The inspiring reason this body image blogger shaved off all her hair
Leyah Shanks, the 22-year-old blogger Body Confidence Revolution, has devoted the past few years to promoting body positivity through her crowd-sourced Tumblr. The site features people of every age, size and background confidently sharing their beautiful selfies to prove that every body is beautiful Or in Shanks’ own words: “Everyone has their own story when it comes to their body and each one is unique.”
Now the Scottish-born blogger has turned her attention to hair, or rather, the lack of it. Earlier this year, Shanks vowed to her readers that if she could raise £500 for Cancer Research UK (about $783 in US dollars), she would shave her head. As the Huffington Post UK reports, Shanks achieved her goal and then, as promised, went under the razor.
The fundraising and the head shave were, in part, due to a cancer scare Shanks’ family experienced last year. Though they got the “all clear” after “months of living hell,” Leyah felt an obligation to use her platform to support the research cause and, as a body positivity blogger, address the physical realities of women living with cancer, specifically women experiencing hair loss as a result of treatment.
“It bugs me that someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer also has the additional worry on their mind about losing their hair,” Shanks told Huffington Post UK. “This stems from a lack of representation and therefore social exclusion of anyone who doesn’t fit this outdated stereotype of a woman. Just when someone is potentially facing the battle of their life, they are still worrying about how they look? That’s not on.”
Shanks hopes that by shaving her head in solidarity with women who have experienced hair loss, she can say the following:
“1. Having an illness like cancer doesn’t define you as a person. 2. Hair or no hair, you’re gorgeous. 3. Being bald is nothing to be ashamed of.”
Leyah has strong words for narrow beauty standards that dictate that a woman must have a full head of hair in order to pass muster:
“It makes me sick that in 2015, there are still so many rules and regulations that govern the way a woman is ‘supposed’ to look. We’re meant to be stereotypically female, an ideal which in my opinion is prehistoric.”
“Womankind is a deliciously diverse thing in terms of how we physically look and I think that it’s so important that real life diversity is represented in the media and fashion industries. In my view, it ought to reflect real life; alopecia, trichotillomania, cancer victims and everyone else who goes through involuntary hair loss is a part of that.Womankind is so much more than how it looks.”
Hear, hear. We are big fans of the important work that Leyah is doing and love the powerful example she’s setting. This is a person who is showing the world that beauty is about the size of your heart, not the length of your hair. That’s a message we all need to hear.