Bloody hell! Why don't we talk more about periods?

Tennis player Heather Watson has sparked a debate on menstruation recently when she explained in a post match interview that her performance wasn’t up to her normal standard because she was on her period.  Though she actually said “I think it’s just one of these things that I have, girl things.”

Girl things, Aunt Flo, monthlies, having the painters in, the crimson wave, falling to the communists and the one that I hate the most, on the blob!  There are so many sayings for menstruation and I wonder why we don’t feel comfortable using the M word.

The media are all talking about periods this week, my friend Chella Quint runs a project called Period Positive and was on Radio 4’s Womans Hour talking about menstruation.  She is a menstruation education researcher and her project encourages open dialogue without shame, she has some really interesting and entertaining views on tradition menstrual product advertising.  You can listen again here

ibd blogger office loo toilet ulcerative colitis

I think it is brilliant that we are talking about something that women deal with every month but it’s actually surprised me in seeing these articles and hearing the radio show as it pointed out to me that it isn’t the norm.  We don’t usually talk about periods in mainstream media, something that is totally normal sign of a healthy body.  Why are we so embarrassed?

My daughter is almost 12 and so our ‘period talks’ started a couple of years ago.  We are a very open home and always aim to talk honestly and without embarrassment about anything the kids need to know.  And so we have talked about cycles and ovulation, uterus’ and vaginas, but also how it feels to have a period, the concerns she has (she worries that she will start and look down to be covered in blood) and the options she has in menstrual protection. (Tampons, sanitary towels, moon cups).  I also speak to the boys about it and my husband talks to all the kids as much as he can.

I found it interesting to discover that professional sportswomen track their menstruation cycle as much as they do their water intake, their training and muscle/fat ratio in regards to their performance.  They even email the coaches the first day of their cycles so everyone is in the loop!  It makes sense, it isn’t about excuses, it is about accepting that this part of female physiology has an effect on our lives, and not necessarily negative effects, some studies show that people are more creative during ovulation.

I love Chella‘s work, take the time to go look through her brilliant projects, she brings the subjects of periods (as well as feminism, science, comedy) to the forefront with funny, innovative and clever projects.  I have learnt so much from her (including this week the discussion that not all women menstruate and not all people who menstruate identify as women, something I have just never thought about before).  I have talked about her before and it is awesome to hear her in the mainstream press! Woop!

When I think back to my menstrual education, I think it was rather limited.  I don’t remember my mum ever having a conversation with me about it, and though I lived in a house with her and two much older sisters, we didn’t talk about it at all.  We had a talk at our Catholic Primary school delivered with much embarrassment and I was too afraid to put my hand up and ask an questions.  We just came away with the little blue tampon holder that I used to keep in my bag at secondary school because it gave the silent idea that I had ‘started’.

I was about 14 when I did start my periods, quite late compared to most of my friends and I remember coming home and going to the loo, when I looked at the tissue I saw blood.  I called my mum at work and said “ermmm there’s blood when I have been to the toilet”, she asked if it was from my bum (?!!!) which is quite ironic considering that in years to come the answer would have been yes!  I told her that it wasn’t and that I had started my periods.  She muttered something about bringing pads home and I told her I already had supplies and was fine.  We never mentioned it again.

stains menstruation periods chella quint

I can see me going the other way with my daughter, I might throw her a ridiculously over the top ‘Welcome to Womanhood’ or ‘first moon’ party, with streamers and cake… Not really, but I will definitely continue to talk to her about her body, her feelings and the changes she is going through both physically and emotionally as I want her to know that she can talk about these things without any embarrassment or shame.

Shame is something that Chella talks about in her work, Stains, how advertisers use shame and embarrassment as a tool to sell sanitary products to women.  Playing on a fear of women leaking through to their clothes, marketers have pushed their products on us by making the idea of a leak the most humiliating experience anyone could ever have.  Then there is the blue liquid… and the roller blading.

Advertising does seem to be getting a little better, with more adverts aimed at younger women and better language and comedy being used.  I loved this advert… The smiles, the positivity, “the red badge of courage” – just brilliant!


