When society decided body hair was dirty and ugly, Élisabeth Chevillet nodded and got rid of hers. Now the French blogger and basketballer is rethinking everything. After all, to hair is human!


Body Hair with Flowers

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with my body hair. As a kid, having none was my biggest burden—apart from not menstruating and being a virgin. I wanted some so bad, that I once shaved my nude pubic area because it was supposed to increase hair growth. And you know what? As soon as my hair started to appear, I got busy removing every one of them.

I would love to say that being a woman automatically makes me anti-sexist, like being a lesbian would free me from homophobic patterns. Breaking news: it doesn’t. We live in a world ruled by old white men who tell us what to do, what to think, what to want. So, just like you, I was trained to hate my body hair. And let’s be honest, the training worked wonders.


When I decided to go for laser hair removal a few years ago (no, it’s not permanent and yes, it is painful), I had an explanation. I was not unconsciously brainwashed by men and advertising: I did find body hair ugly. So I was convinced I was choosing freely to lie naked in front of a women sending what felt like electric shocks to every inch of my labia. Spoiler alert: this had nothing to do with freedom.

Maybe you’ve noticed, everybody is talking about deconstruction these days. And it’s a good thing. Basically, it means that we are questioning our belief systems, which is rarely a comfortable process.

It was not comfortable to acknowledge my own internalized lesbophobia, especially as a lesbian. It was not comfortable to realize that I was full of sexist, racist, and fatphobic patterns. And it was certainly not comfortable to face that deciding to “permanently” remove my body hair made me a perfect product of mainstream society.


We are trained to think that female body hair is dirty. At school, I remember kids saying that German women didn’t shave their armpits—and it was supposed to be very, very disgusting. I never questioned whether it was true about the Germans or that it was disgusting. I grew up seeing women plucking their eyebrows, epilating their legs, shaving their pubis, and refusing those time-consuming, painful rituals never crossed my mind.

I never asked myself why, on top of the free labor that women were expected to do at home seven days a week, they were supposed to appear as thin, hairless, smiling creatures. I never asked myself if the so-called feminine body was a tool to maintain patriarchy. I never questioned the norm because I was too busy trying to fit in.


Last year, my cousin from Berlin visited me for my birthday. She was wearing short pants and we started to talk about her legs. She hadn’t been shaving them in five years and felt very comfortable with it. Her wife even found her hair extremely sexy, she said. Suddenly, I felt admiration for my younger cousin. I used to be her lesbian role model, but now, she was the cool one. I admired her freedom.

A few weeks later, my girlfriend stopped shaving her armpits. And I must say that my cousin’s wife was right. Gosh, her hair is sexy! I empowered my girlfriend to follow her heart despite the unpleasant comments of her conservative environment.

Each time my friends would walk around with unshaved armpits, legs and bikini lines, I’d celebrate their coolness. But I also strongly felt that I wasn’t ready to be cool myself. Again, I had the perfect explanation: I’m a basketball player. How on earth could have I played with an untamed bush of underarm hair among twenty closely shaved women?


And then, it happened. I don’t really know how. Six months ago, I stopped shaving my body hair. I didn’t make any conscious decision—the idea silently took root in my mind. I would love to say: “It’s so easy. Come on, folks, follow the lead” but it would be a lie. The basketball part was not so hard because it was winter, which means I was wearing leggings and long sleeves.

At first, showering at the gym was uncomfortable. I’m over it now, although it feels like outing myself each time that I have to shower with a new person, because people do notice—and I see them being surprised. But what can I do? Introduce myself saying: “Nice to meet you! My name is Élie and I don’t shave my hair.”

I also struggled during physical intimacy. When my legs started to look like those of a teenage boy, I was not so eager to undress in front of my girlfriend. But everything went better after I talked about it and she made me feel really safe.

Body Hair two Women


So there’s only one problem left: summer is coming. I really love wearing short pants, but I’m not sure that I will be able to cope on the street. Maybe I will start shaving again. Or maybe I will do like my friend Nadine. When she feels vulnerable, she just wears pants.

Whatever happens, there’s an amazing thing about this inner journey: how my own feelings changed. When my hair started to grow, I found my legs really ugly. But I didn’t shave because I was eager to experiment further, growing body hair as an act of rebellion. Over the weeks, I unexpectedly started to like my hairy body. Today, my view has changed radically. When the water runs down my legs, I like the way the hair darkens all over my skin. There are even days where I find it pretty hot. I guess it’s what we call deconstruction: I have unlearned that my body hair is ugly. And I’m damn proud of it.


