BEAUTY & CARE

Thursday Thoughts: To shave or not to shave

 

wrists copy

Okay ladies, a funny thing happened to me this week. I posted this photo (above) on my Instagram feed to feature a watch brand I like and to talk about the two opposing sides of my personal style, as reflected by my wrists. But, the comments and conversation quickly became focused on my arm hair!!! Some people told me “it looked gross,” while others suggested I would look more feminine if I removed it. Some were just surprised I would post a photo showing my arm hair (what?!). Of course many people left comments in my defence, equally stunned by the inane discussion.

And to think, until this week I never ever thought twice about my arm hair. In fact, it never occurred to me that people would shave their arms. Okay, I know Olympic swimmers do, but…!  Frankly, I don’t feel insecure at all about my arms. This is how they look.

Here are my thoughts: Woman have hair. Some have more than others. We already spend WAY too much time worrying about these things. Do we really need to add another task to our personal grooming regimens? Don’t we already have enough pressure on us to meet society’s arbitrary standards of beauty? Why are we encouraging (or more accurately, pressuring) each other to have more insecurities? As a whole, I think we suffer from confidence issues based on our appearance and that has knock-on effects on our ability to achieve success in our careers and happiness in our lives. Society puts enough pressure on us to be thin, to be tall, to have big boobs, to not go grey, to show no wrinkles. Do we need to add ‘to be hairless’? Where does this end?

Please share your thoughts.

Courtney x


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Comments (105)

March 17, 2016

How awful that on a trip of a lifetime around the world that you have to be bothered with such nonsense. My arms are exactly the same…..You have beautiful accessories and a gorgeous tan so who cares what anyone else thinks! X


March 17, 2016

Well said! Except I do have hair like that, no tan and most of the time no accesoires, just the muddy little hands of my kids from time to time 😉 I am totally fine with my hair. You should see my legs in winter😂😅… People should focus on being the happiest they can be! Being so stupid & hurtful will never lead them to happiness, thats for sure… P.S.: Love how happy you and your family seem to be! Enjoy your trip, Courtney!


Alicia
March 17, 2016

Great point! You are traveling around the world and someone else is worried about air hair. Who has the more interesting life??


Mary
March 17, 2016

Yes, I remember this! I’ve never shaved my arm hair either, never thought to. It looks fine to me. I did think maybe some of the people who commented in opposition to your arm hair may have been from the MIddle East where waxing and sugaring body hair is almost sacred. People are very serious about it. Maybe that accounts for their incredulity? As in maybe its cultural? Obviously there were some rude remarks too…no excuses there. I remember once at a dinner at my friend’s house her mother commenting that my breasts were small. She didn’t mean it in a rude way but I had never thought of them as small or anything other than my breasts really! I was perfectly happy with them, still am! It didn’t feel nice to have them categorized though. I do remember that. We are so lucky to have bodies that work wonderfully and perform the miracles they do every day. I am very happy with mine, thanks! No doubt you are too! Now to work on shutting out some peoples’ opinions.


Mary
March 17, 2016

Also, this whole thing reminds me of this lady. She made the rounds on the internet a while ago now: https://storify.com/cbccommunity/bearded-sikh-woman-teaches-reddit-a-lesson-in-tole

We could all do with being more tolerant and self confident… Even now, are we not throwing stones at these ladies who think arm hair is a big issue? I know we’re trying to understand it too but it’s a thought, no? Being concerned with such a petty thing is well, petty. Maybe we should leave such thoughts and people alone to their grooming. I for one haven’t got room in my brain for that cr**. If you want to do it- off you go!


Pam
March 17, 2016

Well said, Courtney! You are a beautiful person inside and out.


Ludivine
March 17, 2016

That’s incredible! I hope you had a good laugh about it!


Emilie
March 17, 2016

” I never ever thought twice about my arm hair”….
and please do not start now. There is nothing to think about. Just keep loving yourself the way you are and being a wonderful ‘Vorbild’ for your children and do not teach them something that you never even thought about until this week only because a lot of people who still have a lot of growing to do were loud.
Please forget it again as soon as possible.
Breath. Smile. Ignore the nutters.


Marleen
March 17, 2016

Courtney, well said. You are an inspiring woman and beautiful inside and outside. Hilarious that people react on something so natural as arm hair. Enjoy your wonderful and amazone trip!


SHOW ALL COMMENTS
March 17, 2016

I can’t even believe this is a conversation. I remember looking at this photo when you posted it and I didn’t even notice! I was thinking about what you actually had to say about the photo.


Marleen
March 17, 2016

Amazing trip. Autospelling error 😊


Petra
March 17, 2016

Succinct as always, Courtney. I always groan inwardly when other women try (unsuccessfully) and pull you down. The triumph remains that you take the higher ground – who, on this occasion, is to confirm what ‘normal’ is? This debate has rocked societies for generations and never the twain shall meet. I applauded you on the technology debate, the bathers-over-bikinis debate (that was such an important one) and I admire you even more for standing firm on this issue. You inspire almost effortlessly and all that matters is your health and happiness – long may this continue.


Courtney in London
March 18, 2016

Thank you, Petra, for always being so supportive and kind (and smart too!). xx


amy hope
June 20, 2016

well said. amoungst everythings else…i cant believe the sheer rudeness of people, where have everyday manners gone! p.s. fellow hairy armed girl and have never thought about shaving, removing in anyway – although i think i did try lightening during my teenage years!! 😉 xx


March 17, 2016

I found the comments baffling but dismally predictable. I’m so over the need to remove female hair. I haven’t shaved my legs in over five years and the world kept turning. We’ll all be ok if we drop the need to police women’s appearance.


Sarah Lightfoot
March 17, 2016

I saw a watch, some gorgeous pieces of personal jewellery and lovely bronzed arms when I saw the original photo on Instagram. I never even saw anything else ?!! What is this world coming to ?


