a new Instagram hashtag challenge is a humorous yet thought-provoking look at our attitudes towards femininity. It’s quite rare these days that something I see on the internet makes me squeal with delight. But boy, squeal I did, when I first came across a new tag on Instagram called #botanicalbodyhair.
The Botanical Body Hair Instagram Challenge
After posting an image of herself on Instagram with a flower beard, Sarah Ferguson aka @sarah_louise_ferg caught the imagination of many other women (including me). Encouraged by the response, together with her friend Patricia aka @unfounddoor , #botanicalbodyhair was born.
Sarah had the idea whilst taking part in the Bloom and Grow e-course by Me and Orla. Her assignment that week was to create something ‘unexpected’. Whilst deciding what top to wear, the thought of a beard of flowers crossed Sarah’s mind.
In her blog post about starting the #botanicalbodyhair tag, she talks about finding it hilariously annoying that her choice of top was dictated by the fact that she hadn’t done the necessary ‘skimming’:
I’ve been brought up in a society and country that finds female body hair to be disgusting, unhygienic and something that ‘hippies do’ Why though? Who says?
If you’re female you will know this problem too well.
I’m the first to bail out of a family trip to the swimming pool if I haven’t pruned my lady garden. Or make the penguin walk of shame, my arms tightly glued to my sides, because my under arms resemble the local scruffy allotments, sprouting unwelcome shoots of shame. My sons look at me with disgust if they see a sprouting hair from under my arms. And my daughter shuns my offer to play in the bath with her, if I haven’t shaved my legs because they are too ‘scratchy’. Hell, I even went through the agony of a bikini wax when my children were due to be born, for fear of being ‘untidy’.
This obsession started with a throw away comment as a child. Being very fair-skinned and starting puberty, a dark hair was spotted when I was wearing a bikini.
Screeeaaams in horror. I felt immediately self-conscious. An obsession was born.
I’ve had another hair problem too, on my head. Mainly I don’t have enough of it. 20 years of graves disease (my thyroid has a hissy fit every so often), and horrendous post-partum hair loss, my hair has been a major obsession for the best part of 30 years.
What is clear from Sarah’s blog post is I’m obviously not the only one with this obsession. Many women have opened up about their hair and body issues as a result of the #botanicalbodyhair tag.
That’s what makes this tag so brilliant. It was born out of creative thinking and frustration. Then moved on to inspire other women to share their body issues. And their botanical body hair.
Scroll through the gallery, you can’t help but smile. But you’ll also find yourself thinking about your own attitude to body hair. To your overall body image.
But whoa there tiger! In no way am I ready to go au naturel. Furthermore, I shall continue to prune my bush, snip my stragglers, tame those spiders legs and recoil my clock springs.I’ll continue to epilate my armpits. I feel cleaner and lighter without the weight of any wild body whiskers. The days of Hollywoods and Brazilians, are thankfully, mostly, behind me. I might be conditioned to feel better without the fuzz, but I do it for comfort now, rather than because I think it looks better for my partner.
I find it funny that as females we are told to get rid of it in order to be attractive, the same as we’re told to get rid of our grey hair or stretch marks or cellulite. Why doesn’t the same go for men? We can have very clean, hairy armpits, Tiger stripes and dimply thighs if we damn well please and STILL be absolutely beautiful.
Isn’t it interesting that when I started sprouting body hair, it was seen as a pain in the arse, something to control. Yet when my brother and now my teenage sons sprouted facial hair and hairs on their chest, it’s something to be celebrated. A sign of virility and manhood. Perhaps that’s why hair on a women is seen as the antithesis to femininity? A woman can’t be hairy and sexy right?
To Hair or Not to Hair
My feeling is, as long as a woman is comfortable in her own skin, she can be beautiful, sexy and downright glamorous. With or without hair in all the ‘right’ places.
Do head over to Sarah’s post to read other women’s thoughts and stories around the issue of body hair and female identity as a whole.
My questions to you are…would you stop shaving your body hair? If not, why not? If you have stopped, how do you feel? What reactions do you get?
As serendipity would have it, today I came across this article ‘Saggy Boobs Matter’ written by Chidera Egerue aka TheSlumFlower. I love these lines that sum up much of how I feel:
First of all, women do not exist for the consumption of men. Biologically, our bodies are built for babies. Babies don’t care about how perky your boobs are; they just wanna be fed.
Might I add, when they are first born anyway, babies do not care about your hairy bits.
It’s clear we have all been conditioned to feel our body hair is shameful. To see our sagging boobs hanging in shame, a sad tragedy of age, lifestyle or god forbid, the victims of bearing children (don’t get me started on what happens ‘down there’ after pushing a head the size of a small melon out of a hole the size of a…well that there’s another blog post…body hair and boobs in one post is probably enough for today.).
Actually, I’m with Chidera on this. I embrace my saggy boobs. I’m also with Sarah and Patricia and all the women (and men) who have posted to the #botanicalbodyhair tag. Let’s talk about this very natural subject of body hair.
So yeah! I’ve got hairy bits – what are you gonna do a bout it?!
Have an inspired day
All images (except the Frida illustration) courtesy of Sarah’s blog Brass Buttons & Confidence