Menstrual education will only get better the more we all talk about it, answering questions honestly and without embarrassment.  Don’t rely on schools doing the talk for you!  Talking about periods should be an ongoing thing, it can’t be all taught in a one hour lesson in the school hall, we need to keep talking about the physical and emotional aspects of menstruation with our children, boys and girls.

There are some great books on the market that work well as both information for children and as a talking point for parents and kids together.  We have Lets Talk About Sex which is a great overview of puberty in general, and I just bought What’s Happening to my Body for girls, as we have the boys version and it was a helpful book.  There is so much great advice online too, but as a parent you should check it out before sharing with your kids.

I think as a society we need to be more open to talking about normal bodily functions, as you may know, my motto on this site is #stoppoobeingtaboo – I say this as the more easy it is for people to talk about poo, the better it is for issues around health, self esteem, mental health and isolation.  The same can be said for menstruation – the more comfortable we are in talking about our own bodies without using baby names or hushed voices, the better our health will be and the easier we will find it to pass on to the next generation.

Chella believes that menstruation education should be:

  • Free, unbranded, objective, and inclusive of reusables like menstrual cups and cloth pads
  • Consistent, accurate, up-to-date and peer-reviewed
  • Supported more comprehensively by the National Curriculum, particularly in Science and PSHE
  • Aimed at different age groups, starting before puberty, and revisited regularly
  • Inclusive of different genders, cultures, abilities and sexualities

I would add to that using the correct words for genitals.  People are definitely more comfortable in using the word ‘penis’ more than the word ‘vagina’ but it is really important to me that in our house we use the proper terms.  When I had my son at 19 I was so embarrassed when the midwife asked me during labour where the pain was, I replied “In my tutu”

TUTU people!!!!

Nowadays I am happy to say that I have no shame in talking about vaginas and because it is just something we do, all three of my kids do too.  We were in the car recently with the kids and a friends child and the conversation got onto vaginas (don’t ask, the topics my kids talk about are often surprising!), the friends child (who is male with a male brother) said something about babies coming out with wee.  My son told him that women have “two holes down there AND a bum hole!”  The lads mother found it all hilarious and when I was telling her about it in her kitchen, the lad came running down with a puberty book open at the vagina diagram and asked me to point out the holes!

It is a funny story, but how bloody great that our kids feel confident and safe enough to ask these questions and have these discussions out loud! As a woman who used the word tutu till my twenties, it is a whole new world! And I am loving it!

So let’s all make a stand and talk more about Aunt Flo, having the painters in, shark week or any of the other sayings for the good old period!


Sam x

Tired, emotional, guilty

I’m so tired. And the tiredness leads to anger, hurt, guilt.

I have no idea whether fatigue is something I just need to accept? Whenever I mention it to the doctors they look at me like I’m daft. “You’ve been through a lot” they say, “give your self a break”, “it all takes time”. Perhaps I expect too much of myself, but I really just wish I could be normal.

Every night, I get up once or twice to empty my jpouch, several times a night I wake thinking about whether I need to go to the loo. Since surgery I tend to have these vivid dreams, you know the ones where you feel like you’ve had a workout when you wake up? I also sometimes have stomach pains, butt burn and accidents.

So when morning comes, I just can’t open my eyes. I just don’t hear the alarm and Timm gets up with the kids. Every day. And the guilt builds… I wake up feeling so drained and exhausted that I can barely function. My limbs are like dead weights, my head fuzzy, my brain screams at me to go back to sleep. I feel lazy and guilty.

Timm leaves me to sleep as long as I need to. He never mentions it apart from asking if I had a bad night. But the guilt inside me is enormous, I feel I’m letting them all down. I feel like everyone thinks I am lazy.

I usually get up at 9am, a full two hours after I should get up. Some days I manage to get straight down into the office, some days I work from my bed. By midday I feel more energised and I try and get as much as I can done, but by 4pm I am flagging massively and could quite easily nap. Evenings are better for me, I feel more awake and often try and get housework done in this time. Then I’m usually in bed by 11pm (sometimes way earlier).