Kim
March 17, 2016

Oh gosh this make me laugh!!! Don’t waste your breath on discussions or comments about silly things like hairy (?!) arms! You are beautiful – I did not even notice it till this article popped up on IG feed – I just saw your ever flawless taste in a beautiful watch. All these people have too much time to waste on their hands. Maybe we should all turn ourselves into the Stepford wifes (Ira Levin)!!!


Victoria
March 17, 2016

Well said Courtney!!!


Lulu
March 17, 2016

I think, we, especially those under 40,have become so indoctrinated into the “FEMALE body hair is bad” culture, that seeing completely natural body hair is a genuine shock. A friend recently told me her 15 yr old wanted a full bikini wax. This is so sad and I feel much of it is pandering to what young men will find attractive rather than coming from a place of personal choice. I saw the post and felt a lot of the negative comments sounded reactive and frankly, quite immature. These are in the main , I’ll bet, from young women who haven’t for whatever reason, grasped the concept of choice. We should be free to do whatever we want with our body hair and not incurr such personal and horrible criticism. Courtney, it’s a credit to the people who raised you , that it’s not something you were even conscious of before this post. I hope can raise my daughter the same way.


Afia
March 17, 2016

It’s a cultural thing I think. I’ve been removing all signs of bodily hair since I was 16 (nearly 40 now). I must admit, when I saw the picture I did a double-take as I wasn’t sure the arm belonged to you (thought it was Michael’s but the gorgeous accessories confused me :)) but in all seriousness just thought its your arm/your choice/no big deal. Society certainly plays a huge role in defining the goal posts for beauty and this conversation highlights that further. I personally believe, true beauty comes from the confidence to define and comfortably sit with your own notion of beautiful. That oozed from the picture you posted- your confidence to ‘just be’, therefore not your arm hair (or that gorgeous watch) defines your true beauty.


March 17, 2016

Courtney!!!! This has really inflamed me this morning – I haven’t seen your instagram post, otherwise I would have been straight on there to defend you too. You are SO right, it’s a societal thing and it’s utterly pathetic. You should never be pressured into conforming to a beauty standard – you want to wax your arms, you go ahead. You don’t, don’t. It’s really that simple. No one should make these comments, especially not women to women – what on earth are we saying to our daughters?! I read an article last week about “what turns men off” – sadly not satirical – and this was in there along with “hair on the body – you should wax everything”, “earning more than him” , “poorly applied lipstick” and (my personal favourite) “intricate hairstyles”… My response to that could only be: What turns women off: A**holes.

It’s sadly one more way for the gender divide to grow. I couldn’t care less about your arm hair Courtney but I do love that watch! H xx


Jude
March 17, 2016

I prefer the feeling of not having hair on my arms- but i think it’s personal preference entirely, love the contrasting styles xx


Jude
March 17, 2016

Love your thoughts- so different from the usual debates and also in so many ways fierce and gentle at the same time, it’s a gift- do write a book xx


Claire Gulliver
March 17, 2016

Oh Courtney, it’s completely shameful that people have left such cruel and ridiculous comments- you and your family are beautiful inside and out and I can’t believe this discussion is even being had. My arms have fine hairs on like yours and it’s just one of the things that make me me. I feel it’s so rude that people choose to follow you and then judge like this – you’re choosing to open your world up and inspire others and then have to deal with this – just wrong ☹️


Kate
March 17, 2016

When I started dating my husband I remember noticing that I was much hairier than him. He didn’t notice and 18 years later I don’t think he ever has. He eventually overtook me in the hair stakes – hairier legs, hairier chest, could eventually grow a full beard – but in recent years got into cycling so now he shaves his legs!
Courtney i love our hairy arms, yours and mine. It makes us look human.
I’ve so enjoyed watching your adventures. Enjoy our wonderful Australia, from my family to yours.


Nina
March 17, 2016

I can say I was a bit shocked when I read all this. I mean even IF in some cultures it’s the rule to shave wax whatever all the body hair as a women, what on earth gives those people the right to insult others who don’t? This is (to me) the intolerance that eventually arouses hatred, provokes fights, wars. Why are people about to spit out so disrespectful and totally unnecessary words to anyone. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? There are enough severe ones. Enough to solve! instead bullying your sister you should connect! Gosh! And I say that looking forward so see the hair on my arms turn blonde on my tanned arms like all the summers before. May your arms be happily and hairy connected to your beautiful soul, Courtney! X Nina


March 17, 2016

OH MY GOD! You have SKIN? And VEINS too? Better have those removed! (insert eyeroll emoji!)
I’ve come to the conclusion that women – for all our work in raising our status in the world to a more equal footing – are our own worst enemies and also the cause of our undoing. We really do make life harder for ourselves: the same people telling us to be happy with ourselves, love ourselves, accept ourselves etc are the same people telling us in the next breath (or page of a magazine, or showing us on the red carpet) to shave everything/dye our hair/wear a push-up bra/undergo surgery to stop the ageing process. Those who are anti-bullying and all for “let’s love each other” online are the first to throw the virtual stones or use the nasty language whenever someone disagrees with them or expresses a differing opinion. It’s no wonder young girls these days have such screwed up body image and lack of self-confidence – WE are the ones sending the mixed messages. It is things like this that make me side with men who get that dumbfounded look on their face whenever the “What women want” subject comes up. As a collective, we don’t help ourselves. So it’s up to us individually to filter the sensible through to our kids and hope eventually a future collective will help the women’s movement. Because I honestly feel it’s stagnant right now!
I tell my kids all the time – be your own person. It’s fine to be inspired by, covet, try or buy something you’ve seen on someone else, but ultimately YOU have to shine through too and what makes you YOU is going to be very different to the next person, so embrace it. Hair (or no hair!) and all.
PS: the hair on our bodies is there for a reason isn’t it?!


