A woman, who was left so embarrassed by her body hair that she would leave her bra on during sex, claims she has finally embraced it.
This is despite the fact that men have offered to lend her their razors to deal with it.
Bethany Burgoyne , 29, was only 11-years-old when she began shaving her armpits and legs.
When the Londoner turned 14 she swapped shaving for an epilator or wax strips because shaving left her covered in red rashes.
She said: “Growing up and seeing so many other people getting surgery, manipulating their bodies and spending their hard-earned cash on changing their appearance was something I understood to be the norm, something which I should be doing too.”
On her routine she said: "I had been removing my body hair from the age of eleven until I was almost twenty-eight. I stopped shaving at fourteen because my hair would grow back so fast and the rashes I got were painful.
"Instead, I used to epilate or wax every few weeks, often by myself because it was cheaper, but boy it was hard work and would take me hours.
"I had excessive ingrown hairs around the tops of my thighs and bikini line, every time my hairs grew back, ever since I was a young teenager.”
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Bethany went on: “I would thread or tweeze my facial hair and beard once or twice a fortnight. I would get spots and ingrown hairs around my jawline as my hairs persisted to grow.
“Tea tree oil and Sudocrem became my best friends during this time. I would struggle as the summer came, not wanting to wear skirts, shorts or crop tops for fear people would see my shoddy attempts of removing my hair.”
Bethany said that she would bleach her arm hair every week because she was ashamed of its thick, dark appearance.
Other than her sisters and closest friends she wouldn’t let anyone see her naked.
Bethany claims that she felt conditioned to remove her body hair because she believed she would be deemed “unattractive”.
She says that she was too ashamed of the hair to wear a bikini, short, skirts or crop tops in public.
The young woman’s body hair, especially her nipple hair, meant that she felt she couldn’t remove her bra during sex.
Bethany became frustrated at the amount of time and money required to maintain her hair removal routine.
So, in November 2018, she decided to stop.
Bethany, a journalist, performer and artist, stopped waxing or depilating her legs, armpits and bum.
In March last year, she also stopped removing her pubic hair and stomach hair.
She claims that learning to accept her natural body took time and she would initially only visit female-only spas and nudist beaches – as they’re thought to be less judgemental spaces.
In August 2019, Bethany was featured on Channel 4’s Naked Attraction.
She says the experience made her feel “liberated” and that she received a positive public reaction with lots of supportive comments.
The young woman said: “"The best comment I got from someone was after they saw me on Naked Attraction and messaged saying 'You appearing on the show with hairy legs and pubes was a breath of fresh air – about bloody time'.
"Women often want to talk about me keeping my beard the most, because it is the thing we talk about the least.
"They often say they think it's brave and they don't know if they could do it too.”
Bethany decided to create an Instagram page dedicated to her journey.
While she says that she often gets negative comments online from men – who offer to lend her their razor or pay for her to get a wax – she says its the best move she’s ever made.
On the haters, Bethany added: "This makes my blood boil; it is a reflection of the male assumption that they can tell a woman how to look and police their identity.
“Putting women down to make themselves feel more superior.”
Bethany believes that adverts and the media play into this dynamic.
She said: "I gained a lot of traction for the images I have shared of my legs in the bathtub. When a body is in the water, the hairs show up more.
"This confused me slightly because what I see are legs, whereas I think it goes to show how few female legs we see with hair (even adverts selling hair removal products don't show any hair on a leg for fear it would be 'unattractive') and so the images became more fascinating to people.”
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Bethany added: “If boys were given razors to shave their leg and armpit hair instead of girls, what would the world look like?
"If adverts didn't tell us that smooth skin was beautiful, if spots weren't deemed to be embarrassing, if wrinkles were seen as wisdom, if men were shown wearing thongs shaking their booties then how would the world be different for us as women?”
She went on to advise: ”Notice every single advert, sign, image and picture that is portraying a woman, then question it. What is it encouraging you to look like, behave like, act like?
"Then reverse the message – you can be a hairy, imperfect, a wonderfully unique body shaped individual and you can shine so bright in your own skin."
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