Meet the 19 Year Old Standing Up Against Body Hair Expectations

With the great power of being a woman comes great responsibility.

We can give the gift of life, make for loving friends and… you can always count on us for having brilliantly smooth hair free bodies?

The debate on the differing beauty standards for men and women has been argued for decades, but it is still generally expected that women get rid of every strand of hair on their bodies as soon as they push through their skin.

Katherine Wall, 19, from Penkridge decided to take a stand against society’s expected body hair standards by letting proudly hers grow free for all to see.

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“I started fighting against body standards when i was 15 years old as shaving irritated my skin and i didn’t even want to think about waxing,” Katherine said. “I started not to shave my leg hair at 16 and then I’d only shave my under arms once every couple of months. Now I rarely do i , maybe only every 4-6 months.”

Katherine says removing body hair is just part of the ridiculous beauty standard society expects,”I think for a lot of women the expectations are unrealistic and quite brutally outrageous! The way society sees body hair on women is crazy. You can shave or not whether you chose to – it’s your decision, don’t feel pressured by society.”

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Body hair is something we all know everyone gets, but the media has programmed society to thinking that this is something women should never let the light of day see.

“The TV ads out there start shaving or waxing with no hair there to begin with,” Katherine said. “Everyone knows what a razor does, but we’re still not allowed to see it!”

Because of our media blackout of body hair on women, people often have negative reactions to girls like Katherine.

“There are people that have said it’s ‘disgusting’ and other words like that,” revealed Katherine. “And then there’s the dirty looks. It’s just funny to me, since I don’t know the person so it doesn’t effect me.”

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Katherine stresses that she isn’t trying to force her practice of not shaving on other women though, she just wants it to be an option for them, “I encourage other women to shave for their own reasons not because society says you should or because their partner wants them to!”

Women should feel free to do with their body what they please, and Katherine says you don’t have to grow your body hair yourself to join the fight against beauty standards, “We should urge the media to show more natural bodies, normalising the image of body hair, and we should celebrate the women who let their hair grow just as much as we celebrate the ‘smooth as a dolphin’ bodies.”

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As for Katherine herself, “Growing out my body hair makes me feel empowered and confident!”

And that’s something everyone in society should aim for and be happy about.

15 Year Old Receives Lengthy Sexist Spring Formal Dress Code

It has been long argued in feminism that the road of gender inequality begins in school, where we are taught that girls and boys are supposed to act and be treated differently – from subject choices, to playground fun, to uniform.

One school, Metro Academic Studies in Atlanta US, has taken girls’ dress codes to the extreme with their sexist rules for their spring formal attire.

With the long list of rules urging female students to wear riding shorts underneath their dresses and to measure each bit of skin on show, and less than two lines for the male students, Flannery Bogost, 15, says her school is simply teaching its students that a woman’s worth depends on what she’s wearing.

Flannery received this dress code with her sign up form for the spring formal, “My reaction to it was just disbelief,” she said.

The 15 year old student was shocked that the school couldn’t see the issue in giving girls considerably more rules in the dress code than the boys, “My school is more on the conservative side, often indicating that what females wear somehow define your level of professionalism or tastefulness.”

The problem with this, according to Flannery is that schools such as hers are raising girls to see themselves in terms of how men will judge them and eventually lose their own identity.

“The wider message this is sending to society is that somehow what a woman wears defines her worth and when we teach this to young females, we are teaching them to objectify themselves and other women,” Flannery warned.

She continued, “When girls are brought up surrounded by these rules and people telling them how to look and act, we are teaching them to lose sight of themselves and only do what men think appropriate.”

Standing up to your school can be hard, however, as students often don’t have as much of a voice and power as teachers. “There is definitely more both I and other students can do to better resolve this issue though,” Flannery said.

MPs in the UK have recently debated sexist dress codes in the workplace following a petition where women are fighting against being told that they have to wear high heels and revealing clothing.

What’s interesting is that females are told throughout school they mustn’t look sexual, only for them to be told the opposite once they reach the workplace, showing a women have to adapt to society’s demands on their appearances without any say themselves.

“A person’s style or sexuality should never affect how seriously we take them and how they are treated in every day life,” Flannery said, but unfortunately, this is exactly what schools appear to be preparing females to face throughout their whole life.

Male Feminists: The Rise of Feminism’s Surprising Ally

Think feminism is just a woman’s issue?

Think again.

Here at Feminist Fairground, we are strong believers that feminism is not just a girls only club – men are invited too.

We believe feminism needs the help of men, and in turn we want to help them too.

Male feminists are coming out, loud and proud joining our quest for equality, showing the world feminism is no longer to be thought of as the angry woman brigade.

Anthony, 21 from Derby, said, “I previously thought that feminism was merely women spouting nonsense about how women were superior to men, but after reading around the subject I discovered there was more to it. Feminism to me recognises the issue of inequality for both men and women.”

Paul, 63 from Reddich, calls himself a feminist because he wants males and females to be equal, “I believe women should be treated the same as men in all areas of life. Seeing the way women are often disregarded, treated as second class citizens and denied certain rights, made me realise I didn’t subscribe to the views of the majority of men. It made me realise I sympathised with feminists.”

