Woman Ditches Razor And Embraces Her Armpit Hair To Inspire Body Positivity In Others
| Last updated
A woman has been proudly showing off her 6cm-long armpit hair on Instagram, having ditched the pricey hair removal treatments to live a life more liberated.
Brenna Pennly, from Boise, Idaho, said she used to feel 'very uncomfortable' about her hairiness, having once been mocked for her 'moustache' by an ex.
The 31-year-old mum-of-two ended up spending £98 ($120) a month having hair removed from six areas of her body at her local beauty clinic.
However, now she's decided it's time to embrace her hair, and now feels confident enough to flaunt her unshaven armpits online.
Psychology student Brenna said: "I didn't want to just be that girl who posted pictures of her armpit hair on Instagram. I wanted to find some meaning in what I was doing.
"So as my page grew, I started making my posts about body choice and about women having self-love. I want to encourage other women to embrace their bodies.
"Society tells women they should shave - just because they're female. I say, 'So what? Only shave if you want to.'
"Every woman has the right to have authority over their body and to make their own decisions. Gender should not come into it."
Single mum Brenna, who has an eight-year-old son and five-year-old daughter with her previous partner, admitted she's not always been able to feel so confident about her appearance.
She continued: "I was a hairy kid and I remember feeling very uncomfortable about it.
"You know what kids are like. A couple commented on how hairy I was - I had a hairy face, legs and arms - and I became instantly insecure about it. I used to go into school wearing long sleeved tops, so no one could see my arms."
When she was 11, Brenna - who was raised in a Mormon household in south-east Idaho - was given a razor by her mother, who understood how insecure she was about her hairiness.
Soon Brenna became 'very studious' about shaving, and began preening her arms and legs every day.
Brenna, who has never been officially diagnosed with any condition related to her hair growth, even started telling people about the body hair they couldn't see, just to 'gauge their reaction'.
She said: "If someone was down about themselves - maybe complaining if they were a bit tubby or short - I'd say something like, 'Don't worry, I've got a hairy back.'"
Thankfully, as Brenna grew up in a tight-knit community, she generally didn't experience too much negativity as a teenager.
"I did date one guy who told me, 'You've got a moustache,' in front of his mum, who quickly scolded him for it," she recalled.
"But that was my only really negative experience."
However, Brenna still went to great lengths to remove her body hair, moving onto waxing in her 20s.
In 2015, aged 28, she also discovered laser hair removal, upping the ante even more at £98 each time she had it done.
"I found this laser hair removal clinic near me that offered monthly membership packages for $60 (£50) where you could get three areas of hair removed every month," she explained.
"I actually bought a double membership, so for $120 (£98) I could get six areas of hair removed.
"I'd get the hair on my chest, stomach, back, legs, feet and face removed, and I'd get a Brazilian done too.
"I couldn't get my arms lasered because I had tattoos."
It was an incident with her daughter in October 2017 that sparked an epiphany.
Brenna said: "My daughter had started hating having her hair brushed and washed, but I still did it every day.
"But my son had short hair, so I'd just let him get on with it.
"Then, one day, my daughter was really upset, and I thought, 'Why am I putting her through this?' Then I realised - it was because she's a girl.
"I didn't think that was right so I asked her, 'Would you like your hair cut?' and she said she would. So, we cut it into a pretty pixie cut and bought her some headbands.
"It made me think, 'Why am I constantly shaving my armpits even though I hate doing it?'
"I realised it was simply because I was a woman and I felt like I had to. But I quickly realised that just because I was I woman it didn't mean I had to shave my armpits at all.
"I didn't want to be defined by gender anymore and I wanted to take back control of my body."
Eventually, Brenna decided enough was enough and allowed nature to take over.
Also turning her back on her Mormon religion, Brenna vowed to stop having her armpits - realising she didn't need to do it just because she's a woman.
Now she uses her social media platform to help encourage other women to embrace their bodies, posting regularly to her 24,000 followers.
"After a while, I started getting thousands of followers - I couldn't believe it," she said.
"I got so much positive attention - although a lot of it was sexual.
"People would say things like, 'Oh, your armpits are so sexy,' or ask if I was hairy somewhere else.
"Of course, I got some negative comments, but that just comes to be expected with social media."
Brenna added: "I really want to inspire women to love themselves no matter what and to be happy with who they are.
"There's so much pressure on women nowadays to look or act a certain way and my page is all about ignoring the pressure and encouraging women to just have self-love."