Courtney in London
March 17, 2016

Belinda,
As usual, you’ve voiced the very same sentiments I share. This is exactly how I feel, and I’ve been meaning to write a post about this issue – just haven’t organised my thoughts or found the right wording in my head to type things out. I should have asked you to write the post!! 🙂 xx


March 17, 2016

It’s such a doozy of a topic! I’m not great with confrontation so that has kept me from writing about it myself – I don’t know how I’d go being in the middle of a debate that would question my loyalty to my own sex! But I do worry where we are going and I can’t help think this recent “backwards” movement (simpler living I guess?) is partly due to the almost aggressive nature women in general have taken on. I don’t know, it’s a tricky one! Love to read your thoughts on it all x


Ali
March 17, 2016

Honestly, yes, I did notice it but NOT because I thought it was gross (where is the etiquette regarding communication on the Internet, where are people’s manners! You would never go up to a person in real life going” uuuugggghhhh, how gross” would you!) but because I thought “Wowzers, she’s brown!” And that lovely visible blonde hair took me back to my childhood when we used to be so brown on holidays our hair would go white nearly! I look forward to more pics from your adventures! My compliments and admiration! X


Anais
March 17, 2016

This IG post made think about my sister who had fluffy air hair and now regularly has it waxed off because she was made fun of as a child, and my mom’s reaction was to help her get rid of the “problem”. And there are some women in Lebanon I know who always do this, like some women always shave their legs or armpits, regardless of how much hair they have. Kind of the opposite of the stereotype we hear of German women (I find it to really be variable, some shave, some don’t). Basically, all this depends on our cultural background and perspective, and we are inevitably influenced by this paradigm, but should feel free and comfortable in our choices. what might be ‘fashionable’ in some cultures, seems ridiculous in others. Don’t people have better things to do with their time?


Louise
March 17, 2016

This is an interesting debate! I have quite a bit of hair on my arms – its pretty fair though and I’ve never considered removing it. BUT! I suffer from terrible dark hair on my upper legs and that really does bother (upset) me. Come summer, I can never throw on a pair of shorts or a skirt as I need to “prepare” my legs before I can put them on show. So while I completely agree with you Courtney that the hair on your arms is perfectly natural, I just couldn’t leave the hair on my legs. Not because of what other people would say (I hate to even think!) but because I feel uncomfortable about it.
Ultimately, we all have to do what makes us feel good about ourselves and accept that this is different for every single person.
I haven’t read the comments about your arms but I really hope that you haven’t let it get to you. I wish I could send you a picture of my arms and you’d see we are very similar – well minus the tan!!


Minou
March 17, 2016

Dear Courtney,
I love that watch, and your beautiful tanned arms…thanks for sharing your adventures with us.
The discussion is not about hair or no hair, it is about how to treat other people, and those comments were just not necessary. I always tell my kids: “Before you say something negative about another person, think of all the positive things that you hear, see, feel”. It usually outweighs the things you don’t like by far.
Minou


Gemma
March 17, 2016

I am so shocked to read this. I can’t believe that your beautiful ig feed about an amazing journey around the world could be marred by such silly comments.
Having said that a few years ago I went on a waxing course and I was the oldest there (in my early thirties) and all the young girls in the room had every inch of their bodies waxed. I was so shocked at the amount of time and effort that would take. A slightly younger generation seem to feel it’s necessary. It certainly isn’t something I would bother with!
Ignore the silly comments they really don’t deserve your time. Enjoy your trip xx


Kate
March 17, 2016

Well said, we have enough to do and think about as women, mothers etc. We are all beautiful and unique in our own ways and to put more pressure on each other is insane. I guess some people put importance on unimportant things and have to much time on there hands.


Sirena
March 17, 2016

I saw your original post, the comments and the whole thing happen too. Like you, my sisters and I have normal but fair arm hair and never thought to remove it. The idea of touching a stubbly arm doesn’t sit well with me! This is just a natural body- why are we afraid of it? I do know middle eastern women who have been teased because if their normal body hair and choose to wax or shave but the teasing seemed to come equally from Americans and Europeans not just middle easterners. Sigh. This makes me sad and reminds me of the photo last week of Leonardo di caprio with his mom as a baby and all the comments focused on her armpit hair. Yes, guys you’re right- the pressure to be hairless is real and is being levied against men now too (seen those Kate upton commercials where she’s grossed out by a man’s hairy chest????)


Nina Justin
March 17, 2016

I am actually quite sorry to read that some people even have no qualm in pointing out your arm hair. Frankly, I agree with you. In the scheme of life, what is arm hair? Of course, if they bother you, you can remove them but if you are totally cool with your arm, be it hairy, hairless, thin, chubby or spotty, why does it matter to anyone else. I would stick to your general attitude about your body and your appearance. So far, you have managed to go far with your attributes. You are smart, elegant, sophisticated, beautiful, photogenic and naturally stylish. You are a natural beauty (even with your arm hair). Enjoy your travels and keep posting those photos!


Christen
March 17, 2016

Two thoughts: I think body shaming (because let’s call it what it is) in any form must stem from insecurity, either in one’s own body or own’s own choices. As women, I think we all have a great desire to know we belong and unfortunately, standards of beauty are a very important cultural benchmark for us individually. Second, I read an article recently about the importance of raising “kind girls” vs mean girls and I was kind of surprised to learn the problem was so widespread. I attended a women’s college (I’m in the US so I mean post secondary) and while not everyone was best friends, I really can’t recall a time where I overheard anyone tearing down anyone else! We also had extremely flexible standards of beauty in our little Midwestern, hippie college culture (1990’s style). It makes me wonder what part of all of this has to do with an internalized need to please men. Thank you for promoting an important discussion over a topic that could have easily shut a person down.


Sol
March 17, 2016

to be honest at first glance I thought it was a man’s pic until I read the blog; and I would most likely shave my arms if I had that amount of hair. Because I wouldn’t feel comfortable.
But I wouldn’t go telling you what to do with your body, that is just rude and unnecessary, if people feel offended by it, they can just delete you from IG, or ignore it.


