A year after their first "Project Body Hair" campaign, Billie Razors has launched a new ad film featuring models proudly flaunting their pubic hair, to challenge the concept of a "summer-ready" body.
Body hair on women has long been a point of contention and it's only recently that people are speaking up and fighting back against the oppressive standards of "beauty" set by the media. Female pubic hair, in particular, is something that you don't often see in media at all - women scramble to eliminate it in every way possible, especially as swimsuit season approaches. That's why Billie Razors' new ad campaign is iconic - it features models in swimsuits proudly flaunting their pubic hair as well as underarm hair, whether it's shaved, stubble, or left free to grow, and is actually the first ever to do so.
The company's new "Red, White, and You Do You" advertisement challenges the idea of a "bikini body", specifically, when it comes to body hair on women, questioning the idea that we have to be completely clean shaven and hairless like a sphynx cat to be seen in public in a swimsuit. The ad film features models at the beach and poolside in swimsuits of various kinds, showing off their body hair in whatever form they see fit - whether it's shaved or not. In stark contrast to other razor brands for women which often show a woman gliding a razor over a hairless leg, Billie, which launched in 2018, quickly proclaimed their stance on the matter with their "Project Body Hair" movement. "Every summer, the media pressures female-identifying individuals to achieve that 'beach body,'" said Ashley Armitage, the director and photographer of the new campaign in an interview with Refinery29. "Everywhere we look, we see ads telling us that the only way to look good in a swimsuit is to be thin, fit, and hairless. In this film, we wanted to normalise body hair and show that we have options." The company's previous "Project Body Hair" campaign film showcased fuzzy leg hair and full-grown underarm hair on women, assuring them that the brand was out to normalize the fact that, yes, women have body hair and it's a perfectly natural thing.
"To celebrate our one-year anniversary of Project Body Hair, and the beginning of summer, we wanted to challenge the notion of being "summer ready,"' Georgina Gooley, Billie co-founder, told The Daily Mail. "A lot of women feel the pressure to remove their body hair when they're wearing a bathing suit, so we felt like it was the perfect time to get out there and say, 'no matter what you choose, you're already summer ready."' She added, "Historically, women's razor brands have portrayed body hair as 'socially problematic' in an attempt to sell more razors — they instilled shame around having women's body hair. For the last 100 years, the idea of women's body hair was so taboo that we have been seeing commercials where razors shave completely hairless skin — the entire shaving category refused to show it."
To cast the models for the shoot, Armitage and Gooley searched Instagram for women who were open about their choice to grow out their pubic hair and found Lindsay Zae and Yaminah Mayo, who star in the film. Gooley explained to Refinery29 that while the two women were initially apprehensive of a razor company trying to execute this idea, they were very excited as soon as they realized the intent of the campaign. "I want people to feel free to do what they want with their bodies this summer and every summer," Armitage told Refinery29. "Body hair is a personal choice. Shaving it, waxing it, or growing it are all valid, and all up to the individual." Gooley added that she hoped that society got to a point where an image of a woman with pubic hair or any sort of body hair would not be seen as shocking or even remarkable. "Women are just opting to keep their hair, similar to how a man might like to shave his beard or not," she said. "As we see more of this imagery, and as society becomes more accepting that the choice shouldn't be imposed on women, hopefully we see all types of body hair and it’ll get to a point where, whether you see it or not, you won't be raising your eyebrows."
Most women on social media reacted overwhelmingly positively to Billie's efforts, reiterating the fact that women are tired of being portrayed as silky-smooth. But of course, there were just as many detractors who thought that the ad was "gross" and wondered why a razor brand was even showing hair at all.
On an encouraging note, I peeped the new Billie ad campaign. They are the first female razor company to show body hair (pubic!) in an ad. Lets think about that. Think about all the years of seeing hairless women in the media for YEARS growing up. Gen Z and Gen Alpha are so lucky.— In Diorderly Fashion 🇳🇬 (@DiorderlyF) June 26, 2019
I truly love this. Grow it, shave it, wax it, whatever it. It should be your choice. Normalizing body hair—on women, men, and all gender identities—seems swell to me. What do you think? (image from razor company Billie) https://t.co/8r3s3KFuEP pic.twitter.com/qOuJv5HsYl— Vicki Stiefel (@VickiStiefel) June 28, 2019
Nope. This is more than slightly disturbing. https://t.co/UmfScj3e8r— Meredith Eckard (@FireFreeScents) June 28, 2019
Thanks to billie razors, I’ve lost my appetite https://t.co/DXB40hnzCQ— Sarah the Roma🍻 (@ToothpasteWords) June 27, 2019