I have a long, complicated history with body hair. When my mother was in labour, the doctor thought I was crowning, but instead, I came out butt-first. That’s how hairy I was from the start. My parents called me "little monkey" for most of my childhood, which was sort of cute... until I got to middle school and my classmates turned it into "Godzilla," because I didn’t shave my legs (or arms for that matter). If there's anyone who understands body hair ridicule, it's me. And that’s why I’m here to say this: Leave Bella Thorne’s hairy legs alone.
I’m not normally one to defend Bella Thorne, and I'm certainly not innocent when it comes to celebrity gossip — but hairy legs are a sensitive spot for me. Obviously, I believe women and men should be allowed to do whatever they want with their body hair: Shave it, wax it, laser it, or don’t. But that's not the entire issue here. People aren't just policing her choice to shave — they're also dictating how often they think she should do it.
We can assume Bella's not necessarily growing her leg hair to make a political stance — in fact, she chronicles her hair removal ad nauseum on Twitter. She, like many people, just doesn't care to take a Schick to her legs every damn day. "Fine, I'll shave," Thorne said on Snapchat earlier this afternoon, a sentiment a lot of people can relate to. Her fans reacted with a mix of praise, disgust, and seemingly every emotion in between.
But here's the thing: Why are we even talking about this at all?
Thorne's decision to shave her legs, and exactly how often, is personal. (Just like Miley's choice to not shave her armpits is entirely up to her.) The more we call attention to it, the more we establish female body hair as unusual or other — when, in fact, it's not. According to a recent study in the U.K, more and more women are embracing body hair. (Including, I might add, 15 percent who choose not to shave their legs, a statistic that's up from 9 percent.)
Bella and I and everyone else shouldn't have to answer to anyone else about our hair removal habits. So just leave her, and her legs, alone already.
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