Sonja
March 17, 2016

I agree with courtney, but also am a bit shocked people/women would make comments on this. Would you be saying the same thing standing in front of the person ? Seriously we do not comment on any of this if she was a he. Makes me just sad how women treat each other, double standards…


Pippa
March 17, 2016

Oh Courtney….I have never felt so enraged as I did reading some of the comments on your IG account surrounding that photo. Firstly, opinions should be kept to oneself unless asked. Opinion is not truth, but merely a (narrow?) point of view that can differ widely from person to person and culture to culture. So keep it to yourself unless asked. Secondly, we live in a world of women who mostly feel quite inadequate about themselves. That is incredibly sad. And incredibly beneficial for inequality, because those with lower self esteem who never quite feel good enough are much easier to control and manipulate. The loss of opportunities, quality of life, self esteem and peace of mind that we women suffer on a daily basis because our bodies and our faces are never quite ‘good’ enough. Enough already. It truly is time to take back our power and shine like the goddesses we all are. As we are. We need to support each other not tear each other down. Haven’t we women been through enough to get where we are? As my yoga teacher says, “Imagine a world where all women feel really, really good about themselves.” What a thought. And lastly, those sweet little blonde hairs have been visibly enhanced by a wonderfully bronzed skin. Natural, normal, and really rather beautiful.


Anna
March 17, 2016

This is utterly bonkers! Courtney you have beautiful arms and a very normal amount of hair! xx


Rea
March 17, 2016

Hi, there! What are those imbeciles talking about on Instagram, your fine blond hairs look lovely against your tan! I am a Mediterranean woman & have fine brown hair on my arms. I have never bothered with removing it. Nobody has complained, either. My mum used to remove her arm hair using a method called “sugaring”. Depilation is painful, in general, unless you shave which really isn’t great for arms (stubbly arms, anyone?!) 😬 The onlytime I removed my arm hair was waxing it when I got married, as my dress was short sleeved. Stay as you are – intelligent & beautiful 🌸


Louise
March 17, 2016

I totally agree with Belinda’s comment, brilliantly written. It’s sort of funny/ridiculous that people can actually make such petty comments about arm hair but it is also part of a much bigger nastier picture of how we constantly judge other women that needs to be dealt with and social media can be a real breeding ground for this sort of stuff. I’m trying hard to teach both my children (one with health issues and a disability) that bodies/appearance whether they look a certain way or even work a certain way are unimportant compared to being a kind person who stands up for the right thing and is funny and smart and caring.


March 17, 2016

Are there people making comments about arm hair? REALLY? These comments get weirder and weirder.. I don’t think it is about having to be perfect, this is about envy. And online people are ‘braver’ than offline. When meeting Courtney in person they would never dare to say to her that her arm hair is gross and that she should shave. When making these kind of comments people should think twice as they are really making a fool of themselves.


Kim
March 17, 2016

Amen 💪🏻


Anna
March 17, 2016

Oh to have the sun glinting off gorgeous sun-bleached hairs on bronzed arms!! From my cultural point of view, your photo is quite stunning! Everything about it (from the love ring, to the crossing of the arms, to the bracelets, to the arm hair(!), speaks more than words ever could. In it is captured and reflected the incredible journey of an extraordinarily close family, who also happen to be very beautiful and vital.
I saw the Instagram messages and was genuinely shocked that random people could be so rude and disrespectful.
In my opinion, it is a slightly voyeuristic privilege, to be offered a tiny insight into your interesting family life (and to therefore allow us to reflect on our own lives), via Instagram. Is this what ‘trolling’ is?
As so many people have already described very well, to have hair or not, is partly a cultural and partly a personal choice. Your point about women’s insecurities is an interesting one that I am now considering. In an ideal world, I would like to live in a society (I live in the UK) where I don’t feel the need to remove ANY hair from my body! Its just another thing to do when time is short … This is about cultural perception of what is acceptable. So, I shave for sunny, bare legged days only! Going on a beach holiday requires preparation … I would like to feel confident in myself completely au naturel, but I am not, because I am, in my own small way, indoctrinated into my own local cultural perceptions (and therefore probably notice (but not judge) when I see a particularly hairy female).
There was an interesting piece on body hair (esp. facial hair) on Radio 4 Women’s Hour a few weeks ago. I feel fortunate that in my case, that in order to meet my own cultural expectations, my body hair removal regime is not excessive. There are women out there, perhaps with more body hair than others, who are totally traumatised by body hair issues.
Notwithstanding cultural and personal differences, however, these women making comments were just downright rude. And that is just plain unacceptable, bad behaviour. How very disappointing. Women should be standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with other women across cultures and across the world, not pulling each other down.
All the best to you and your beautiful family as you continue your adventures. XX


Anna
March 17, 2016

Clarification with ref. to my question in my previous comment:
“Is this what trolling is?”
i.e. Is this what these people making rude comments are doing?
(I’m not very social media savvy but have heard this phrase ‘trolling’ used, so I assume this is it!)


kate
March 17, 2016

What!!
Arm hair shame
I’m so not taking part in this … how ridic

My little win of the summer was making it through a few swims at the beach without doing a bikini wax .. actually it’s more like a harvest, but I got through without the hours in the bathroom removing every piece of ‘hair’

Albeit most swims were at dawn, but a win is a win ..right?


March 17, 2016

The good ladies commenting above have pretty much covered it:

Live your life the best you know how.

Be kind.

Forgive people.

Belinda is so right in saying we women are often our own worst enemies. But here’s one further thought – people tend to attack others (especially online) for the same things they themselves struggle with. So whether it’s arm hair or body size or whatever – the confidence/non-chalance another person exudes about a particular thing can bring out the UGLY in a person who craves that same sort of confidence. I’ll send you a podcast I recently listened to about how one woman boldly faced an online troll. It was very moving! Love you girl – and here’s a shout out to your mother, because she raised you right (wink)!! ❤️


Karen
March 17, 2016

When I saw your post, I thought how cool it was that you had arm hair and had no problem showing it off. And I knew people would post rude comments because that’s just what they do. Social media has broken down barriers in many positive ways and negative ones as well. People are so comfortable criticizing people’s habits or appearances.