I don’t know whether it’s my routine that isn’t helping? Some nights, despite being completely exhausted I just can’t get to sleep and lay awake for hours.

Or I wonder whether it’s my diet? I have found I am now really intolerant to most vegetables and so my diet is quite restricted. The lack of vitamins and minerals worries me. I’m waiting for an appointment with the hospital dietician and have thought about asking to have my b12 levels checked. (People missing certain parts of the colon will have difficulty absorbing vitamin b12 and some need regular injections).

Sometimes I realise I don’t remember what normal is. My normal is so far away from other people’s that I wonder if my comparing myself to them is stupid?

When I say I’m tired, others talk of their tiredness too, and I think maybe I’m just not as tough as most people! Then I remember that my body has been through so bloody much in the past 18 months. That I’m missing an organ, that I’m learning how to use my pouch, that my body fights against me eating most healthy foods, that my immune system is knackered.

The thing I need to deal with the most though is the guilt. I feel like I need to apologise to Timm for how rubbish I am in the mornings. I feel like a bad mum and a rubbish wife.

I feel I need to explain to everyone that often I have a big front on. And that front is the mirage to tell you “I’m fine!” “I’m not weak” “I’m as good as you” “I don’t need anyone’s help”.

So when I’m seen on Facebook or instagram in the pub or walking the dog, know that it takes a big effort to do that, and I do it because I want to have the same abilities as others, I don’t want to be sick.

Know that every journey or trip requires planning to know where toilets are, a packing of wipes and underwear, a knowledge that using public toilets is an embarrassing experience because of the noise, that I’m using up valuable spoons to do that thing and will suffer for it later.

Please just have a little understanding that despite my brash, shouty, activist exterior I am still healing, still learning how to accept and use my new body and still dealing with the emotional trauma that the past 18 months have thrown at me.

Sam ✌️&❤️

Harry is back… Hernias and J pouch

So do you remember that when I had my stoma I also had a parastomal hernia that I named Harry?  Well, Harry is a tenacious little sod and even though I my surgeons fixed my hernia during my Jpouch Surgery he is BACK… And so I am gutted to say that my resolution to have no surgery in 2015 is shot and it is only January!

I will be having surgery on my hernia (hopefully) in the next 6 weeks.  It is only a small operation and I will only be in overnight but I have to say I feel quite anxious and unhappy about it.  I was desperately hoping that my jpouch surgery last May would be the last hospital admission and the thought of going back in is really upsetting.  I know it is only a little op and it is done routinely every day but just as I am starting to get my life back and things are getting easier, it feels like a massive setback to have to have something else done.

shadows of a couple peace sign

I have an incisional hernia now, that is a hernia where the weakness comes from a  previously made incision in the abdominal wall, ie the scar left from a previous surgical operation.  It is surprisingly common at 12-15% of operations will lead to a hernia.  I had no idea it was so common!  There is no other treatment apart from surgery and unfortunately the success rate for repairing them is quite poor with a high incidence of complications and failure.  That’s a bit depressing!

I have my pre op assessment on the 16th February and the doctors said at my appointment they were hoping surgery would be in the next 6 weeks and so I am hoping to be sorted by the end of Feb/beginning of March but we shall see.

An odd coincidence is that my mate who was in at the same time as me for the jpouch surgery in May also will be having another surgery in the next few weeks so we are hoping to be hospital twins again.

I am trying to stay upbeat and remember that in the grand scheme of things and all the surgery I have had so far, this is nothing, it’s just a little thing I need to get sorted.  But I am really upset and stressed.  Everytime I have a set back, it just reminds me of my fragility and I HATE that.  I hate the constant reminders that I am not ‘normal’, that I can’t do everything other people can do.

