A Hairy Tale MAG

August 18, 2008
By Sydney Ramirez, Nashua, NH

Open your average Seventeen magazine and look at the ads. What are they selling? Razors. I find that perfectly acceptable; people shave and therefore need razors. There is something, however, that I’m not comfortable with: the message. Gillette Venus advertises that shaving your legs will help you release your “inner goddess.” Schick Quattro for Women says that shaving will free you. Nair has its own brand for women called Nair Pretty! What is this saying to the young women of America? They are being forced into an unnatural mold that is ruling their lives and ravaging girls’ self-esteem. What we eat, what we wear, how we act – it is all guided by the ultimate (virtually hairless) woman every man supposedly desires, and I have had enough.

Shaving is an American custom, and a foolish one at that. If we took the time to see the injustice in the social hierarchy our nation is built ­upon, perhaps we could understand beauty in a natural body. I realized how much time I wasted mutilating my body with a razor blade. How can people look positively on that? Whenever I shaved, I cut myself, which isn’t enjoyable. The constant stress of wondering Do I need to shave? is a nuisance. There was no reason for me to continue shaving if I didn’t want to.

So I stopped. The first day of summer, I put down the razor, thinking, Maybe I’ll just try this for a week. At that point it wasn’t even about the media’s incessant pressure, or rebellion against conventional thinking; I stopped purely for comfort. Even though my hair has grown, I realize how comfortable it has made me. It feels as though I’ve opened up a whole new part of my body I didn’t know I had. I feel ­closer to myself and more confident in my body. I wear tank tops and skirts; I’m proud of my body hair. I like to show it off, even for shock value. The choice is mine and I made it.

People talk about it, of course. I’ve lost friends ­because of it, which makes me realize that if someone is ignorant enough to worry about the state of my hair, I shouldn’t be associating with that person in the first place. It hurts to know that those I once valued and cared about are simply conforming clones, and it hurts to hear strangers, even small children, make rude comments about my body hair. I know my friends talk about it with their friends, saying, “She’s the girl with the armpit hair.”

Sometimes I feel like it’s going to prevent me from getting dates, with the way people react to it (mostly teenage boys, howling about how disgusting it is). One of my best friends told me that it was a bad choice. He said the fact that I didn’t shave made him angry, that my body hair made him angry. Needless to say, I don’t speak to him anymore.

Teenage girls judge me just as harshly. Another friend threatened, jokingly, to shave me in my sleep. I know there are girls reading this right now thinking, Shaving ­isn’t that hard. Stop whining and making such a big deal. Body hair is nasty! You were raised to think that way. In your home, on your television, in your bathtub, by your peers, they raised you to believe body hair is gross. I was raised that way too, but I broke through it.

My closest friend tells me that she considered not shaving under her arms, but she would never stop shaving her legs because she thinks she is too hairy. Nobody should judge you as too hairy. I want to scream, “Stop letting other people decide what you are and what you’re not!”

Acceptance is important to people, and yet I don’t understand how some can accept the biggest differences in people – sexual orientation, race, religion – yet find my disdain for shaving revolting and intolerable. You wouldn’t tell Jewish people that their yarmulkes are gross and that they should take them off, so why would you tell me that my body hair is vile and I should shave?

I question the fate of our generation. Think about it: if Miley Cyrus stopped shaving, adolescent girls all over the world would too. Most people will venture to say that they are different from everyone else, but they aren’t.

You can choose to focus on the physical aspect of what I’m doing, and you can point and laugh at my body hair. Or you can take the time to look deep into your beliefs about American culture and see that I have actually freed myself from corporate oppression. You can look down on me for being happy with the natural state of my body, or you can look up to me for thinking for myself and having the guts to say no to peer pressure. The choice is yours.


The author's comments:
I really hope this changed people's mind about body hair. I hope guys don't discriminate against girls who don't shave and I hope there are some girls who decide to say goodbye to their razors. For anyone who does, I have some advice: your old deoderant probably won't work. I suggest you use Ban roll on, because that way it won't (shudder) clump and it keeps the odor at bay.Also one last thing to the guys: you take for granted the sensation of leg hair blowing in the wind. I'm here to tell you that yes it is great and you should appreciate it because most girls can't :D

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This article has 285 comments.


Nic0le BRONZE said...
on Nov. 23 2015 at 10:31 am
Nic0le BRONZE, Hoffman Estates, Illinois
4 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Words without experience are meaningless." - Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

Yaass girl this is an amazing message! Keep doing you, I wish I was as half as brave as you to put down the razor and even drop friends for what you stand for!

on Aug. 5 2015 at 9:04 am
Qudsia PLATINUM, ALIGARH, Other
23 articles 0 photos 39 comments

Favorite Quote:
bravest of you are not those who can defeat a lion but the ones who can defeat anger

incredible

lkk4209 BRONZE said...
on Dec. 2 2013 at 7:32 pm
lkk4209 BRONZE, Somewhere, Massachusetts
4 articles 0 photos 56 comments

Favorite Quote:
"April Fool's Day is for amateurs. You never need an excuse to mess with people's heads."

