By Sage Reynolds
Launched in 2017, Billie was founded by Jason Bravman and Georgina Gooley with the vision “to create an unapologetically, female-first company in the boring, male-dominated shaving category” while rejecting the Pink Tax along the way. In June of 2018, Billie released “Project Body Hair,” which acts as “a celebration of female body hair…wherever it is or isn’t” (“The New Body Brand”). This online campaign began with a video production on Youtube as well as an image gallery on their website. It is also a hashtag (#projectbodyhair) that encourages people to post photos with as much or as little body fuzz that they want. The video, which has over 1.2 million views and looks like a music video about female body hair, was directed by Ashley Armitage and features Princess Nokia’s song “Tomboy.” Billie focuses on closeups of women’s hair: armpits, bellies, toes, legs, unibrows bikini line. Finally, an ad that shows what natural female body parts look like: hairy!
It’s pivotal to look deeper into Billie’s mission approach, selling tactics, and advertisements. Billie’s mission could seem ironic by embracing a movement that makes purchasing razors obsolete. Is this pro-hair approach genuine? Or is it trying to appeal to people who support the pro-hair movement but still buy a pretty razor to shave? Is Billie simply exploiting people with body hair/people who choose not to shave to sell their product? Billie says they are all about being the razor that is there when you want to shave, but where is the narrative about where this want comes from? Does an 11-year-old girl who just began to grow hair want to take a razor to her flesh? Or is she convinced that there is something fundamentally wrong with female body hair? Is the video “Project Body Hair” exploiting people that grow their body hair to sell a product that will do just the opposite? It’s easy to be skeptical of Billie, whose mission is to “make the internet a little fuzzier” while selling products to strip that fuzz from real life.
Billie’s efforts to disrupt the dominant discourse around female body hair are receiving praise from customers and critics. Creating more access to products through Billie’s cheaper prices and relatability to more bodies is an important effort to recognize. Knowing how Billie can improve too is just as crucial. But no matter how progressive a company may be, it is always important to look deeper into their mission and what assumptions these promises rely on. Other razor companies should take notes from Billie, but ultimately it is up to you if a hair removal tool can be pro-hair.