Throughout the month of November, men are encouraged to “grow a mo” to raise funds and awareness for men’s health: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. With “Movember” (#NoShaveNovember) halfway through, we wanted to acknowledge the importance of this campaign and also shine the spotlight on Billie; a shaving subscription service designed for women.
Traditionally, women are encouraged to participate in Movember by supporting the men in their lives who are growing out their ‘stash. However, Billie is pushing back against the status quo with a new spin on the Movember initiative. This video advertisement, which includes a diverse group of femmes, reminds the world that women have mustaches too. Combatting the patriarchal and rigid expectations to hide our facial and body hair, Billie encourages women to actively participate in Movember since “a stash is a stash, and we shouldn’t let our perfectly good ones go to waste.”
NEDA applauds Billie for their progressive and feminist take on Movember – and the hair removal industry as a whole. As a Jewish woman, my body hair grows in dark, thick, and fast. I have spent an unthinkable amount of time and money (pain too!) on hair removal: waxing, bleaching, tweezing, and shaving. It’s hard enough to be a woman; on top of the societal pressures to be small, fashionable, and sexy, we receive additional cultural messages that women must have a full head of hair (yet be completely hairless everywhere else) in order to be beautiful and feminine. Sigh!
Billie is undoubtedly ahead of the curve by normalizing body hair. In fact, they are the first women’s razor brand to show actual body hair in their ads. While most companies try to convince folks that something is wrong with them (e.g., body hair) so they can sell their product (e.g., razors), Billie takes a fresh approach and puts people before the product. They empower women to make a conscious decision to shave – or not – and they send the message of body autonomy and body confidence, as seen in this past 4th of July campaign: Red, White, and You Do You (FYI – this is officially my favorite Summer motto/ Instagram caption). Additionally, Billie puts their money where their mouth is by eliminating – and calling out – the pink tax, or inflated fees on everyday products and services geared towards women.
Recognizing the unnecessary gender binary and disparities, they landed on the name Billie since what was historically a man’s name is presently (more) common for women too. Similarly, the act of grooming facial or body hair is not just for people who identify as male. As our culture begins to reject the gender binary (male/female) and embrace folks who identify as nonbinary, gender nonconforming, and gender fluid, we applaud Billie for claiming their stake in Movember. After all, there is no time like the present to acknowledge that women have facial hair, and anyone regardless of their gender can experience mental illness – including eating disorders.
Chelsea Kronengold is the Communications Manager at the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), overseeing NEDA’s social media and communications. Additionally, Chelsea serves as a master trainer for the Body Project; an evidence-based body confidence and eating disorders prevention program for women and girls. Chelsea frequently speaks on behalf of NEDA about her personal and professional experience with body image, eating disorders, media literacy, and weight stigma; she has appeared in national media platforms including Teen Vogue, Huffington Post Live, Seventeen Magazine, WebMD and SiriusXM Doctor Radio.