"I may be lying in the gutter, but I'm staring up at the stars, honey."

Not to be rude, but is English your second language? Anyway, you claim to respect the author's opinion, but you proceed to accuse her of being lazy and attention seeking, which is hardly respectful! There is nothing in her article that indicates she fits either of those descriptions. Furthermore, who's to say she isn't promoting positive body image or fighting sexism? She's clearly proud of her body, despite refusal to conform to gender norms. I'd say she's doing both!

on Jun. 28 2013 at 10:24 pm
@theatregirl, You're agreeing with someone who believes in not shaving. That’s the opposite of your point of view. ;P

on Jun. 6 2013 at 7:24 pm
SophiaCross SILVER, Plattsburgh, New York
7 articles 3 photos 89 comments

Favorite Quote:
To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”

I absolutely  love this article, and am very glad they actually put it in the magazine! You are incredibly gutsy to defy the social norms "standard" of beauty, and you have my complete and total support. Hair and all, I support your cause!

on Feb. 21 2013 at 10:31 am
HiddengoldTee SILVER, Brooklyn, New York
7 articles 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Procrastination was created to give you time for the things that you'd otherwise have no time for"
-Me

But wait... Why is it any different than wearing a bra? Great point though!

on Feb. 21 2013 at 10:20 am
HiddengoldTee SILVER, Brooklyn, New York
7 articles 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Procrastination was created to give you time for the things that you'd otherwise have no time for"
-Me

This is beautiful and reminds me that almost everything we do is because we are brainwashed by the media which is kind of a scary thought... What are we? Do we really make our own choices? It so happens that I only shave in the summer though I don't have the guts to flaunt it but I don't hide that fact that I don't shave either.

on Jan. 24 2013 at 8:30 am
absconditus BRONZE, Monroe, North Carolina
4 articles 0 photos 10 comments
I think this is great. I am still going to shave, but I really admire you looking past what the world tells us. I have really curly hair, and I used to straighten it a lot. I never straighten it now and I love it so much more!

on Dec. 31 2012 at 5:35 pm
SFeathery BRONZE, Ridgefield, Connecticut
4 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The world is quiet here" -V.F.D.
"All is number" -Pythagoras

Well, to contribute: I grew up in a home with foreign parents; they don't shave, so i never thought much about it. And I've always  been a little out of touch with the "norm" (no cable tv, smartphone, etc) so I've never been told too many times that body hair was gross and whatnot. But you know, society gets to you and slowly i started to "realize" (emphasis on air quotes) how "disgusting" arm/leg hair was. so i shaved. once. after that, i realized that nobody cared either way; i mean, i wasnt too popular in the first place. so i stopped... based on my personal experience, i really do agree with this article- its all about what youve been told, about perspective. its the way you think.   think of it this way- before the hunger games, katniss didnt shave... :D 

on Dec. 21 2012 at 5:52 pm
Kathryn_H BRONZE, Pleasanton, California
2 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life isn't about about waiting for the storm to pass... It's about learning to dance in the rain."

This was an interesting article and good for you for standing up for what you believe in, but I'm not going to stop shaving. I know you say that I was taught to believe in shaving, but I personally just don't like the way body hair looks.

Claire_A GOLD said...
on Dec. 20 2012 at 9:06 pm
Claire_A GOLD, Pleasanton, California
11 articles 0 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Always a poet, even in prose."
~Charles Baudelaire

I feel the same way, ADifferentKindOfPrincess

on Oct. 14 2012 at 12:47 pm
theatregirl PLATINUM, Lathrup Village, Michigan
30 articles 12 photos 212 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To thine own self be true," -from Hamlet, a play by Shakespeare.
"I have sworn on the altar of god eternal hostility against all forms of tyranny over the mind of man." - Thomas Jefferson

agreed! thier point when stop "fighting for what believe in" and simply do weird thing for attention. i find that by not shaving, you being selfish because it make other people feel uncoformtable. in american,, we very  induvialistic, to point where be we forgot that when make choice that very public, like shaving, not only use have deal with our choose other do too

on Oct. 14 2012 at 12:46 pm
theatregirl PLATINUM, Lathrup Village, Michigan
30 articles 12 photos 212 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To thine own self be true," -from Hamlet, a play by Shakespeare.
"I have sworn on the altar of god eternal hostility against all forms of tyranny over the mind of man." - Thomas Jefferson

agreed! thier point when stop "fighting for what believe in" and simply do weird thing for attention. i find that by not shaving, you being selfish because it make other people feel uncoformtable. in american,, we very  induvialistic, to point where be we forgot that when make choice that very public, like shaving, not only use have deal with our choose other do too

