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!
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.*