Body hair. It's still a very much-discussed topic when it comes to women or female-presenting non-binary folk. Some brand it as disgusting if a woman doesn't shave, whereas others believe it should be a choice, as it's natural for it to grow anyway right?
Well, a student from Richmond, Virginia has revealed they now feel more confident since they embraced their body hair, which is now longer than their boyfriends!
Barbara Hovermale, who identifies as non-binary and uses the pronoun they, said they've wanted to stop shaving for years, however, it was their partner Jayvien Peakf who "fueled" them to "never touch" their hair again.
Now, the twenty-year-old took to TikTiok to inspire others to ditch the razor and embrace their natural hair. They consistently post videos and post images on social media.
Barbara, who is studying for a master's degree, said they use TikTok to "make others feel comfortable in their own bodies" and posts videos celebrating every aspect of themselves, as per the Daily Mirror.
They then explained in a video that their boyfriend "completely embraces them as they come" and in doing so has helped them to feel "proud" when looking in the mirror.
Barbara handles the hate comments with pride, with one video showing their leg next to their boyfriends to show how their leg hair was longer than his. They have since amassed 5.8 million likes, encouraging others to see their body hair as "beautiful" - even inspiring one user to wear a bikini for the first time in their lives.
According to the Daily Mail, the positive comments outweigh the negatives. Barbara said: 'It probably shook that person [who left the comment] because they're like "oh, you're telling me that someone's partner can actually be attracted to that?"
@barb1a Reply to @finch.69 summer 21 we givin our leg hair designs ##fyp ##bodyhair ##bodypositivity
♬ original sound - barbie
"I think it's pretty interesting because I definitely do have more body hair than my partner, for sure, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I just decided if I can have both of us [in the video] then it goes to show my partner has comfort in me, I have comfort in them, we're comfortable together and able to deal with some of the hate that people spew while showing people how confident we are as a unit," they explained.
"When I met him I had body hair and he completely appreciated and valued me from the start. He just recognizes that every part of my body is part of Barb, and that's the person that he loves. We both kind of just observe each other and in moments will admire all of the details, and I think that's so beautiful.
"My leg hair is pretty soft because sometimes I condition it and if we're cuddling he will rub and play with it - it's kind of comforting and something that he likes to touch."
Barbara said they first began shaving when they were just 9 years old. They were never "obsessed" over it, but would do it every 3 months or so until they became a competitive swimmer when they always had to have smooth legs.
They said they stopped shaving their armpits back in 2019 and completely stopped shaving their legs early last year. However, when they were younger, they realized that the only reason they ever wanted to shave was to impress a guy they had a crush on.
"I remember asking my mom if I could shave just for my crush. When I look back on that now, I really hate that that was the mindset that I had when I first wanted to get into it because I realized that I was buying into societal norms.
"What really fueled me to completely be myself was my current partner. When I first met him I talked about how I don't like having to get rid of my body hair and really like it and he was like 'so, just don't do anything with it, just leave it.'"
"When we met I did already have body hair and just being with a partner who appreciated me as I came helped me to also realize "wow, I can be me and other people will appreciate that", and that helped me take that final step to just never touch it again."
Now they've ceased picking up the razor, they explain how they feel "super-great" and are able to be the person they are comfortable being.
"It's a huge part of me that I never shy away from and if I ever get any rude comments about it I just don't care because I feel like I'm so confident, and that's the most important thing for a human to be."
Would you be prepared to ditch the raxors for good?