on Oct. 14 2012 at 12:44 pm
theatregirl PLATINUM, Lathrup Village, Michigan
30 articles 12 photos 212 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To thine own self be true," -from Hamlet, a play by Shakespeare.
"I have sworn on the altar of god eternal hostility against all forms of tyranny over the mind of man." - Thomas Jefferson

agreed! thier point when stop "fighting for what believe in" and simply do weird thing for attention. i find that by not shaving, you being selfish because it make other people feel uncoformtable. in american,, we very  induvialistic, to point where be we forgot that when make choice that very public, like shaving, not only use have deal with our choose other do too

on Oct. 14 2012 at 12:41 pm
theatregirl PLATINUM, Lathrup Village, Michigan
30 articles 12 photos 212 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To thine own self be true," -from Hamlet, a play by Shakespeare.
"I have sworn on the altar of god eternal hostility against all forms of tyranny over the mind of man." - Thomas Jefferson

i respect opinion, but personally i thing not shaving your under arm hair is discussing and cause batercial to grow under your arm. it have come too! we live in country where sub-culture of people who simply hate everything consider popular or normal and do crazy stuff simply because "they have right" and don't compare this to jewish people wearing yarmulkes. they wear yarmulkes for a reason, to show religion. you don't shave because you don't like and and enjoy  " the sensation of leg hair blowing in wind". that has nothign do with that.  what have accomplished? you not fighting corporate greed, overcoming negetative peer pressure,  promoting postive body image or fighting sexism.  yYOUR SIMPLY TO LAZY TO SHAVE AND WANT ATTENTION!  ( i hope shock values worth it) so don't complain if l some make fun or doesn't next to you because sometime, your have self less enough to do thing for people comfort not just yours.

on Sep. 15 2012 at 6:05 am
BlueSunset BRONZE, Barcelona, Other
3 articles 0 photos 79 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind"- Dr. Seuss

I absolutely love your article, however this doesn't only happen in America, it happens all around the world. I have been fed up now for years about society modifying us by their command and we have no chance to be ourselves physically, unless we decide to break free from that globe of "pretty people" and fend for ourselves. I think you have a lot of courage to stand up for yourself and be who you are, I honestly do hope that many many other girls, even boys, read this article and change their point of view.

on Apr. 6 2012 at 9:30 am
QueenOfAirAndDarkness SILVER, Brockport, New York
5 articles 1 photo 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
I am who I am. Your approval isn't needed.
- Unknown

I respect you and your views. If it makes you uncomfortable shaving, then go ahead and not shave. But I personally feel disgusting if I don't shave. Don't tell me that I'm conforming to peer pressure, but I feel all gross and hot and... just disgusting if I don't shave. But it's your own choice to not shave, and I respect you for standing up for what you believe in.

on Mar. 29 2012 at 4:35 pm
beautifulspirit PLATINUM, Alpharetta, Georgia
35 articles 0 photos 1401 comments

Favorite Quote:
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
--Eleanor Roosevelt

Well, I will admit that the thought of shaving exhausts me sometimes. Sometimes I just don't feel like it. But I feel the same way about waking up, using a flat iron on my hair, etc. I'm just a lazy girl:) no jk But seriously, I feel more comfortable without the hair tickling me. But I do wonder that in an alternate universe, if young girls and women were told or influenced by the notion that going "au natural" is the norm, would more women have hairy armpits? I remember when I was ten and I asked my mom if I could shave my legs, because I didn't like that I looked hairy wearing shorts in the summer. Was that my decision or did society make that choice indirectly? I like that you mentioned peer pressure, because it does happen. If more women don't want to shave, who are we to judge them and call them nasty names? Honestly, I don't know how some people can be so rude---you ever notice how some people associate not shaving your legs to being a lesbian, a feminist or European? But great article! This is an obscure issue and I'm glad it was brought to my attention.

KatsK DIAMOND said...
on Feb. 15 2012 at 8:10 pm
KatsK DIAMOND, Saint Paul, Minnesota
57 articles 0 photos 303 comments

Favorite Quote:
Being inexhaustible, life and nature are a constant stimulus for a creative mind.
~Hans Hofmann
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
~Ray Bradbury

Yes, the spelling is correct, and I agree. Hey, could someone check out my work, too? (Totally optional)

on Dec. 27 2011 at 2:15 pm
Pamplemousse SILVER, Gilbert, Arizona
7 articles 1 photo 69 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To be happy, Don't do whatever you like, Like whatever you do" -James Barrie (author of Peter Pan)

Thank you so much for this article! I think that your ideas are true about so many things. I do shave and will continue to do so, but that isn't even really the point of what you are doing. We do things and think things just because we have been taught to do that. Be strong and do what YOU believe, not what everyone else believes.


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