But I will use that feeling to push me forward and to keep going, keep helping others, keep proving people wrong and keep being so bad ass…


Love Sam xx

Too Ugly For Love? Why this isn't ok…

The people who brought you Katie Hopkins show My Fat Story have outdone themselves with their latest show “Too Ugly For Love?” a show about… well let me directly quote the TV channel for you.

“For most people looking for love can be daunting. But for singles with a secret physical affliction the search to find ‘the one’ can seem almost impossible.

This series follows 10 unique singletons,ordinary people living with extraordinary medical conditions, on their quest to find love. All these conditions can be kept secret during a date,and with that comes a whole world of dilemmas.  From alopecia, missing limbs and colostomy bags to medical anomalies such as hyperhidrosis (profuse sweating) and pyoderma gangrenosum (a rare form of skin ulcers), the singletons are agonising over the problems that these conditions are causing in their love lives.

How can you find love when you are hiding your true self? Where do you find the confidence to play the field? When should you reveal the truth to someone that you really like? And how will they react?

The longer you leave the truth, the harder it can be to come clean and the more dramatic the revelation. Follow the singletons through the ups and downs of the dating game as they adopt different strategies to hide their conditions.”

oh no she didn't

There are so many things wrong with this that I barely know where to start! So let’s begin with the title.

Too Ugly For Love? When I saw this yesterday and spluttered and swore profusely all over Facebook and twitter about it, a few people responded saying ‘Ahhh but see the question mark? They aren’t calling them ugly, they are just questioning it!’  Ohhhhh that’s ok then!! They are just asking whether the audience thinks these people are too ugly…

As I read the the biographies of the people on the show (all of whom I have no doubt are lovely, genuine people who I have NO beef with at all) I was just appalled.  There is a lady with alopecia, two gents with amputated limbs, two with ostomy bags (the biog of the show calls them colostomies but as we know, the media refuse to accept the existence of ileostomies and so who knows which they are!), a woman with keloid scarring, one with a disease that causes excessive sweating and a woman who was burnt badly.  As you read through that list, is there any part of you that would question their beauty based on their circumstances?

The title of the show is just to grab headlines, and I am not that surprised coming from a company who works with a woman who feeds off negative publicity like a grotesque leech, but I am so offended by it.

My blog is all about celebrating our inner awesomeness, about loving our amazing bodies whatever they look like and however poorly, wounded or damaged they have become.  It is about trying to show my audience that my scars, my ileostomy bag, my illness never defined me, I have openly written about my journey and how I learnt not only to accept the changes I went through, but to embrace and love my brave, heroic body that keeps going despite illness and surgery.

too ugly for love ostomy bag sam cleasby so bad ass

The idea of a show that labels people with an ostomy ‘too ugly’ is just heartbreaking.  We all have that horrid little voice in our heads, you know the one that tells you that you’re too ugly, too fat, too stupid, too (insert shit feeling here)… Seeing a TV show like this just makes me feel like everyone thinks that about me too.  The idea that it is a question makes me think “Do people think I am too ugly for love??”

As someone who had an ileostomy bag and now has a lot of scarring including large keloid scars, I hit two of their categories.  A little voice inside me thought ‘Blimey, am I doubly ugly?’

And that is when the anger struck… I am a confident woman who does this for a living, I write about body confidence, self esteem and chronic illness and so I KNOW there are so many people out there who feel crap about themselves because of illness, scarring, surgery and more.  I am so furious that there will be people out there now questioning YET AGAIN (because believe me, we do it ALL THE TIME) how people judge them.

I haven’t watched the show and I won’t be.  I know some people will argue that I shouldn’t judge a show that I haven’t seen.  But really, I can’t bring myself to watch it, I know for a fact that when they were asking people to apply they didn’t say “Do you want to be on a show called Too Ugly For Love?”  It just feels like a way to point at the people different to you, it is that sympathy porn of The Undateables, making struggling people easy fodder for the masses and it doesn’t sit well with me.

This line in the TV show’s bumpf gets me straight away…

“follow the singletons through the ups and downs of the dating game as they adopt different strategies to hide their conditions.”

