“The world pretends it doesn’t exist,” says photographer Ashley Armitage, who’s teamed up with female-first company Billie to re-frame beauty in the #ProjectBodyHair campaign.
Judging by the smooth, hairless bodies hitherto used to advertise women’s razor blades, you wouldn’t know female body hair even existed.
“Why is showing female body hair so taboo?” questions Armitage, who shot and directed this campaign for U.S. company Billie, purveyors of ‘razors for womankind’.
Known as @ladyist on Insta, Armitage has been building a name for herself as an artistic challenger focused on ‘taking back what’s ours’. Her photography throws light on aspects of womanhood which are somehow ‘not okay’ to portray in the traditional marketing sense – plenty of body hair, period stains, big knickers, stretch marks.
Focused on creating “the complete female gaze”, she says her images are often collaborative, with the models taking agency over what to depict in a joint project of shifting perceptions. She started taking photos while growing up because she saw teenagers being either stereotyped or objectified. Her aim was both to tell her own story of girlhood and create work that would allow other young girls in an image-conscious world to feel less pressured about how they ‘should’ look or be.
While ads for women’s razors are not new, they tend to show blades gliding smoothly over shaving cream to reveal flawless skin rather than illustrate any of the hair they are actually made to remove in the first place.
This Billie ad strikes a first.
Calling out “a serious lack of body hair on the internet,” Billie has created #ProjectBodyHair, which encourages readers to share fuzzy pictures for their image library. It also makes very clear that body hair is natural and can be shared or shaved without judgement.
“It’s your hair, and no-one should tell you what to do with it”, says Billie.
But if you do choose to shave, they’ve got the tackle…
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