French women are campaigning on social media against the stigma over female body hair after a teenager became sick of being harassed at school.
Using the hashtag #LesPrincessesOntDesPoils [‘Princesses have hair’] – which became the top trend on French Twitter – women shared images of themselves with un-shaved legs and arms in a protest against body shaming.
The hashtag was launched by a 16-year-old schoolgirl in Belgium, Adele Labo, who said she had “suffered enormously” from bullying at school when she refused to shave.
I think society stigmatises women, there is massive social pressure over body hair.
Speaking to the French Huffington Post, Adele added that many remarks made to her would sound all-too familiar to many young girls: “You look like a gorilla… it’s ugly.”
And her words definitely struck a chord: the hashtag received over 25,000 mentions as the debate rumbled on, and women began sharing images of themselves with hair on their arms, legs, stomachs and underarms.
Adele clarified that she did not think all women should avoid shaving altogether, but rather they should be allowed to freely choose how to treat their own bodies.
Body hair removal dates as far back as ancient Egypt, but became widespread in society during the 20th century when Gillette sold its first razor for women in 1915, declaring body hair to be "unsightly".