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Women have long been told to hide their natural body hair, even if it means beginning the expensive and often painful habit of shaving or waxing half your body all the time.

I became completely normalised to harbour the notion that you are only attractive to men without any body hair at all, like a naked mole rat. However, the times are a-changing.

Women across the world and celebrities alike are embracing body hair, with some even choosing to dye their armpit pair (Miley Cyrus, who else). The movement has now been pushed to the forefront by Billie razors.

The brand released their 'Project Body Hair' video one year ago, which was the first ever razor ad to show female body hair.

"We very much wanted to not only acknowledge that body hair exists, and to show it," Billie co-founder Georgina Gooley told Glamour. "But we also wanted to move the conversation around the message that razor brands have been sharing with women—and that shaving is a choice, not an expectation.”

They've now smashed even more taboos by becoming the first ad to show pubic hair. Ideas of what constitutes beauty are definitely changing, courtesy of women like Janelle Monae and Ashley Graham.

Billie wants to normalise pubic hair with its newest campaign, Red, White, and You Do You, to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Image: Billie

The video shows the pubic hair of models in various states, from a total clean shave to a full bush. It's a pioneering idea, with the campaign being inspired by the spirit of last year's video but with a summer vibe.

"If we’re not acknowledging body hair exists, it’s a form of body shaming,” says Gooley, who believes that grooming is another way to force women to be "beach body ready".

“There has been this shame around body hair, and a lot of that is the shaving category talking about the topic as a problem that needs to be fixed with the product they're trying to sell. We didn’t want to be part of that conversation.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by  (@beauty.binge) on

The director and photographer of the ad campaign, Ashley Armitage, who also directed 'Project Body Hair', agrees with Gooley wholeheartedly:

"In our film we wanted to normalize pubic hair because it’s exactly that—normal,” she says. Authenticity is deeply lacking in the advertising and beauty industry,

“Body hair grows on people of all genders, and it doesn’t suddenly become 'gross' or 'unhygienic' when it is on a woman, trans woman, or nonbinary individual. We wanted to show that body hair is a choice; shave it, wax it, grow it, or do a bit of both. All are valid."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The razor brand chose not to showcase a single actual razor in the ad, but the female-focus feels beautifully candid and truthful. Breaking stigmas has never felt this good.

“I think for us it’s always been about putting our audience ahead of our product,” says Gooley. The brand have received huge support on social media, and sold out of razors after the video.

“With Project Body Hair we showed women with body hair and without body hair. We actually had the razor in that one, because we were making this statement and calling out the shaving category. But we were also saying that’s a choice, and with this new video, it's more of a celebration of that choice.”

Feature image: Billie/Unsplash

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Female masturbation has long faced stigma, yet male masturbation is socially accepted as normal, and even healthy. Yet the advantages and benefits of self-pleasure for women can be easily overlooked.

A new study by TENGA took a dive into the world of self-lovin', and highlighted the impacts it has on everyone around the globe. 

The sex toy company surveyed 10,000 people from nine different countries worldwide to investigate how much masturbation has impacted their lives. The result? It's pretty damn important to people.

According to the results, 91 percent of people in the United Kingdom indulge in masturbation, or have at one point or another. That's around 60 million people, which is impressive.

Unfortunately the survey didn't use Irish people as participants, but we reckon the UK is close enough of an indicator.

When the surveyed population were asked why they masturbate, they responded with three dominant reasons; to satisfy their horniness, to achieve sexual pleasure or to relax/relieve stress.

Other reasons were boredom, to help them sleep, to give them body confidence, to become a better sexual partner or because their partner didn't want to have sex with them at the time.

Other research showed that British men and LGBTQ+ are more likely than other group to masturbate, and men and younger generations tend to start younger – around the age of 13.

93 percent of men said that they had masturbated before, while 88 percent of women claimed to have indulged themselves in self-pleasure before. Women tended to start at the later age of 15.

The stereotype is that women don't masturbate as much as men, but science has disproved this on multiple occasions. Girls love self-love, face the pleasurable facts.

Women who currently use a sex toy were found to be more satisfied with almost every aspect of their sex lives than women who don’t – especially when it comes to quality of masturbation and frequency of orgasm.

When asked how often they masturbate, 61 percent of British participants confirmed they do it at least weekly – a greater share than in almost every other country surveyed. 

Those UK people surveyed said that they are horniest in the month of July (summer lovin'), touch themselves most between 7:30 – 11:30 p.m. and, normally take to their bedrooms to do it.

Sexual therapists and health experts agree that masturbation has many benefits, including letting go of sexual shame, better sex, improved body image and a stronger libido. It also releases stress-reducing endorphins in women. 

64 percent of Brits surveyed consider masturbation to be a form of self care or therapy, and 52 percent think it impacts wellness or state-of-mind.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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While men tend to orgasm all or most of the time, women are significantly less likely to orgasm as frequently.

Nearly 80-90 percent of people find masturbation to have a positive effect across most aspects of their lives, including their mood, health, energy and productivity levels, and their relationships.

Among the 41 percent of Brits who have regular masturbation routines, men usually watch porn but women prefer to use their imaginations. Interestingly, British fantasise about previous partners more often than their current one. Hmm…

Finally, when asked what celebrities were fantasised about, the most common answers were Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Hardy, Mia Khalifa, Christian Grey, Johnny Depp and Emma Watson.

