Laura 'MushKa Mizu' for ‘Natural Beauty’. April 2018.
“I remember my first big European festival, years ago; it was 8/9 days long, a total new experience to me. I was having an incredible time, everyone was so accepting and raw, so much beauty and love everywhere. Then, one day I'm down on a beach of this festival, and I realise I've got hair growing under my armpits, my leg hair has always grown really slow, but even that was noticeable to me and I panicked. I went to my tent and put on a T-shirt. How messed up is that? I stopped the amazing time I was having, to trek to my tent in the heat, and change into clothes that would hide my body more. I even changed my bikini bottoms to some shorts for fear that my pubic hair was becoming visible! The fact that this was actually effecting the time I was having is just crazy, but what’s crazier was that in this moment it was normal, and nothing but embarrassing to me.
In the after party to the same festival my hair had grown even more. Me and my boyfriend at the time met this girl, she walked over to us and, just like that, told me I was beautiful. I remember blushing, smiling and kind of shrugging it off. I did not feel beautiful, I felt really self-conscious. I sat there with her for a few minutes, curiously asking each other about the countries we had come from, before I look down and notice her leg hair. It was not something I was used to in the UK. I had not long left school, and it makes me cringe to think what fresh hell I would have been put through if I had had body hair while I was there. She must have noticed me look at her legs because a moment later she just turned around and asked me, ‘Why don't you let your hair grow? It’s already started’. I honestly didn't know what to say, I felt all the reasons why I couldn't do that. I felt the embarrassment, I felt the awareness of stares, but when I tried to form sentences, excuses to back these feelings up they all sounded so ridiculous. So I replied ‘I just like it’.
In the years after this, I guess my confidence grew a little. I had such solid wonderful friends around me all the time. I was on the move so often, living quite a nomadic life a lot of the year, and I just stopped shaving as much. The difference I started to feel in my skin was incredible, I hadn't wanted to realise all these years that my skin is too sensitive to run razors over it every few days!
People have responded in different ways to my body hair, I would be lying if I didn't say that a LOT of these reactions have been negative. But the most important thing that I realised, was fuck these people. It's not their fault if, like I did, they experience initial shock at a woman having body hair. This is one of the trends, imperfections and ideals drilled into our fresh lil baby brains through the media, by people who want to sell other people stuff that they previously had no need for. If people loved their natural self, what products would they need to buy to feel valid or beautiful. So, it's not anyone’s fault for reacting badly AT FIRST. But after that, get a grip or get out! Fuck anyone who continues to judge you.
Obviously, as most people do, I struggle daily with my self confidence, and peoples reactions have effected that a lot, but I'm happy to say that it effects me less, and less. And it will for you too.
I feel like we've always adorned and modified ourselves, in beautiful, bizarre, repressing, stupid or exquisite ways.
But the difference now is things like the Internet, it's such an easy place to make or break someone. Desensitised through a screen, through a keyboard, it's too easy to tear someone down for their body choices, or the way they happen to look. So I'd like to thank Ben for being among some of the people actively trying to change this. And thanks to everyone out there for being themselves, and loving others for it.”
Laura 'MushKa Mizu', fashion designer. April 2018.