I understand the feeling of wanting to hide your illness/disability away, but that is a negative thing.  To hide something means to be ashamed of it and not want the world to see.  Surely we should be helping others to learnt to accept the thing they want to hide, as a society shouldn’t we be saying ‘we are all different and that is a wonderful thing’ not watching people adopting strategies to hide their conditions!

And so I wanted to write about it, I have had so many messages on Facebook, twitter, instagram and email from people who are just disgusted by TLC UK.  I hope TLC will take on board the comments from people all over the UK who they have upset and offended by the title of this show.

And my message to anyone reading this who is less than perfect (that would be all of you!) is this…

We are all so different, some of us slim, some muscly, some obese, some carrying a few extra pounds.  There are those of us who have had surgeries that alter us in some way, who take medication that changes the way we look, there are those of us in wheelchairs, with ostomy bags, with scars.  Some of us have very visible diseases and illnesses and some have ones that are entirely invisible but make our heads and hearts hurt with the struggle…

Beauty is not perfection.  Ugly is not imperfection.

Our bodies are the only ones we have and they are with us for life, we need to learn to accept, love and celebrate the body we are in, no matter how poorly or broken it is.  I always think of my scars as the hieroglyphs of my journey, they don’t show weakness, they show what I battled through and that I came through the other side a lot stronger, wiser and filled with so much more empathy and kindness for others.

If you are surrounding yourself with people who question your physical appearance, or there are people in your life who believe you are ugly, it is not yourself you need to change, it is the people around you.

Nice, kind, good people won’t judge you for your difference.  Your true friends will love you for being you, your physical appearance means fuck all to the right people.

The person you want to fall in love with is out there, and they don’t care about whether your body is perfect, they care about whether your heart is true, your laughter genuine, your nature kind and your soul happy.  If you have to hide away who you really are, they aren’t the one.

We are all amazing beings and we need to learn to celebrate and love one another not point fingers and question their perfection.

If you are looking for perfection, you will have a long wait.  Every one of us has so many delicious imperfections that make us the person we are.

Fuck perfection.  Let’s celebrate the best parts of us and know that we are all a little broken.

I would LOVE to hear your opinion on all this, please leave comments.


Peace and Love


Sam x



Pelican Healthcare Live Your Life Roadshow

Do you live near Cardiff and have an ostomy? Pelican Healthcare are holding their Live Your Life Roadshow on Saturday 24th January at Miskin Manor and I will be there, giving a talk about body image, self esteem and my time with an ostomy.

The Pelican team will also be there, along with surgeons, doctors, nurses, Bowel Cancer UK and Thrive Magazine.  There will be talks, Q&A’s, craft stalls and a ton of information and support.  The Roadshow runs from 10am till 3pm and there are free buses running from Royal Glamorgan, Prince Charles and Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda hospitals throughout the day.

ibd blog crohns and colitis uk


I have done talks up and down the UK about living with Ulcerative Colitis and my journey through illness, medications, surgeries and recovery.  I do this because I believe in talking openly about these issues to help others on their own journey.  I love writing for both my blog and also for other websites and magazines, but I really love getting out and talking with members of the public.

sunday assembly conway hall london sam cleasby

So if you are about on the 24th, please come and listen to my talk but I will also be about all day so come say hello and tell me your IBD story.  I know that it can be intimidating to go along to support and information days, it can feel like it isn’t for someone like you, or it can be difficult to go on your own.  But know that it will be a friendly, open and welcoming day and there will be plenty of friendly faces.

It is my first time in Wales and I can’t wait! Look out for me and if you are feeling a bit nervous, come hang out with me and we can talk poo!

Hope to see some of you real soon, please share with anyone you think would benefit from the roadshow.

Till then you can follow me on Twitter, like me on Facebook or check out my photos on Instagram.


Love Sam xx

Why we need to keep talking about IBD

What an amazing year 2014 was for raising awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease!! When I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2004, I had never heard of the disease and through the years, so many people I spoke to were completely oblivious to it too.

