Hairy sister on the red carpet, whoop!

// 22 January 2010

As a committed hairy feminist, I was delighted to see actress and comedian Mo’Nique happily baring her hairy legs at the Golden Globe Awards earlier this week. It wasn’t a one-off, either: she shared all on American TV in 2006, saying: ‘I must show America what a real leg looks like . . . because it’s too much in the morning, every morning, to shave, to cut, you got Band-aids baby.’ Tell me about it!

I have to say, I really admire her ability to wear feminine clothes with hairy legs – I’ve never been particularly into skirts, but despite being quite happy to wear shorts I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing a skirt with unshaven legs. I think it just reminds me too much that I feel feminine clothing is less of a choice, that if I’m going with one part of the girly outfit I should be going the whole hog or people will judge me more readily than if I’m wearing clothes that are read as more gender neutral or male. I know the way to get over that would be to take the plunge and get me hairies out in a skirt, but I’m just not bothered enough about wearing them to make it worth the effort. So kudos to those who do.

Mo’Nique won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Precious: Based on the Novel Push, by Sapphire, released in the UK next weekend.

H/t Jezebel.

Comments From You

Val // Posted 22 January 2010 at 7:29 pm

Go, Mo’Nique! And go see this film, although it is intense and graphically violent. She is brilliant in it and deserves any awards she gets.

Laurel Dearing // Posted 22 January 2010 at 7:47 pm

awesome. im currently not shaving, just to see how it looks when full grown and i suppose to see if theres any reaction. i havent really had anything past matey banter, and i dont think people i havent been fooling around with have even noticed to be honest. i doubt i will stay this way infinitely, but i certainly dont value shaving as something that needs doing, but i have to admit i rarely actually get my legs or pits out when im at my best. im getting less bothered because i guess if i dont care about it, and noones been repulsed (not that theyd be worth it if they were) and i can still get good times from people that i want to, its noone elses business. good for her anyway! its refreshing. cant be “shamed” by magazines if youre proud!

Grace // Posted 22 January 2010 at 10:26 pm

A few years ago I got stopped in St. Ann’s Square by market researchers. I was bored enough to give it a go, and it turned out that the client was Veet, wanting some feedback on their new proposed ad campaign.

The mocked-up ads showed attractive women in a variety of vulnerable positions – the one I remember was a group of women in a life-raft in open sea waiting to be rescued. A helicopter appeared; a man descended a rope to rescue them; as he lifted up the first woman he caught sight of her stubbly legs – ‘cos, you know, she’d been in the middle of the sea for a few days – and dropped her in disgust. The other hairy women had to stay behind in the boat too, but one woman had – whaddya know? – been using Veet, and so she got rescued. The End.

Yeah, really. I considered giving the ad a rave review in the hope that it would make it to TV and Veet would go bankrupt.

In the end I told the researchers exactly what I thought of the ad, and presumably I wasn’t the only one as I’ve never seen them on TV. Meanwhile, I’d given up the whole hair-removal shebang in protest. And I haven’t gone back to it, for the following reasons:

1. I can barely use a stapler without injuring myself. Holding a razor anywhere near my skin is asking for trouble

2. The time taken to shave, wax or sugar one’s legs is time that could be spent watching an episode of something funny

3. It turns out that if you go outside with hairy legs, the world does not end (seriously, if you’d told me this at the age of 14 I would not have believed you)

4. The doubletakes. “One standard-issue woman, nothing unusual there…wait, what is THAT?” Priceless.

Doodle // Posted 23 January 2010 at 1:32 am

I think everyone needs to be reminded of what a woman’s leg really looks like – not just occasionally with an “ooooh, isn’t she brave not to shave” but all day, every day.

How else are we going to counter the media machine that tells everyone that women only ever have hair on their heads?

Girly skirt and hairy legs? Go for it! Challenge!

Elfrieda // Posted 23 January 2010 at 11:15 am

Seems funny to me that she went to the trouble of wearing that posh dress and the strappy heels and getting her tootsie nails painted, but then couldn’t be bovvered to shave her legs.

(I’m not saying she SHOULD have! Just that I think it’s funny).

Lianne // Posted 23 January 2010 at 12:11 pm

Being out of the loop with Hollywood gossip, this news escaped me. All I can say is kudos to Mo’Nique. Amazing!!!

Jilly // Posted 23 January 2010 at 1:26 pm

Great that you highlighted this story. I’m all for not shaving – if people don’t like it that’s their problem not mine. Adults have body hair – children don’t – simple!

Michelle // Posted 23 January 2010 at 3:04 pm

You should add Amanda Palmer’s photos from the red carpet with her proudly displaying her unshaved arm pits…

Jess // Posted 24 January 2010 at 6:58 pm

I love this! I really resent shaving my legs and armpits and I swear that there is a conspiracy to make women look like smooth, hairless aliens just look at those deodorant adverts! I’ve grown by body hair past and have ventured onto the beach etc but the disgusted looks were just too much! We need more of this kind of thing to normalise body hair.

saranga // Posted 24 January 2010 at 6:58 pm


Claire T // Posted 24 January 2010 at 8:49 pm

Wonderful. Amanda Palmer is another artist who turned up at the Golden Globe unshaven. As she was wearing stockings only her pits showed. I say: go her! I haven’t been brave enough but a friend of mine has never shaved her legs out of principle and they do look beautiful. After years of shaving I’m not sure mine would be!

Kate // Posted 25 January 2010 at 12:25 am

I think if most women are honest, most don’t shave their legs unless they have to – i.e. before a night out. Even on holiday we’ll go a few days not shaving. Shaving the tiniest of stubble gives you plucked chicken’s skin, so it’s not possible 24/7. We’ve all been public without shaving.

