07/02/2019 5:15 PM IST

Jameela Jamil Wants To Talk About Women's Arm Hair (Or Lack Of) –Here's Why It Matters

"I was bullied so much for having hairy arms at school."

The first time I shaved my arms I was 12. As someone with naturally dark hair and pale Irish skin, it made sense my arms would be white and hairy, but after months of bullying I decided to do something about it. Today, 15 years later, I still shave them every single day. And I’m not the only one. 

Jameela Jamil has kickstarted a conversation about women’s arm hair on Twitter after posting a photo where hers is clearly visible. The 32-year-old said the hair on her arms has always been “photoshopped out”, but in a campaign image for clothing brand Aerie, this was not the case. 

“Hello arm hairs,” she tweeted. “Nice to see you again. Because you’re a normal and fine thing to have.”

And the response was huge. 

Many women said it had never even occurred to them that the hair was missing in magazines – because they’d become so accustomed to thinking being hairy was wrong. Others said they’d always wanted to remove their arm hair because of cruel comments. I know how they feel. 

The replies to Jamil’s tweet show how many women feel the same. 

Women shared their own experiences of bullying over arm hair:

And others just felt like they had to shave it:

Women thanked Jamil for normalising the hair on their arms:

Jamil said reading some of the stories made her want to cry, adding: ”How society managed to make us hate every inch of ourselves is a crime.”