In 2013, I had a subtotal colectomy and ileostomy formed.  I did what any right minded, modern person does and googled the hell out of it.  I found some great medical advice but very few blogs about IBD.  I talk often about the amazing Inflamed and Untamed, who I fell a bit in love with, and who was the inspiration for me starting this blog, but I could find hardly anything in the UK.

Yet in the past 18 months, there seems to have been a huge uptake in IBD blogs, people sharing their personal experiences of chronic illness of Crohns and Colitis and I think it is bloody WONDERFUL!  It is just fantastic that people facing a life with IBD now have so much information at their fingertips now.  The whole reason I started this blog was to share my stories and experiences in the hope of helping others.

I recently wrote about some of my favourite IBD bloggers, including Thaila Skye and Colitis Ninja, and there are so many people currently working SO HARD to raise awareness, raise money and working to #stoppoobeingtaboo – I raise a glass to every single blogger and campaigner.  We are doing something to make a difference and should be very proud of ourselves!

crohns and colitis awareness week


So things are good, right? Yes, of course! But they can be SO MUCH BETTER, and we need to all keep talking about Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Why? Because the more we talk, the more we #stoppoobeingtaboo, the more money we raise for support and research, the better life will be for the 300,000 people in the UK and the 5 MILLION people worldwide living with Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is not just a poo disease where you get a touch of diarrhoea…

Firstly, there is NO CURE, though there may be periods of remission, these are illnesses that are with sufferers for life.  The medications taken to control the disease control the inflammation include antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, steroids and immunosuppressants.  But the side effects from these meds include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, night sweats, insomnia, hyperactivity, high blood pressure and stunted growth in children. Patients on immunosuppressants are at risk of developing lymphoma, tuberculosis, kidney and liver damage, anaphylaxis, seizures, and serious or fatal infections.

It is also not just about the bowels, IBD can cause issues in other parts of the body, including inflammation of the inner part of the eye, mouth sores, arthritis, osteoporosis, gallstones, kidney stones, skin rashes and ulcerations, blood clots, anemia and several neurological conditions, including seizures, stroke, myopathy, headaches and depression.

People with IBD have an increased risk of mental health issues, from depression to anxiety and stress, patients have to deal with self esteem and body confidence issues.  Fatigue can also be a huge issue which affects every part of patients lives.

20 to 45 % of people with ulcerative colitis and up to 75 % of people with Crohn’s disease will eventually require surgery in the form of colectomy (removal of the large intestine) ostomies, jpouch surgery and more.  This is on top of the multiple hospital visits that IBD patients will often need to deal with the often very painful disease.


fatigue and ulcerative colitis crohns ibd


Crohns and Colitis UK is a nationwide charity whose mission is to work with all those affected by Inflamatory Bowel Disease, in particular Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, to achieve a better quality of life, improve services, and ultimately find a cure.  They raise awareness, provide information and support, fund crucial research, and campaign and speak up for change.

I am a huge fan of Crohns and Colitis UK, I’m part of the Organisation Team for the South Yorkshire group and raise money for the charity on my Just Giving page (always open for any spare change you would like to throw their way!)

So please, keep talking, keep reading, keep sharing… IBD is not going away and the more we talk, the easier life is for everyone who has Crohns or Colitis.

Thanks for reading.  Please go take a look at my Facebook page and like, my twitter feed and follow and my instagram and follow there!

Let’s #stoppoobeingtaboo and never stop talking about IBD.

Sam xx

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 140,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Why I'm giving up the razor

I have an almost 12 year old daughter, she is reaching the age where the usual puberty changes are happening, there are boobs and hormonal mood swings and there is the hair… Sprouting from armpits, legs and you know, everywhere.

And so it got me thinking about the relationship between young women and their body hair.  It is such an odd thing when you think that though teens are desperate to grow into adults, they also want to remove the body hair that shows their maturity.

We live in a society where the norm is to remove every inch of hair from our legs, armpits and fannies and though I have no issue with women who choose to do this, it concerns me that the vast majority of images we see are of hairless women.

