Standing Up For Hairy Legs & the Women Who Sport Them (Like Man Repeller's Leandra Medine)

Can we *please* stop making a big deal about leg hair?

Victoria Christie
Leandra Medine takes a shoefie with leopard flats and anklets showing off her hairy legs
(Photo: instagram.com/leandramcohen)

We love a good #shoefie, but when Man Repeller founder Leandra Medine Cohen posted hers on Instagram, it made more than just a fashion statement.

Rather than the attention being on her chic cheetah-printed shoes or colourful anklets, people in the comments couldn’t stop talking about her unshaven legs. Despite the many positive remarks praising the fashion editor’s realness, there were also a handful of trolls saying things like “get a wax, for crying out loud,” “omg no welcome to the jungle” and “whats with the hairy legs?” (*cue eyeroll*)

Medine Cohen clapped back at the haters the next day, posting another #shoefie on Insta with the caption, “I was/am not trying to make a statement with my body hair so much as I am lazy.” YAAAS!

View this post on Instagram

Another day, another anklet, and behold a set of shaved legs. Not in response to Monday’s shoefie but mostly because I was/am not trying to make a statement with my body hair so much as I am lazy. Tbh, I prefer being shaven but often prioritize other things over it. To that point, tho, I had a pretty visceral reaction to the comments that responded to those who asked why I hadn’t shaved or waxed (meaning I was in disagreement with those who got mad at the people who wondered why I have not shaved.) Disagreement on an expression does not have to necessitate polarity though recently it seems like it does but I feel pretty strongly that we can be respectful in our differing opinions and still exist within the same feed — comment thread, even. K Luvubye

A post shared by Leandra (Medine) Cohen (@leandramcohen) on

Medine Cohen is not the first woman in the spotlight to flaunt her leg hair or talk openly about the ridiculous societal obsession with hairlessness—actress Bella Thorne, model Tyra Banks and even bad gal Riri have taken pics showing off their fuzzy legs and we are *here* for it.

The look has even trickled down into mainstream advertising with brands like Adidas, which featured Swedish artist and model Arvida Byström on its Instagram rocking her all-natural, unshaven legs.

On Instagram, #hairywomen has 12,574 (and counting) posts of women showing off their body hair (from colourful armpits to facial hair). As someone who has never shaven her legs (I have light hair and kinda dig being hairy; it feels like I’m flipping a middle finger to beauty standards), it’s incredibly refreshing and empowering to see a diverse group of women unapologetically embracing their natural bodies—free from societal pressures telling them to be hairless.

There are only a handful of moments in my life where I was **this close** to giving in and shaving my legs. The first was during my high school fashion show, when the director came backstage and told us that the audience could see some models with unshaven legs and that “we better take care of it before we go back on the runway.” (I had just started to appreciate how my hairy stems made me different and I wasn’t going to jeopardize that feeling for a fashion show). Another time, this guy I had a crush on brushed his leg against mine when we were riding the bus together and said “wow, you feel like a man.” For a 16-year-old girl, that comment was seriously crushing. But despite the pressure to conform, I left my legs alone (and instead removed that misogynist jerk from my life).

Full disclosure: my light blonde hair lets me get away with going au natural more easily than women who have darker, coarser and more visible hair. Outside of high school, I’ve rarely gotten called out for not shaving. Until I mentioned it today, none of my colleagues even knew about my hairy legs, despite the fact it’s the height of summer and I’m showing more leg than usual.

However hairy (or not) you are, body hair is ultimately a you-do-you thing. Case in point: In a follow-up IG post, Medine Cohen had noted that she had since shaved—not because of the negative comments, but because that’s her damn preference. Similarly, I’m going to keep letting my leg hair grow, because that’s what feels the most like *me.*

Reactive:

Random Q: How Do I Get Rid of Nipple Hair?
9 Millennials On What Their Moms Taught Them About Hair Removal
“I Was Scared to Be Intimate”: Dana Suchow on Learning to Love Her Leg Hair

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