I think it’s each woman’s prerogative to decide what and where they groom, what to color and what to leave as is. For example, I shave my underarm hair and my legs below my knees, but do nothing else. I never groom my eyebrows and don’t care about arm hair. So far, I’m letting my gray hair come in and if at some point it bothers me, I’ll color it. I’m sure there are people who judge me for it, but they are not my true friends.

As the mother of a daughter, I think it’s even more important to downplay this stuff. My daughter, 12 years old, has already asked to shaver her legs and worries that her calves are too big. I NEVER discuss weight or grooming in front of her, but I know she hears about it at school. For now, I’ve just told her that she is too young to shave and that her calves are not big, but strong and necessary for her to dance as beautifully she does.

I think women need to stand together and embrace our differences, but I’ve become jaded and don’t believe it really will ever change. Instead, I just hope to continue to have friends who are likeminded ,and that my children will focus on the content of their character and choose their friendships wisely.


Courtney in London
March 18, 2016

Karen, I think you’ve raised such an interesting point about our children and the message we’re sending them if we have to groom and wax and diet to be happy and confident in our own skin. Our kids will, as you’ve said, have enough pressure from their peers. We, as their mothers, should send the message that it’s not what we look like that matters. Our children should be taught to be confident and gain self worth based on their knowledge, skills and most importantly on their ability to support, encourage and be kind to other people. I think I must tell my kids at least once a day that the most important thing is to be NICE. It’s more important than being pretty or smart or the best surfer or quickest runner, etc.
Some others have mentioned it above, and it’s true: women are often our own worst enemies – criticising and judging each other. There are so many instances where I have reminded myself that if I were a man, there is no way other men would criticise me for what I look like, for my hairy arms, for my success or for how I earn a living in my career. Why do women feel compelled to tear other women down? It’s truly baffling.


Maria
March 17, 2016

OMG, really???! Come on girls… This is ridiculous! And by the way, where are manners these days?
Don’t even think about it, Courtney. You look gorgeous! I wish sooo much I could have my skin this brown and my arm hair so blonde — gray Paris keeps me all the way around, haha!

Thank you mama for sharing so many beautiful pics. Have fun in Australia! xx


Vicky
March 17, 2016

I think it is so sad how critical we as women can be of one another. Not everyone is like that, of course, but unfortunately negative comments can often have the greatest impact — especially when they play on insecurities we may already have. Comments such as those you’ve received speak more of the person commenting than of you. I find it completely perplexing what people wish to achieve with making such comments. ?!

As for the debate, to shave or not to shave. Really, what does it matter. If somebody feels comfortable as they are then that is fine. Equally if someone feels more comfortable removing body hair then that too is fine. Our bodies are our own and we should all respect that our choices for our bodies are our own, too.


breanne
March 17, 2016

my first thought was actually that your arm hair looked rather nice and told more of a story, being lightened by all of the sun-filled adventures you and your family are currently having. people are crazy. xo


March 17, 2016

This is nuts, who the hell and why would you shave your arm hair?! It’s natural and no one een notices hair and erm hello who wants stubble arms or the pressure to start shaving anpther pace on a weekly basis. No thanks. I like my body just fine. x


alexandra
March 17, 2016

some people are just ridiculously critical. it’s sad that this is how our world is. you’re lovely. ignore the people who disagree. xx


Whitney Kaye
March 17, 2016

This makes me sad. I actually did notice your hair in the photo, but why should I have formed some judgement about it? There is nothing wrong with it. I also don’t think we should care if someone does.

My mother shaved my arms for a dance when I was a teenager and I hated that she did it (she also took me to a tanning bed for another dance). My mother would also measure my thighs to see how far she was from my size. I think I turned out not caring about such things because I saw how unhappy she always was, and is, and how focused she was on what others thought.

I am about to have my 3rd girl and have chosen to raise them, with kindness and confidence. They know it is important to be clean, but my oldest (3 years) is spectacular in her ability to bring happiness to others, lead other boys and girls (in a kind way) and has no idea how wonderful people think she is. And while I think it has some to do with her dad and I being examples and teaching, we are just not bringing in a focus on vanity and negativity and it allows her to really grow her own beautiful characteristics and talents.

I always enjoy you bringing up topics of discussion without encouraging hate towards others who disagree. People do things differently and, as long as it is not hurtful to them, we should leave it be.


Claire
March 17, 2016

As some of you have already mentioned, when I see comments like this I always think of my daughter and what kind of world our girls (and boys because it affects them too) are growing up in. I can remember so clearly the first time someone at school started whispering about my hairy legs – I think I was 12 and I remember being so ashamed. WTAF – I was TWELVE.
I really hope that we can manage, as Belinda and Louise suggest, teach our children to value the difference in each other and place importance on who people _are_ rather than what they look like. In our increasingly fast-paced world where first impressions are often all we have to go on, I wonder whether this is even possible?


Karen
March 17, 2016

I’ve read through these comments and am a bit taken aback that the concensus seems to be that women like to criticise other women and bodyshame. Courtney’s fanbase is predominantly female so any negative comments are going to come from females, just as the overwhemingly positive comments came from females too). The comments were made by a few socially, inept people, we’ve all met them and they are not always female. Men body shame too, just go look at any young woman’s IG. They also criticise other males for having excessive body hair, being short, feminine and the list goes on. The comments were silly and intended to provide hurt but make no mistake a man could just as easily have made those comments, Courtney just does not have a male fanbase.


Joana
March 17, 2016

I agree. Unfortunately, men and young men would make such comments too, it’s not a “woman thing”. Prejudice has no gender.


