Nevada Teen Who Stopped Shaving Says Body Hair Makes Her Feel ‘Empowered’
A dancer who was ridiculed for not shaving her body hair is now urging others to do the same.
Macey Duff, from Nevada, first began shaving her legs at the age of 10 after feeling conditioned to do so by society.
‘I started shaving around the age of 10,’ she explained. ‘For what reason? Just because all the women around me did it, being taught it was what women should do.’ The 19-year-old spent six years feeling too ashamed to let her body hair grow, until a move to Hawaii in 2016 changed her perspective.
‘I would shave any time hair began to grow; I was fearful of anyone even slightly glancing at my armpits, legs and bikini line if I had any visible stubble,’ Macey continued. ‘I struggled with accepting myself.’
With every cut and razor burn from the repetitive motion of swiping away, I was silently despising myself for not being who they wanted me to be – I was angry and frustrated with these conditions.
Everything changed when her twin sister Ally spotted a woman in a one-piece swimming costume, showing off thick leg and armpit hair on the beach.
I felt empowered just hearing about it, although I didn’t witness it personally. I saw a woman on Insta soon after and she had a photo of herself featuring her leg hair that was dark and apparent.
My world shook when I witnessed a woman with body hair for the first time. I could not even describe the relief I felt knowing that there were women out there defying the standards placed for us to appeal to public eye as ‘beautiful’ and ‘sexy’ – even ‘worthy’.
Inspired by the woman, Macey and Ally were moved to embrace their true selves and made the decision to actively stop shaving.
Macey said although it was initially scary wondering what people’s reactions would be, she has no regrets and now has a personal connection with her own body.
I felt inspired and soon experimented with growing out my own body hair. I love it. It was frightening to say the least.
Lifting my armpits in public at first was scary. The stubble was uncomfortable during the first few weeks, yet I can hardly even remember that period because now my hair is long and soft.
But I was able to get past that stage of prickly itchiness. With each new day my hair began to get softer. I grew a very personal connection for my own body. I felt this intense awareness because I no longer felt numb to the atmosphere around me.
While the 19-year-old has received criticism for owning her body hair, Macey believes it has only left her feeling more empowered.
‘I felt a deep appreciation for simply being myself,’ she said. ‘It took about a month for my hair to comfortably grow out, I have not used a razor blade since.’
Despite the negative comments, Macey has the full support of her family, and two sisters even took the no-shaving plunge too.
My family was very supportive, my two sisters and I all stopped shaving and my mother eventually was inspired to discontinue shaving her armpits.
My twin sister and I even dyed our armpit hair for fun in the beginning months. Many friends were inspired and empowered by this, and some of them too, stopped shaving.
I am empowered by the doors it has opened for me, into a happier, less stressful, and inspiring life. I have never known myself so intimately until I stopped shaving. I didn’t really know who I was until I stopped. It is a journey towards deep self-love.
Sadly, Macey’s bravery comes with an unfair share of judgemental opinions from strangers, who have even shared pictures online with nasty comments.
The dancer explained:
I have had people directly point at me and whisper over to the group/person they are with, gawking and laughing at me.
I have had words like ‘you should’ve been thrown away in the trash’, ‘too ugly’ and ‘too disgusting’ to ever have a partner.
I’ve dealt with mean words through the comfort of being myself and honouring myself for allowing my body to be as it is because I know I am worthy and beautiful, beyond my physicality.
I took a picture of myself, expressing my body hair; so content and confident. Not thinking too much of it.
Two years later at a moment in my life that was heavy, I saw this image of myself come up again and I reposted it.
A couple of days later, I woke up to a DM from my friend telling me a post of me was going viral on Facebook.
She sent me the post and I was taken back by the amount of hatred; I honestly had no idea people had such a strong and disgusted feeling towards this body I so deeply love.
That particular photo of me has been featured in viral posts/memes all over Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
At first I felt sad. I felt confused. But I had an epiphany, and I realised that although their words were painful, I was planting seeds. Overall, I feel grateful and blessed that this image was shared so widely.
Now, Macey is urging people to be gentle on themselves if they wish to break society’s perception of beauty, and own the most authentic version of themselves.
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