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.”