Élisabeth Chevillet is a French lesbian blogger and activist.

Follow Élie on Instagram: @eliechevillet

Pictures: Anna Ricarda Fabian – Website: – Instagram @theoutfluencerin

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About the Author : Élie Chevillet


  1. Victoria April 7, 2022 at 22:02 - Reply

    I learned that the current fashion to shave pubic hair was driven by the porn industry. All brought about by a filmmaker’s desire to see every lurid detail. That, and not wanting to look like a pre-pubescent girl, stopped me shaving in that area at least…

    • Élie Chevillet April 8, 2022 at 09:02 - Reply

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Victoria. Maybe we can break the norm. I find it very inspiring and empowering to see other women proudly coping their body hair.

  2. Gigi April 25, 2022 at 22:31 - Reply

    Thanks for this blog, I think it’s a really powerful message.
    Shaving is something I started doing as a teenager without questioning it. And worst of all, when I was on vacation with my family, I shamed my mother for her unshaven legs. And it was a winter vacation. I still feel very sorry about it.
    Rethinking and questioning existing social norms, but also the necessary self-confidence to not give in to peer pressure is something that came with age to me.

  3. Judy May 22, 2022 at 13:09 - Reply

    At 65 it’s interesting reading about the hair arguement. When I was in my 20s I went back and forth with the issue as I went back and forth accepting myself as a lesbian. And after I moved from home. While at home it wasnt an option. At least armpits. Mom had this thing about stains and odors left in clothes. Back then there wasnt all these fancy odor sprays and spot removers. Just old fashioned laundry detergents. And grass and blood stains never washed out like they advertised. Nor did a lot of circles it would seem. It was a lost cause as even my dad had to shave under his arms. She was the one doing the laundry after all. And it was only deodorant not antiperspirant. But when even other lesbians would comment about my leg hair i told them it added a whole new level of sensitivity when making love which it does. As does the sensitive underarm as well. And i hit a medium with pubic. I didnt shave but trimmed with scissors. Keeping the upper part long and shaped and trimming the lower part close. Even though I did it as a consideration for my partners I found out that it also added a different sort of sensitivity. I experimented with shaving low and trimming high. And that was all about the extra sensitivity. But for those wanting to keep the leg hair and worried about summer I accidentally found out that you could bleach it. I loved picking berries and hiking off trail. But hated chiggers. Nothing seemed to help and I wasnt a huge fan of deet because it never seemed to just stay on the clothes. And probably worked better for ticks than chiggers. So I would come home throw the clothes in the wash and draw a bath adding Clorox to the water and submerge myself in it. Maybe stronger than needed but did I mention I despised chiggers. Nothing seemed to help them once they burrowed themselves in all the worst places so I figured I would kill them to start with. I dont know what they are called in other places but in southern usa they are chiggers. A type of mite I think. Impossible to see. But even camping out if a bath wasnt available I would take a cloth and wipe down with Clorox and water. Shower wasnt enough. You had to kill the little invisible creatures before they set up camp. So with all these Clorox baths in the summer my noticeable arm and leg hair would lighten sometimes a lot. It was an accidental discovery. But might be an idea for some that dont want to shave but prefer not to look so obvious while wearing shorts. Or god forbid even panty hose. Although those times that nightmare was forced on me was far and between. I have to admire those of you that subject yourself to that torture on a regular basis. I have heard all the pantsuit jokes but it sure was a relief when they came into being and were acceptable to wear to funerals and church. My hair color back then was a dark Auburn I guess it was called. Brown with reddish tints so if your hair is black it might not work. But back in those days I must have had a healthy amount of male hormones because even the hair on my arms was thicker than a lot of my friends. So I was kinda glad when it lightened up in summer since I looked a little less like a bear. I never tried to lighten it on purpose but it might be an idea for some of you that might not want to stand out so much. But after I discovered the heightened sensitivity for foreplay and making love I couldnt have been paid to shave.

    • Nancy March 17, 2023 at 02:24 - Reply

      I see no difference between peer pressure and queer pressure; they both present obstacles to discovering and loving who we are.

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