Bethanne
March 17, 2016

So true, Karen.


Kim
March 17, 2016

Utterly ridiculous! Reading the horrid comments made me embarrassed to be female. You and your family are beautiful. I doubt these people would be so keen to comment so negatively without the internet to hide their identities. I watch your adventure with admiration and jealousy. Keep adventuring x


a.c.
March 17, 2016

completely baffled by the response. a long-time reader who’s read some of your interviews, it is clear you’re beautiful through and through — you are right to disregard, and not to feel insecure!


Laura
March 17, 2016

Bravo!


Bethanne
March 17, 2016

Oh how women like to point out other women’s flaws! Let’s do all of our sex a favor and stop the silliness. If a women wants to shave her arms…great, if not, great:-)


Bethanne
March 17, 2016

I should also say that I do not think armhair is in any way shape or form a “flaw” !


March 17, 2016

What a strange thing for someone to comment on. Seriously people?

I would never shave my arm hair… never considered doing so. I also don’t care how much hair other women have on their bodies. I personally shave my legs, armpits and other areas, but that’s my personal preference for my body. If other women are comfortable not shaving, then that’s great too! Who really cares???


Penelope
March 17, 2016

My thought was: Huh? This is even a thing???


Jess Clayden
March 17, 2016

Courtney you are such a beautiful mama! I am so shocked that this lovely picture has brought about comments regarding your arm hair, say what?? I see a very stylish watch, a lovely tan reminiscent of your fantastic world travels and some pretty bracelets handmade by your children, a token of love! It is so unbelievably sad that people judge others on such insignificant things that one should embrace and be proud of, I wonder what the reaction would be if I posted a picture on IG of my body, looking very pale, with stretch marks and a slight muffin top eek! Though saying that I am proud, of my so called flaws that society lead you to believe is something you should be ashamed of, ho,d that head up xx


Kate
March 17, 2016

I do hope this doesn’t come off as snobby, but I have found that one of the hardest things about living/traveling abroad – – where your mind and world are exploding & growing exponentially – – is dealing with some people who like to keep their worlds quite small. These are the worlds where arm hair appearance is a priority. It’s quite sad, really. If only everyone was required to live abroad for an extended period of time, I do think there would be so much more acceptance in this world, no matter the issue.


March 17, 2016

I’m so worried about our children sometimes. Our mom’s didn’t even shave legs. At least mine didn’t and my friend’s moms didn’t either. God forbid the armpits or anything else. Now we shave (almost) everything, have permanent make-up, go under knife for all the things we don’t like in order to look like – who? what? why?! What is yet to come? What will the beauty standards be for our kids like? Some kids already tease others with worlds like fat, not pretty etc. in kindergartens. Awful! And so scary. You are beautiful Courtney with or without the arm hair! Your heart is hairless 🙂


March 17, 2016

I felt just furious after reading that comment ,so I rather just left and didn’t comment ….
You are gorgeous women I hope you know it and just had a good laugh about that hateful person-hope it was just one!
We already worrying about too much our body hair in this world,I just had conversation about it with my girls,why do I even shave my legs and underarms,many women these days stopped to do it and it was hard to explain why do I do it and how this world makes us to do it! A lot to think about for me in relation with my girls..
Have a great rest of your trip,I love to read your blog and I also love your hand hair :-*


Eva
March 17, 2016

It’s rediculous how some people think its appropriate to write comments like that.
Lately I have been having a hard time with Internet – hidden behind computer screens more and more people are losing their humanity in a way, too fast to judge, too fast to make fun of someone, the self righteousness…

I do wax my arm hair (mostly on the summer) only because I’m originally from the Balkans and mine is too dark against my skin. It’s funny how years ago when I started lots of people thought it’s odd thing to do. 🙂 If I have blond hair I would never do it.


Tessa
March 17, 2016

Too funny. I’m in the “hairy arm club” and have been since I was a kid. I remember travelling to Mexico at the age of ten and being teased by the local kids. High school led to a couple failed attempts at bleaching the dark hairs or shaving them off. Luckily I quickly realized it was not worth my time or effort and lived ‘happily hairy after’.
I do think it’s a culture thing though. Several of my Indian friends would not be caught dead with arm hair! To each their own. 🙂


Cate
March 17, 2016

Society puts enough pressure on us to be thin, to be tall, to have big boobs, to not go grey, to show no wrinkles. Do we need to add ‘to be hairless’? Where does this end?
Do we need to add ‘to wear the coolest watch’? I am sorry….but I think you are putting yourself in the firing line….plus it’s good publicity for the watch…..


Danielle
March 17, 2016

Did any one see the picture of Leonardo
Dicaprio’s mother? She has armpit hair and is completely gorgeous, but others found it appropriate to put in their two as to what beauty is… All I can say is… Get a life. There are much bigger issues in this world!!

Here is the link : http://www.popsugar.com/beauty/Leonardo-DiCaprio-Baby-Photo-Mom-Armpit-Hair-40502729


March 18, 2016

Yes! I saw this as well! I went about a year without shaving (anywhere) when I was in college simply because I was annoyed that I was expected to shave myself to look pre-pubescent. (I lost my confidence in the experiment when I started dating the man who is now my husband!) It still annoys me, though. Why is it that body hair is okay on men, but not on women? It makes no sense.

Courtney, you need to initiate a “Movember” for women. “Januhairy” or “Octobhair” would work quite nicely I think. We could all ditch shaving for the duration of the month and then finish things off with a pool party! 😀


Marie
March 17, 2016

I imagine you get criticized for pointless things like this because you are obviously very stunning and at a level of social media fame that people who don’t know you feel they’re protected by anonymity (even if you can click on their name and see their pictures) because they don’t know you personally. Let me put it to you this way- can you imagine going up to a stranger in an elevator and saying “oh my god look at your arm hair”? It’s rude!


