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why shave?

The 'Hairy Legs Club' is telling women it's OK not to shave - and it's causing uproar

It’s giving the internet conniptions.

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THE HAIRY LEGS CLUB is a Tumblr that provides a ‘positive space’ for women who don’t want to shave their legs.

Women submit photos of their unshaved legs, and often explain why they feel socially pressurised to remove leg hair or uncomfortable showing it in public.

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Many women say that they are grateful they found the community, and some ask for advice on how to handle criticism of their choices. One writes:

I found it painful and humiliating to have to remove my own hair from my own body just to stop being teased and feeling like a freak.I am still very conscious of my hair, but I like to keep most of it. I don’t see why I should have to change my own body to please other people. I’m really pleased that people here are so positive about what is, after all, a very natural condition. A bit of confidence is what we need, and this is a wonderful start.

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Owing to its ‘positive space’ ethos, the Tumblr specifically bars negative messages or insults at people who submit photos. Another user has posted:

I love how you present shaving as a personal choice, as opposed to something necessary so society doesn’t give you funny looks, and promotes confidence amongst the people that choose not to shave.

However, after it received media coverage in the Mail Online, the Mirror and Buzzfeed – among other places – the Hairy Legs Club has sparked a backlash online.

This reaction has been from women as well as men. In fact, more women than men are commenting negatively on Twitter.

However the Hairy Legs Club – which has been going since 2010, but has really blown up in the last year - has a powerful response to detractors:

If you seriously have nothing better to do than insult people who are confident enough in their bodies to post images of them on the internet, then you need to find a productive hobby. Seriously. Nobody made you come to this page and look at the pictures. Get a life.

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Hundreds of women have submitted photos so far. You can view (or join!) the club here.

More: Students can now buy ‘digital slimming’ to make them look skinnier in graduation photos>

More: This woman was Photoshopped to hide her stomach – and Twitter responded beautifully>

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