By Rebecca Drew
THIS BEAUTIFUL woman has ditched painful time-consuming hair removal methods to embrace her natural body hair after feeling pressure to conform and even has the full support of her loving husband.
Like most females, body positive activist, Kaya Szulczewska (30) from Warsaw, Poland, first started removing her body hair as a teenager after feeling pressurised to be smooth to fit in and previously saw hairiness as a form of self-neglect.
Kaya shaved, waxed, used hair removal creams and even paid for laser treatments which took up a lot of her spare time and caused her pain and inflammation when the hair inevitably grew back. Kaya used to believe that removing hair would make her more attractive but after seeing other women embrace their natural bodies on Instagram a year-and-a-half-ago, she decided to do the same.
With the support of her husband, Misha, who reassured her that she was making the right decision after seeing her painful ingrown regrowth, Kaya is comfortable with her naturally hairy body. As well as being good for the environment, her mother, Sylwia, has also started to let her hair grow to back her daughter’s decision.
“I used to feel a great pressure to remove my body hair. Regrown hair was a synonym of sloppiness and neglect in my eyes. Depending on the part of the body, I used different depilation techniques: shaving, waxing, depilatory or laser removal,” she said.
“They often caused pain, inflammation or festering, were expensive and time-consuming, and the hair quickly grew back anyway.
“I have never felt comfortable with these body hair struggles, which caused my constant suffering. I could see they did not make any sense, but I still thought that they were necessary; that I was not allowed to do otherwise.
“I got inspired to grow my body hair by women who published pictures of their naturally ‘hairy’ bodies. I saw that body hair is a natural part of woman’s body, just like the hair that grows on our heads.
“In addition, if we reduce shaving, much less plastic rubbish and chemicals will be dumped so this choice is also environmentally friendly, which also matters to me.
“I had long believed that removing body hair made me more attractive, but when I talked about it with my husband I discovered it did not matter to him. He told me he had been wondering for a long time why I kept removing my body hair while having skin problems.
“After all, hair is more attractive than inflammation and pus-filled pimples. So, my husband was a great support; he reassured me I made the right decision to grow my hair.
“My mum remembers the times when unshaven female legs in the Polish streets was quite a common thing to see. She did not realise that the pressure on women to be hairless was so intense in my generation.
“We just never saw a hairy woman when we were girls, they existed neither in the real life nor in the ads, media or pop culture in general. When I started to grow my body hair, my mum started to grow hers, too, to show solidarity, and some of my friends did the same.”
Kaya shares her pictures on Instagram and hopes to be an inspiration to other women to show that it is ok to break outside of what society considers normal.
Despite this, she receives criticism but says she wishes body hair was perceived in the same way as hair on the head.
“The most common argument against body hair which people post below my ‘hairy’ photos, is that it is unhygienic,” said Kaya.
“But I am asking: ‘aren’t purulent pimples and irritated skin less hygienic than neat and clean hair? Should we make everyone shave their heads bald to make them more hygienic?’
“If someone’s head hair stinks we tell them to wash it, not to shave it, right? I think that this should apply to all kinds of hair.
“People also make comments that body hair is not tasteful; they forget that beauty trends change all the time, different people have different tastes, and there is no need to criticise other people’s appearance.
“The majority of hateful or judgmental comments are made by anonymous people on the internet, so I think it is not worth worrying about it; it is impossible to please everyone.
“I would like to inspire other women and show them we do not have to approve of the pressure on having hairless bodies. Just like with head hair which we are not forced to shave, we should be also allowed to choose the length of our body hair, because it is our bodies and our choice.
“I would like to encourage other women to seek their own path and to not give in to the pressure.”
Finally, Kaya shared her words of encouragement to others.
“If you feel that hair removal causes pain or discomfort, and that you are only doing it to please others, take action,” she said.
“First of all go online, search for women who have body hair and get used to it. Secondly, make your hair removal less frequent. Start by growing hair on the parts of your body that are not exposed on a daily basis; which you can observe and slowly learn to accept.
“Choose the best length for you – it does not have to be one hundred per cent long. Explore different options, find your own way and enjoy your body.”
For more information see https://www.instagram.com/kayaszu/