Cathy
March 17, 2016

Your arms look like my arms do in the summer, and I always love when my skin is tan and my arm hair is blond – it means it’s summer! It reminds me of being young and carefree. I totally agree with you – society puts enough pressure on our appearance already! I also agree with what Marie (and many others) said above.


Halley
March 17, 2016

It’s obviously the dumbest thing in the world for people to have an opinion about! But (do I contradict myself?) I wanted to to say that I love the way bleached out arm and leg hair looks against tan skin. There’s an amazing 70s vibe about it. Harking back, I guess, to a day when a different, earthier kind of beauty was celebrated.


March 18, 2016

Oh wow, I just read this and I can only shake my head. I have been struggling with the way society is going over the past few months a lot. People seem to focus on what to buy, what to show and how to look. It seems to be a competition of who is the most successful, best looking and who has the latest fashion, the biggest house and the biggest four wheel drive. That’s why reading a post like this is so refreshing. It’s rather sad that people get caught up on such a trivial thing as arm hair, rather than seeing the real things in life. I thank every day that we are in the situation as we are (we cannot take it for granted) and that our children and us are healthy and the rest, really does not matter anymore as much as it seemed before. You are wonderful to write a post like this and to put things into perspective. Enjoy the rest of your trip in Oz


March 18, 2016

It saddens me that this was a topic of conversation on your pic at all 🙁
Let’s try not to give our little girls even more things to be self conscious about 🙁
Ugh people’s manners really suck ! Any manners seem to go out the window on social media :(.
Your kids are lucky to have such a wonderfully grounded mama x


Kirsten
March 18, 2016

I can honestly say that I have never noticed another woman’s arm hair (except one… and that was only because it was actually curly!!). Don’t worry about it and keep doing what you’re doing; you’re amazing!


Celia Bowman
March 18, 2016

Amen!


March 18, 2016

Thank you so much for posting that photograph and for the subsequent blog post. I have arms like yours (well very pasty white with darker hair). Being white British I never tan, only burn then go pasty white again. I’ve always been self conscious about pretty much everything about myself but in my getting older am finding myself rejoicing in the differences and learning to accept and love myself for who I’ve been created to be.
I really appreciated your photo and post. I totally agree with you. It was so refreshing to read and so counter cultural. I shall resolve to be happier this summer with my arms and not be so desperate for the sun to bleach my hair. Thank you. I love all the stuff you guys are doing on babyccinokids. All very inspiring.


Federica
March 18, 2016

I have lots too, but never worry about them…and I will continue to ignore them!
Love your pictures and thank you to share your adventures with us!


March 18, 2016

Great Article!
Its ridiculous that women have to shave their arm hair – hair is natural and beautiful but society have tried to brand it in a negative light.


Louise
March 18, 2016

Yeah I have hair on my arms too. I’m hirsute. So what. I wax my top lip because I have a little down of blonde hair their. HOWEVER, the upside is that I have fabulously thick hair on my head! I’ve been a hair model before in my younger days. Honestly who really cares about arm hair. I looked at your pick and thought “Cool, Courtney has arm hair like me!”


Catherine
March 18, 2016

I’m actually glad you raised this topic – I have exactly the same ‘arm hair’ as you and the whole topic was always taboo for me! I was never aware of it until it was pointed out to me at school, during those awkward & sensitive teenage years and as a result I’ve been self conscious ever since. I think I was probably an over sensitive kid anyway, but this just added to my insecurities then & as a result it is still in the back of my mind now as a thirty year old.
Reading your post, I suddenly thought, you are dead right – there really is no need to be insecure or give thought to such a minor issue – looking back all the years to the time it was first pointed out to me, you know what, it hasn’t affected me at all. Sometimes us ladies can be pretty harsh in what we say about others appearance – as you say we ALL have our insecurities, them included!
Great watch by the way … i have the same one:)


Charlie
March 18, 2016

As a mother of girls I think about this a lot. I want them to know that their value is not in their appearance and how ‘perfect’ they look. As their parent, my solution is to shift the focus away. And yet also to discuss it when the occasion arises because I want them to be able to make decisions for themselves that they’ve actually made, not had dictated to them by society. The more women that can do this the better off we will all be. I don’t remove any body hair and have the confidence not to because of my own mother’s role modelling. I think a lot of women have forgotten (or never noticed) that they are the first role model their daughters have. Their actions and words are directly shaping the decisions their children will make, including respecting others. Aside from the fact that our bodies are a gift – (we’re simply so lucky to be alive whatever our quirks are) – it’s nothing but an exhausting unsatisfying path to misery striving to change them. Can I just add that I think raising this topic – and all the other potentially contentious topics you’ve been raising – is awesome. I love that you’re using this as a platform for discussion in this way. Well done you!


Laura
March 19, 2016

In the words of Caitlin Moran ‘wouldn’t it be amazing if a woman did something and everyone just said ‘you know what, I don’t really have an opinion on that”. Whether it be shaving your arms, breast feeding or bottle, staying home or working, why in our current culture and in the media does everyone feel they have to express an opinion ‘yes I am pro this’ or ‘no I am anti this’. If it works for you, why can’t other women just shrug their shoulders and think no more about it. Women are so judgemental to other women, and I just don’t know why. We have enough real issues that we should be focussing on TOGETHER. I believe that we’re all mostly just doing the best we can with what we have and we should give each other, and ourselves, a break.


Emma
March 19, 2016

I don’t care tuppence about how much, or little arm hair anyone has… I love the watch, but love your bracelets even more 🙂


March 19, 2016

People are odd. Clearly the sun has bleached your arm hair and darkened your skin…AND ALSO WOMEN HAVE HAIR ON THEIR ARMS!!
Bizarre. Ignore and move on. Happy travels, am loving the pics on Instagram xx


Emily
March 19, 2016

Ha! This is hilarious…and ridiculous!! You are beautiful just the way you are! I vowed to myself long ago to never allow my children to hear me make any disparaging remarks about myself…appearance or otherwise. As the mother of a daughter, I find it especially important to model for her a positive self image! Arm hair and all!!! Xx


Bibi
March 21, 2016

I saw your picture and immediately thought: there is something different about this.
Then of course THE HAIR and I though that it was great that you posted a picture not photoshopped even if you didn’t it on pour pose. So thank you!!!


