Barbara Hovermale, a non-binary college student from Richmond, Virginia, had started shaving at the age of 9. As kids, like most of us, we listened to people and feared their negative comments. It doesn't matter if we are not actually bothered by the hair; what people say would always matter more. Barbara finally decided to stop shaving their leg and armpit hair out of fear of societal pressures.
The 20-year-old shares that their boyfriend "completely embraces them as they come."
Barbara shares that it was partner Jayvien Peakf that motivated them to ditch the beauty treatment.
Rude comments continued to amass on their TikTok videos from time to time for... whatever reasons. While Barbara has only ever told other ladies never to feel pressured about having to shave themselves from fear of society's pressure, they would get comments from how their body hair is long next to fatphobia remarks.
Barbara has gone viral again and again whenever they share just how lovey-dovey they are with their partners. Enviable!
They also unapologetically replied to negative comments with exactly what they want. Once they replied to a TikTok user that wrote: poor man, you probs have hairier legs than him.
The student shared, "It probably shook that person because they're like "oh, you're telling me that someone's partner can actually be attracted to that?
They shared that they once had to do shaving very frequently because they got involved into competitive swimming.
Barbara admits, "I think it's pretty interesting because I definitely do have more body hair than my partner, for sure, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that."
They love including their partner in the videos because it shows people just how they're comfortable with each other as themselves. It also helps them deal with the negativity that some users show.
"When I met him, I had body hair and he completely appreciated and valued me from the start," Barbara recalled.
"He just recognizes that every part of my body is part of Barb, and that's the person that he loves. We both kind of just observe each other and in moments will admire all of the details, and I think that's so beautiful."
She continued, "My leg hair is pretty soft because sometimes I condition it, and if we're cuddling, he will rub and play with it - it's kind of comforting and something that he likes to touch."
Before Jayvien, their previous partner was not really fond of body hair and it put a hold on Barbara's intention to stop shaving.
They recalled, "The thought that was in my mind the very first time that I ever wanted to shave was that I had a crush on a guy and 'oh my gosh, everyone around me has shaved legs.' I remember asking my mom if I could shave just for my crush."
"When I look back on that now, I really hate that that was the mindset that I had when I first wanted to get into it because I realized that I was buying into societal norms."
Jayview was the person that "fueled" Barbara to "just leave it."
Barbara is now an outspoke body positivity advocate as they finally could become themselves on TikTok.
Their first experience on social media was awkward as they never met anyone with a similar body type. But they now "feel really proud" and admits to being "big on talking about 'past Barb' and 'future Barb.'"
Plus, they feel "so confident" that negative comments never really bothered them that much.
"I've encouraged people in my life that I see on a daily basis to not shave their bodies anymore."
After going viral on the platform, Barbara shares that they've been getting many messages from people who feel inspired to stop shaving and being able to see themselves more neutrally. They recall one pleasant memory, "I had someone on my LIVE the other day saying that they wore a bikini for the first time in their life because they saw me wearing one."
"Things like that are so beautiful because that was my whole goal and intention when I started posting on TikTok."