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The Fupin Eejits have delighted us all with their weird and whacky Irish videos.

Honing in on their happy-go-lucky personalities, Stevie Cahill, Eddie Whelan and Senan Byrne, have gone viral all around the world with their Facebook and YouTube skits, which always look like great craic.

But, the lads have tackled a much more serious issue in their latest video, and we think it spreads the message brilliantly.

"Mental health matters."

What you might not know about these guys, is that they all work together as mental health nurses in Kilkenny, and worked on this video together to raise awareness for issues that still have stigma in the media.

Speaking to the DailyEdge, the group said: "We all work together in Kilkenny/Carlow/South Tipperary services and we are all based in the Department of Psychiatry, Kilkenny.

"We have never covered mental health from a promotion point before and for obvious reasons, have never done a comedy sketch on it either.

"We have seen celebrities and other people in the media speaking out on mainly depression and anxiety. This is more than inspiring, but there is over 200 other mental health disorders, and most of these are rarely spoken about due to stigma, lack of education, etc.

"We would like to break the barriers of stigma in this country. We get so many messages from people who have mental health difficulties, and a small amount of comedy really seems to be beneficial to so many."

We hope this video spreads like wildfire throughout Ireland, and indeed, the world.

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Al Porter has spoken publicly about his struggle with depression for the first time.

Appearing on Brendan O’Connor’s The Cutting Edge last night, the Dublin based comedian revealed that despite his confidence, he does suffer with mental health issues. 

He also documented and challenged the stigma which currently surrounds taking anti-depressants in Ireland, using his own experience as a powerful example.

The 23-year-old began: “I’m going to tell you something now that I didn’t even tell my mam until two hours ago, when I rang her because I knew I was going to say it to you.”

Explaining his journey towards medication, Al recounted how a friend suggested that the reason behind his inability to enjoy his experiences and success may be down to a physical “imbalance” rather than an issue founded in circumstance.

“I went to a doctor, I wouldn’t even go to my own family doctor, I was too afraid.  So I went to a doctor in Carlow,” he confessed.  “He said ‘look, you need anti-depressants and I never thought that I would be that person.  Nobody in my family would think that I would be that person.”

“I’ve been hiding them in my house,” he continued.  “I have had my friend pick them up because I didn’t want to go in with the prescription.  I’ve had the prescription written to different names than my own.”

“That stigma, I never really thought it was real.  I heard people…talk about it and I’m kind of going ‘I can’t really get where you’re coming from’”.

“And then I suddenly realise, someone that’s as confident as me who tells people every detail of their life, I couldn’t just admit, yeah, that I need those pills.  They’re going to keep me balanced.”

“If I can’t cope with that, Jesus knows how somebody who doesn’t have the confidence that I have does.  [Someone] who’s in their bed for three weeks and is going, ‘Who am I going to ring to pick them up for me?’”.

Al has been widely praised online for sharing his story so candidly.

This morning, he took to Twitter to thank his followers for their support.

 

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Prince Harry is well recognised for his charitable efforts, but today the 31-year-old Royal broke new ground when he was streamed taking a HIV test live from Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital in central London.

The Prince's test was broadcast live via Facebook in order to show the public just how easy being checked for HIV actually is and to help reduce the stigma which often surrounds the process.

Before the test began, Harry noted that despite his background just doing the test did make him feel nervous.

He said: “Even being the person I am and knowing the type of people I’m around, I’m still nervous.”

All the test involved was a simple finger prick and the results were almost immediate, but Harry was keen to stress that the hardest part of the HIV screening process is still getting people to take the first step.

He said to the medic: “Once you’ve got people through the door, that’s the hardest bit out of the way.”

After just a minute’s wait, the Prince was shown the result – it was negative.

Despite his good news, Harry eagerly explained to the camera what would happen if someone did receive a positive result.

He said: “If it was [positive] then we would be having a conversation…it is a life-changing moment but it is a series of events that ends up with me having potentially to take one pill a day for the rest of my life.  [And I] can continue to have a partner.”

Harry showed his fun-loving attitude by joking: "So whether you're a man, woman, gay, straight, black, white, whatever – even ginger – why wouldn't you come and have a test?"

He added that in order to normalise HIV testing everyone should get checked, whether they believe they are at risk of having HIV or not.

Well done to Harry for using his status to highlight such an important issue.

Centre images: Getty

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Everyone has felt anxious at some point or another; however, for many people anxiety can become so overwhelming that it can interfere in daily life.

Anxiety is a rising mental health condition, but, for those who don’t suffer from it, it can be hard to relate to what the sufferer is feeling.

Unfortunately a lack of knowledge can manifest itself into insensitive comments and advice.

Ahead of the UK’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the Priory Group conducted a poll asking anxiety sufferers to share the worst thing that someone has said to them about their illness.

Shockingly, the results show that not only is there a lack of knowledge surrounding the condition, there is still a stigma when it comes to mental health.

Dr. Paul McLean consultant psychiatrist at Priory Hospital Hayes Grove says: “Despite there being as many as one in four sufferers of anxiety there is still a stigma attached to mental health. We need to work on educating people to help them understand that anxiety is a normal part of human experience and that it is nothing to be ashamed of.”

The project shows people standing with placards highlighting the negative comments they have received concerning their illness.

You can view more of these photos here.

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