Pippa Percy for 'Natural Beauty' by Ben Hopper (2017)
“When I was growing up I had a very strong urge to conform to society's expectation of women's bodies. I also had that desire to be "grown up" before my time. I associated shaving as part of being grown up. I recall the most exciting part of getting my very first underarm hair was being able to shave it off instantly.
My opinions growing up were that excessive hair on women wasn't attractive, which is very different from my current views.
I stopped shaving 10 years ago, when I first went travelling. Whilst living out of a backpack for a couple of years, I realised what I slave I had been to various products and procedures, including shaving, that are considered "normal routine" in our society. I stopped washing my hair, using soaps, deodorant. For me it was really amazing just to be and feel natural and travelling enabled this, partly due to practical reasons but also due to having the time and space to reflect on our society.”
I loved the feeling of not shaving, it was liberating and I felt more real, more feminine and more human. I felt relieved that I didn't feel the pressure anymore to adapt my body from it's natural form just because we have been conditioned to believe that women should be hairless in certain areas.
People's responses varied of course. Sometimes women would compliment me but claim they wouldn't do it themselves, some friends teased me in the early days. But now either people are becoming more accepting or I just don't notice reactions anymore. I admit it took a few years to be totally confident with body hair in all public situations, but I'm now proud to hold my arm up and expose my hairy armpit on the underground. I even enjoy any shocked or disgusted looks, as it feels important to me to educate people and exhibit what women's armpits are supposed to look like!”
– Pippa Percy (2017)