Yet the world thinks we’re naturally hair- free and gets offended en masse if anyone ‘braves’ it. Spooky.

Oh and this article reminds me how much I hate the standard quip – ‘I’m a feminist but I do actually shave’. Like we’re similarly nazi- like to the BNP and have as much to be ashamed of if we are hairy.

One way I battle the trend is not shaving pubes – no guy I’ve met ever minds, and if he did, he’d know where the door was.

Jen // Posted 25 January 2010 at 5:06 am

Well, not shaving isn’t really my thing, cause body hair on me REALLY grosses me out. Like, I’m pretty sure I would shave all my body hair if I was a boy too. But, go Mo’Nique for being herself!

Rita // Posted 25 January 2010 at 10:36 am

Monique always rocks the unshaven legs on red carpet even in a shorter dress. She would do it again anytime. I am guessing the photographers were curious to know whether she still has her hairy legs. And she showed them. lol

Laura // Posted 25 January 2010 at 10:50 am

@ Claire T – it doesn’t take long for the hair to go soft when you start growing it out, I reckon it probably doesn’t matter how long you’ve been shaving for. And I much prefer having soft but hairy legs all the time than one day a week of smooth and horrible and scratchy the rest of the time.

JenniferRuth // Posted 25 January 2010 at 12:06 pm

Here’s what I don’t get about hair-removal adverts.

If a man is shaving then you get to see his hairy/stubbly face and he shaves it smooth. The advert actually shows the product working.

If a woman is shaving then you get to see her smooth, unhairy legs being shaved…even more smooth. The advert never shows the product actually working.

Apparently womens hairiness is so horrible, so unappealing that they can’t even show it in a razor advert lest the viewer immediately throw up and refuse to buy the product.

I especially like the waxing advert (Veet, I think) where the women are bouncing bubbles off their legs. Now that is a very high-standard of hairlessness to aim for! Of course, when I say “like” I really mean “regard in contempt”. Impossible beauty, anyone?

So go Mo’Nique! It takes a lot, I think, for any woman to stop shaving in face of the constant messages about standard female beauty that are in our faces every day.

FeminaErecta // Posted 25 January 2010 at 3:36 pm

Fabulous woman, especially loving the peach nail varnish…

Go and see this film! It is incredible and Mo’nique througherly deserved her Globe.

Helen // Posted 25 January 2010 at 5:08 pm

@ Elfrieda – When I dress up, I go for exactly Mo’Nique’s combo of hyper-glam femme + unshaved legs and pits, and love it. I’m trying to show that female body hair can be part of a glam look, and not something that sabotages it by being ‘disgusting’ or ‘unsightly’. If I’ve got painted toenails, a gorgeous frock and stylish hair, I’m trying to demonstrate that I’m not unshaven because I haven’t ‘made the effort’ nor because I don’t think about fashion – I’m unshaven because I believe body hair is as female and feminine as head hair. I think of it as own way of reclaiming hyperfemme style for feminism.

Elmo // Posted 25 January 2010 at 5:43 pm

Hairless women is yet another way of society going “But look! Men and Women are SO different!”. If all women stopped shaving, and if all men grew their hair out, we would see that, actually, we look kinda the same. It would help halt this myth that women and men are yin and yang-complimentry, but totally different. There are so many less differences between us that we are led to beleive.

Joanna // Posted 25 January 2010 at 7:14 pm

I have to say that this picture intially made me go ‘eeew’ then I looked at the comments. I consider myself a person who strives for equlity amongst the sexes and yet there are things that appear to be so unequal and demonstrate doubles standards. I am gay and I dont shave so much when I’m with my partner as she is a girl and knows that its a faff, most of the time, to keep up with shaving. And Im tall so you know how long it takes to shave these bad boys…..that being said, I can’t help but express that I feel differently when it comes to public outings. If Im wearing a skirt or dress, I will shave my legs, and because I’m trying to please some man becuase I’m not, I dont care about that, itd about my own confidence, my own image, my own comfort and if I was going to try and impress anyone, it would be a female…and I do think theres different perceptions from the female side about shaving…I do know from my male days that non shaving was not to be tolerated and I did it to please them…now…its about me and how I want to be feel. So, good on Mo’nique, I think its amazing what she’s done but personally, its not for me in terms of public displays.


Lauren // Posted 25 January 2010 at 9:03 pm

Elmo, exactly! It’s not only different hair but everything else from birth that tells us we’re different. I get mad when people go, ‘Eww you want men and women to be the same?’

… we are the same! Both sexes are hairy homosepians. I’d love if more men grew their hair and women left theirs. Just an interesting experiment for a day.

Catherine Redfern // Posted 25 January 2010 at 9:55 pm



“Apparently womens hairiness is so horrible, so unappealing that they can’t even show it in a razor advert ”

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry! I think you hit the nail on the head with that!

Sian // Posted 26 January 2010 at 1:14 pm

I wear skirts all the time-and bare hairy legs in the summer! I’ve never had comments-I’m very fair though (and am not a celebrity thank the heavens) so I don’t think people notice (or are polite!).

I shave my armpits because that only takes a second but I stopped shaving my legs when we moved to a flat with only a shower and I couldn’t figure out a comfortable way of shaving that wasn’t a faff. I was always a bit of a lazy shaver anyway. My boyfriend reckons my unshaven legs feel softer-because your legs only feel genuinely smooth for about half a day after shaving and who has the energy or time to shave that often? And all those chemical options terrify me, I have tried them but they freaked me out with all the warnings and the tingling!

Lara // Posted 26 January 2010 at 4:11 pm

Had the best sex of my life the other week with totally hairy legs and a bushy mini. It’s all about how the guy reacts and makes you feel.

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