Billie, a “female-first” razor company, has defied years of advertising wisdom in its latest ad campaign by not only showing women shaving off real body hair — but also by directly stating that women do not have to be hairless to be beautiful. As part of a new campaign titled Project Body Hair, Billie pointedly observed that for decades razor commercials had shown women shaving legs and armpits that were already conspicuously hairless — sending the message that if one wants to be considered beautiful or be taken seriously, even the slightest hint of body hair is unacceptable. To help push back against this seemingly timeless message, Billie said that it had compiled an image library of women sporting body hair and that it is asking women to submit their own images to add to the collection. In their new ads, the razor supplier also showed women either shaving their body hair or choosing not to remove the hair.
“However, whenever, if ever you want to shave, we’ll be here,” the new ads conclude.
While women commenters on YouTube and social media reacted with enthusiasm to the new initiative, not everyone was fully convinced of the company’s sincerity. In an Op-Ed for Slate, Rachelle Hampton wrote that despite the new ads’ progressive tone the company was, in the end, in the business of selling razors and the message that women should shave their body hair remains fundamentally unchanged. Billie might also be ahead of the curve on responding to a larger cultural shift — while a 2015 study found that 85 percent of women removed body hair daily, another study from 2017 found that nearly one in four women between the ages of 16 and 24 no longer bother shaving their armpit hair.
Watch an ad for Billie’s Project Body Hair below.
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