Anne Florence Neveu for 'Natural Beauty' by Ben Hopper (2017)
“I came at a point in my life where I changed my lifestyle completely. I realised how much of what I did day after day was due to the mechanic of routine and not from my own choice. I wanted to cut the shit form my life and focus on what made me happy and what fascinated me. It was a tricky process, how do I know whether I give a shit or not about something I did everyday for my entire life? Do I need two different shampoos and an after shampoo and a deodorant and a razor and all the other stuff that is around me? At first, I was really unsure whether shaving was something I cared about. So I decided to give it a try and see how that felt. I remember monitoring the growth by pulling on the hair and looking at it closely every now and again. It seemed like something completely alien growing out of my body. It’s been about two years since I stopped shaving so I guess the answer is that I clearly don’t care.
When I stopped shaving, it opened an unexpected new relationship with my body. I struggled with anorexia and bulimia for years. After being at war with my body, it has become my battleground for self-expression and empowerment. Having hair everywhere - not just in the 'acceptable' spots - created a new space for the enjoyment of sensations that I couldn’t feel when I was busy plucking my body and trying to make it fit in uncomfortable clothes I could barely move in. It was like learning to enjoy my body as a whole, without separating it between the parts that I thought were ok and the ones I wanted to change. I was sunbathing one time and the wind went through my armpit hair, which tickled my chin. I burst out of laughter; it was so odd and enjoyable at the same time.
I got some mixed response. My mother told me: “You will shave that.” It was an order not a question. All my younger sisters were adamantly defending my choice though. I hope they keep in mind that they too have the choice when they start their puberty. My closest friends are hairy human beings too; it creates this kind of microcosm where hair crops up on bodies without problems.”
– Anne-Florence Neveu (2017)