Gooley has always had her finger on the pulse of what women are feeling, even in extreme circumstances like the current pandemic. On May 12, Billie released a short film called “Are We Doing Video?” The project was entirely conceived and shot over Zoom, and shows the very real pressure women feel to apologize for their appearance on the plethora of video chats we’re suddenly attending.
“We’re continuing to challenge the societal pressures women feel to look a certain way, and that’s really been true of everything we do,” says Gooley. “We noticed that working on this project made us freer to open our video chats without hesitation. No more apologizing for bedhead, looking pasty, or feeling like a hot mess. We hope women everywhere start to feel the same sense of freedom. Of course, it’s going to take more than one film for us to completely stop apologizing for how we look but we really hope it’s a start.”
The fact that the brand sees shaving as part of a self-care routine, instead of a grooming routine, is what sets it apart. Gooley understands that some women feel their best with zero body hair, some feel best with full body hair, and it’s up to your desecration to change that at any time. She notes that she’s spoken to women about their shaving habits in quarantine, and while some are taking this time to grow out their hair and do away with shaving all together altogether, lots of women are actually taking this time to shave every day since it makes them feel good.
For Billie, it’s always been about meeting women where they are, and providing the best product possible, instead of enforcing some sort of unachievable ideal and enforcing rules. “That really is the crux of what we came out with initially, which was a great women’s razor that’s priced the same as a men’s razor,” say Gooley. “Taking out any of the pink tax and talking to women the way that I wish someone was talking to me, which was not telling me how I should look or how I should behave.”
Since Project Body Hair’s initial launch in 2017, the body hair market hasn’t changed drastically—there are still ads where women shave pelvis-high bushes into heart-shaped topiaries and women’s razors are still often more expensive than men’s—but the industry is starting to take nods from Billie. In 2018, Gillette released an ad owning up to its outdated beauty standards and showcasing a range of body types, skin tones, and yes, visible hair. Razor brand Flamingo often posts hairy toes on its Instagram, and although celebrities with visible body hair still make headlines, it’s usually met with praise, not disgust.
“[Project Body hair] was personal to me, personal to my team, and it’s been amazing to put that out there and have so many people not only care about the message but share their own body hair and rally together to change the stereotypes that we’ve been living with for so long,” says Gooley. “I’m super proud to be part of a team that created this, but also just really proud to be in a time where women are banding together. We’re not taking it anymore, right? The status quo isn’t good enough, and we’re going to rewrite it.”
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.