A woman who bore her armpit hair in a photo series about body image has been trolled incessantly on social media.
Philosophy student Laura De, from Belgium, starred in the images shot by photographer Florence Lecloux, to open up discussions about female body hair and the fact that women and young girls are often expected to remove it with no questions asked.
But rather than being applauded for speaking out about her choices, she was instantly harassed and bombarded with negativity.
Some said she looked like she had “tarantulas” under her arms, while others called her horrific names like “slut”.
One person wrote: “That chick is dirtier than an animal.”
The photo, which was shared on Facebook, garnered thousands of reactions, many of which were negative.
De was left devastated by the response and sought out a feminist Facebook group for support, who then posted more positive comments on the photos.
“I never thought I would be the victim of harassment and insults,” she told BuzzFeed France.
She later posted a photo of her armpits on her Facebook page and explained that she is a woman “who decided to do what she wanted with her body” and the consequences of this were “collective humiliation, harassment, insults and threats”.
“I am often told that in Belgium and in France we do not need feminism,” she wrote. “That women have enough rights.
“But all this violence proves that, no, in Belgium - a country that calls itself free and developed - when a woman wants to say no to waxing, it will be punished in any case until she goes inside the standard again [sic].”
She issued a heartfelt thank you to the people who supported her choices and shared the photos in a positive light.
“Girls, boys and non-binary that fight for a fairer world with courage and inflexibility, you are my heroes,” she concluded.
De has since shared a photograph of a waxed armpit. She wrote: “Sometimes I shave, sometimes not, the important thing is that it’s my choice.”
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