I watched The Devil Inside recently, a movie about demonic possession, there is a scene in this ‘docu-film’ (you know the whole film shown as a real documentary thing) where a woman has been locked in a basement, chained to a bed, she has dislocated her own shoulders and has the devil living inside her… Yet she seemed to have found the time to have shaved her armpits.  What the fuck?

the devil inside armpits


I’m a fan of The Walking Dead and it is noteworthy that all the female characters are totally smooth in the pit department.  They are years into apocalypse, zombies are walking the earth, their days are spent killing monsters yet all the women have the time to make sure they have no body hair that could be deemed unattractive?

And so I come back to my own family, my eldest child is a boy and so the only shaving we have discussed is about the whiskers on his chin but now I come to my daughter and I suddenly feel so protective over her body as she has so much more pressure to deal with as she grows up.  She has started to mention that other girls at school shave their legs and though she hasn’t outright asked yet, we have talked about it a little bit.  I have told her that some women shave, some don’t.  Either way her body hair is natural and she is a beautiful young woman and removing the hair or not won’t change that.

Then I look down at my hairless legs and armpits and think, oh snap… I grew up in a house of women with two sisters both a lot older than me and so I have always shaved.  It was just the norm, it was what women DID.  When I actually thought about WHY I shave I can’t really say why I do it.  I care little either way, I don’t have a strong preference yet it is a habit that I have done for over 20 years!

And so I decided to ditch the razors for a while, my body is au naturel at the minute and it honestly has made no difference to my life.  I am not making a big deal about it, we actually haven’t discussed that I now have hair on my body where it previously wasn’t, and that’s how I want it to be, not a big deal.  I am not encouraging her NOT to shave, more silently showing her that some women don’t and the world doesn’t stop turning.

I think the legs and armpit shaving leads onto a trend that worries me more which is the pubic hair thing… In a study by Indiana University, it showed that two-thirds of women aged 18-24, had totally or partially removed their pubic hair during the past month, and a fifth had been hairless during that entire period.  I talked to male friends and two had NEVER slept with a woman who had pubic hair.

It is all about personal choice, for sure, but more women remove the hair than those who don’t, making a hairy fanny a rare breed these days.  Most of my friends remove the vast majority or all of their pubic hair and it got me wondering why, some say they hate the way they look with hair, others cite cleanliness and fashion as the reason they go smooth down below.

As adults we have the ability to make that choice ourselves, I am seriously not judging those who do shave or wax.  But it does concern me that pre teens and teens see a very hairless society that tells them that hair removal for women is not only the norm, but that women with hair on their body are ugly, dirty or the punchline of a joke.

Some say the trend began in the pornographic industry, the vast majority of pornographic images show no hair at all and I suppose that is what concerns me, that pornographic imagery has seeped into mainstream life so far that our young teen girls are mimicking the looks of porn stars.

Perhaps it is simply a trend, one that is going to change with the times.  Either way I feel really protective over the daughter and her body hair! Maybe that is daft and I need to calm down, but I have this feminist voice screaming in my ear that I need to show my daughter that her body hair isn’t ugly or something to be ashamed of, that many beautiful, smart, wonderful women have body hair and it makes not a jot of difference.  I feel like I need to show her some sort of antidote to the barrage of hairless images and the messages she sees constantly that hair = ugly.

This post is not about stigmatising women who remove their hair, it is about a conversation that we often don’t speak of, if you have ever winced at the sight of a woman with hairy legs, think about WHY? What is it that you think is offensive or ugly.  Women’s bodies are constantly being judged on weight, size, shape, colour and body hair is another way to marginalise women, to make them feel ashamed of the natural state of themselves.

I realise I do sound anti shaving and I am genuinely not.  As with everything, personal choice is key but I like to think now that I am the mother of a young woman that I can do a little something to show her a different image to the ones that she sees everywhere else.

And so I am ditching the razor for the time being.  So far my husband hasn’t mistaken me for an overweight, bearded man,  but thanks Veet…


Love Sam x