Some men on social media have hit out against feminism, forming their own satirical men’s movement ‘meninism’, mocking feminism and arguing men too are objectified and discriminated against.

Although this is a valid point, meninists have used hating on women and making sandwich jokes to argue their point.

Anthony says there is a clear difference between ‘meninists’ and male feminists: “’Meninists’ are clearly uneducated about the beliefs of most feminists and if they did more research they would realise the stupidity of their actions on social media.”

“The hatred and taboo feminism still faces in the 21st century is appalling,” Paul said with a sigh, but the help of men joining our movement, the word of feminism can be transformed to something taken seriously by all men.

Feminism is argued to be in its fourth wave now, with the issues it is concerned about being no longer just women’s issues, but men’s too. Feminism is taking into account paternity rights, male victims of abuse, and the stereotypes of masculinity.

For people like Anthony, this is why feminism is needed. “There is still plenty of discrimination in society, for example, men are looked down upon for doing jobs that are usually associated with women such as cooking and cleaning.”

Feminism wishes to remove the discrimination for either gender entering the job they want to, whether it be women in STEM jobs or males in childcare jobs.

Anthony says, “I admire the views of feminists who suggest that women and men should have the same rights and freedoms as each other.”

“The determination of women to keep fighting for the right to equality is something all men should be inspired by,” according to Paul.

If you’re a men and you believe in the equality between both genders, we at Feminist Fairground declare you a male feminist, something you too should call yourself with pride.

Being a male feminist doesn’t mean you have to shout it from the rooftops or tattoo ‘FEMINIST’ on your forehead, try joining a women’s rights protest, voicing your opinion on gender discrimination in your classroom or workplace, or supporting your local domestic violence charities.

Read here to find about the feminist social media accounts you can follow to help learn more about what you can do.

Birmingham City University Speaks Out for Female Empowerment

Birmingham City University launched its very own Women Speak Out event in light of International Women’s Day on 8 March.

The university joined many others across the UK to speak out for female empowerment with a campaign of powerful images.

The Women Speak Out campaign started off at Oxford University 4 years ago, and has recently made its way to Birmingham City University (BCU).

Seeing the success of the Oxford Speak Out campaigns, BCU’s Agape society decided to launch their own, inviting girls to take pictures writing inspiring messages on their body that they wanted to share with other women.

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(Credit: Rebecca Chivers)

The powerful photographs contained messages of motivation to other women, like “We can and we will,” and “Know your worth.”

(Credit: Rebecca Chivers)

Following this, an exhibition was held, showcasing the photographs and allowing visitors to share their own messages on post-it notes.

Credit: Instagram/WomenSpeakOutBCU 

Sandeep, from the Agape Life society was a key part in running the Women Speak Out, sat down with Feminist Fairground after the exhibition to rave about the success of the empowering event.

“The overall message we’re trying to get across is to empower women to know their worth, know that they’re loved and to get girls united from all different backgrounds,” said Sandeep.

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(Credit: Rebecca Chivers)

“My favourite image is one I did with my best friend and Lydia, who’s been running BCU Speak Out too. We’re all of different backgrounds, but the image shows we are all equal regardless of skin colour,” Sandeep said. “It’s so powerful, especially with what’s going on in the media today I think it’s very much needed.”

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(Credit: Rebecca Chivers)

Campaigns like this are important in encouraging women to use their voices to tell the world their stories with relatable quotes.

“With the messages that these girls are giving, they have stories behind them – they’re not just clichés,” said Sandeep. “It’s beautiful that we can share meaningful stories like this. And it’s also needed to push for equality.”

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(Credit: Rebecca Chivers)

BCU Women Speak Out is a fantastic example of a feminist event that is all inclusive, with Sandeep saying, “We can all come together with a common cause; that we just want women to be valued – but not just women, men too.”

Despite only featuring women in the photos, BCU Women Speak Out is a campaign inclusive for men also, as Sandeep said, “We’ve had men come along and write really good inspiring messages as well. That’s been great.”

BCU Women Speak Out has been met with more than positive reception all round.

Sandeep gushed, “From word of mouth and through social media this has really blown up bigger than expected and people have seen what we’re doing and loved it.”

Sandeep took a moment to give praise to the photographer, SnapScratch’s Rebecca Chivers for taking the images professionally, “It meant people could see we did not do this half-heartedly, we wanted to go big for our first time.”

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(Credit: Rebecca Chivers)

BCU Women Speak Out want their images to create a lasting impression on women: that they are valued and created with purpose.

“For women, in the media there is a representation that we should fit a certain standard, that we should do this and do that, so through our images women can actually come together and empower one and other to know that are valued as they are.”

There’s more to expect from BCU Speak Out, as they head towards launching their next event for women.

“What’s next is a follow on event from the Agape Student Life society called What Women Want, and it’s 3 sessions and the first one focuses on identity. Since we’re told to look a certain way it’s important for us to sit down and look at what our own identities are.”

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(Credit: Rebecca Chivers)

The first What Women Want session begins on the 8th of May., and more information can be found on the BCU Agape Student Life page.

To see more of the images taken by BCU Women Speak Out, visit their Instagram page.