Imogen Rose Palmer for "Natural Beauty"
“I started shaving at a young age but didn’t understand that I was disempowering myself by doing so.
Times have long gone by where the colour of your skin denoted your position in society. Is body hair, something that is natural with biological purpose really any different to the skin? I think most of us would answer no. I don’t believe it’s anyone’s fault the way that this societies preconceived ideology of beauty has become. I just think that seeing a woman with bodily hair in public has become such a rare occurrence these days that it’s a shock, and lot of the time we instantly take dislike to what we aren’t used to. So by showing my underarms in their natural form, I hope to lessen the impact of shock and judgment on other women who decide to give themselves this freedom. The more people start to see what a natural woman looks like, the less of a deal it will be until hopefully someday it will be not important at all. I also just really want to be able to be myself, without the pressure of having to change myself for other people’s sake.
It’s part of a much bigger picture and this isn’t about me wanting all women to be hairy, it’s simply a wish for women to be able to express themselves in the way that they want without unjust judgment and expectation from others. Empowering women yes, but also empowering men to feel and think the way they want to, instead of just following societies ideologies of beauty standards. It is a really important role of the man to empower his woman, by accepting her and encouraging her to express herself and be herself.
As a Yoga teacher and Massage therapist, it can be hard sometimes as I fear that clients might mistake my choice of freedom for uncleanliness, or think it must be some sort of radical act of spiritualism that scares them from my classes! But this fear also pushes me forwards; women with underarm hair shouldn’t be so shocking! Who said women should start removing their hair to be accepted or look feminine? When I woke up to the idea that I looked like a little girl when I shaved my female areas, I started to question the people (my first boyfriend included) who encouraged this. Why did they want me to look like I hadn’t reached puberty yet? So from then on, my outlook had changed and I grew my hair. From time to time I do tidy my hair, but this is for myself and because I like to feel good in my body.
Now, I can’t think of anything more feminine and sexy than a woman who proudly shows her body in its natural form. Hair is a symbol of maturity.”
– Imogen Rose, a Yoga teacher working in England. February 2017 (photographed February, 2015).