Michelle
March 21, 2016

I think it’s very silly and ridiculous that people consider arm hair to be important enough to comment about it. Inner beauty is the most important, of course. However, we should all look at ourselves introspectively and consider the ways we judge people by outer appearances, even though it may not be aloud. If we internalize these judgmental comments but still have them, are we any more tasteful than the people who made arm hair comments? I would tentatively say yes, but there’s still definitely room for improvement. If Courtney’s children were wearing logo t-shirts and cheesy light-up shoes in “poor” taste, would some readers silently or vocally judge? What if Courtney posted a picture of her friend’s giant poofy 90s-style giant American sofa and lots of plastic toys… would that person’s home be up for judgment? The amount of time a woman might spend shaving her arm hair might be the amount of time you or I would spend looking for lovely spring outfits for our children… to help them look and feel their best. Isn’t there some similarity there? Would we silently judge if Courtney had a natural moustache or dark armpit hair? Wouldn’t many of us be culturally fine if she hid those things? Anyway, haha, not to be too much of the devil’s advocate… because I certainly feel like I was also irritated by something so petty as directives to shave arm hair, but then I wondered… am I really so different?


Mary
March 22, 2016

Hi Michelle
I just want to say I love what you’ve said! It’s all the same really – giving out about how judgmental women are while being (sometimes very) judgmental ourselves! We all have opinions. It’s good and natural for us to want to find what works best for us. We are so lucky to have options. Thing is, in this world of polarities it’s never going to be a case of ‘this is the best way for everyone, end of’. If we like to call ourselves open minded then we have to allow for the opposing view too. And we can usually learn lots from it. Not that I’m about to start shaving my arm hair now, but still who cares if someone does? Why is it really awful and a sign of doom that some people do? It’s just arm hair. Shave it, keep it, sugar it, wax it… Who cares? There’s no real harm done. Best care that we show love and respect for our bodies. Just love them as much as we can muster. There are always going to be different ways of showing such appreciation. I do think what these discussions are good for though is making one think, becoming more self aware. Why do I think this and that. I really appreciate that aspect hugely but if we’re talking about supporting women then maybe it should be all women even those who decide to shave their arm hair…x


March 22, 2016

How sad that people think they can say such things to you! I think that some people completely morph into meaner versions of themselves when on social media – they feel like they can get away with saying incredibly rude things that they would never say in “real life” because they have a facade to hide behind. Except in a way, social media has become a very real part of our lives…and those rude comments can hurt just as much as something said face-to-face. I really hope this can change for the better! I also echo other peoples’ comments about women being their own worst enemies. I think in many cases, this stems from jealousy.

I have a lot of blonde hair on my arms as well, and while I used to feel shy about it in high school, I haven’t given it much thought since. I loved seeing that you have arm hair too! 🙂 You are setting a wonderful example for not only your children, but also for other women out there who see how you handled this so gracefully on IG!


Rebecca
March 25, 2016

For my age (27) I very much ignore my appearance (even more so since having my first baby boy) compared to my friends. Whilst they sit comparing nail varnish and hair dye colours, I twiddle my thumbs and probably look rather bored. I leave my hair natural and almost always thrown up in a ponytail, wear one layer of makeup that lingers tiredly on my face for the rest of the day and probably don’t shave my legs nearly enough. But at the end of the day, when I’m feeling a bit manky and questioning if I need to ‘pamper’ and groom myself more rigorously….I remind myself that this is the body I’ve been given and as long as I am healthy that is all I can want. Who cares if we have hairy arms and legs, wonky noses, small boobs or fat bellies….as long as I’m healthy I am grateful. Not to mention a confident, happy women with a smile on her face is far, far more attractive than one with perfectly preened nails, perfect hair, slick hairless skin and I dull personality 😉


Carley
March 29, 2016

Idiots really! My arm hair is pretty much like yours but im not even worried about it. Not even when it’s cold and they stand on end. I remember being in middle school and someone commented on how hairy my arms and legs were and at the time it did make self conscious but now as a 28 yr old woman I don’t give a s**t. I shave the important bits…when I feel like it. I don’t mind being a gorilla in winter 😂


Julie
March 30, 2016

Beautifully said. Yes, let’s please stop all of the pressure to be perfect all the time – pressure on ourselves and on others (perhaps because we feel the pressure ourselves?!). I for one think that tanned skinned and golden blonde arm hair is a really beautiful look. Confidence is the most important and if someone doesn’t feel confident in their own skin, shaving or waxing is a great option to have. I just don’t know why anyone would feel the need to comment on YOUR appearance that way. As always, you look beautiful and handled this with inner beauty as well. xx, Julie


Amanda
April 27, 2016

For me, it’s nothing to do with appearance, but to do with treating people as you wish to be treated.
Is it ok to have hairy arms? Yes.
Is it ok to shave your arms? Yes.
Is it ok to make a personal comment in a potentially hurtful way, effectively saying “My way is right, and your way is wrong.”?
No…
(And I have hairy arms, but not when I was having chemo for breast cancer. I was the same person either way…)


Nigar
July 25, 2017

Dear Courtney! To me you are timeless definition of a Woman, your body, your skin, your hair, the way you look at your beautiful kids. You can’t be more feminine that you already are. Best wishes to you and your family!


Dozywasp
August 15, 2018

So ridiculous. Mammals have hair. We are not reptiles. The real issue going around is complete lack of manners and tact. I’m never shaving my arms, or my back, or my stomach, or my upper thigh for that matter. Obsurd.


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