A Hairy Tale | Teen Ink

A Hairy Tale MAG

August 18, 2008
By Anonymous

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 287 comments.

debbydawn said...
on Mar. 22 2010 at 6:52 pm
very interesiting article! i personally think hairless pits might hold less stink but i could be wrong. legs however take way too much time! i only shave when i think my legs will show. tights, leg warmers, leggings and and knee high boots keep me trendy and criticizm free!!! the author does have a really good point about societal expectations for women and unfair judgements based on apperance.

on Mar. 20 2010 at 8:31 pm
naturelover123 BRONZE, San Francisco, California
2 articles 0 photos 50 comments
This is a cool article. I don't see shaving as bad, but not shaving isn't bad either. Body hair isn't gross...it's natural!

on Mar. 20 2010 at 5:39 pm
HappySappy SILVER, Berlin Heights, Ohio
6 articles 0 photos 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
Courage is the magic that turns dreams into reality.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind.

in sixth grade my armpits had a horse mane and my shirts showed it off. my mom noticed and she said it was time to shave. i really do like shaving my armpits because they get all sweaty when i run and they itch. but i have never in my life shaved my legs. they're fine how they are. hairy or not.

my friends and i make fun of my hairy legs but they are still my friends. im sorry some of your friends didnt agree with you but i idolize you as one of the few girls who will stand against the society of "beautiful" women. also this was very well written!

on Mar. 20 2010 at 1:21 pm
riley1516 PLATINUM, Lake Zurich, Illinois
26 articles 2 photos 50 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman

Ive never really considered shaving to be a huge issue.. but i guess people are unrightfully teased if they dont shave. I remember in grade school some girls would get made fun of for having leg hair! we need to look beyond physical appearance

on Mar. 13 2010 at 12:18 pm
What you wrote was seriously ignorant and body hair is for protection, its both healthier and more hygienic than shaving. And, shaving is largely in part to the culture we live in. Many women in Paris don't shave and get plenty of men, back before shaving existed you can't possibly have believed that people gave a flying f word if someone else or themselves were hairy. Just so you know.

Margo BRONZE said...
on Mar. 8 2010 at 10:43 am
Margo BRONZE, Fort Dodge, Iowa
2 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself, the publishing of his ideas, though it brings gratification, is a curious anti-climax." Alfred Kazin

I've never thought about shaving from that point of view. You can also take it from a guys point of view when it comes to facial hair. When you see a guy with a beard, a lot of people will refer to him as "mountain man" or the like. For a lot of people shaving is about conformity. For some (including me) it's the feel of your skin. Shaving isn't comfortable, but I love the feel of my legs after I shaved.

on Mar. 7 2010 at 2:45 am
emmylove BRONZE, Saline, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It's at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys." - Emil Zatopek

lol i love how this person's name is congrats. anyway, i think it's totally awesome that you can defy peer pressure. but you had no luck changing my mind. i still think it's nasty

on Mar. 5 2010 at 7:51 pm
magic-esi PLATINUM, Hyde Park, New York
27 articles 0 photos 231 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one."
"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light."

I forgot to write about the article, I was so obsessed with myself! Well, besides the fact that I COMPLETELY agree with you, the article is written extremely well. I couldn't have said it better.

on Mar. 5 2010 at 7:50 pm
magic-esi PLATINUM, Hyde Park, New York
27 articles 0 photos 231 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one."
"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light."

I shave under my arms because it itches there, but I don't shave my legs because it's stupid. I shaved them once and the trouble was too much for me. And people who shave their (well, you know what I mean) are just gross, if you ask me. People will talk about my hairy legs and act like I'm some sort of disfigured monkey for a few hairs, but I look at their pale legs and I think it's just as weird.

on Mar. 2 2010 at 3:53 pm
evrycloudyday7 PLATINUM, Wappingers Falls, New York
28 articles 0 photos 41 comments

Favorite Quote:
"As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what counts." Seneca
"I'll just read a book instead. I don't care if we're just friends. I can hang out with myself I'm old enough now to pretend. Bam ba dum ba dum ba dum." kate n

I can't believe you lost some friends because you stopped shaving! that's ridiculous! btw, i admire your confidence! but i prefer shaving bc i like the way my skin feels after it =)

on Feb. 27 2010 at 10:03 pm
a.warren BRONZE, Billings, Montana
1 article 0 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Fear only fear it`s self"

I think we all need to be differant. It is kinda funny how there is a man shaving right on this same page

on Feb. 25 2010 at 11:16 pm
not necessarily. the point is that you made an effort, no matter how big or how small, and that's what the guy is supposed to appreciate. that's why we dress nice, we smell nice, and generally behave nice. :)

on Feb. 13 2010 at 8:41 pm
brainiac SILVER, Grove City, Ohio
8 articles 1 photo 26 comments

Favorite Quote:
Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future.

I like your article. I never liked shaving but my mom makes a big deal of it sometimes.

on Feb. 12 2010 at 3:45 pm
alwayssunshine PLATINUM, Charlotte, North Carolina
24 articles 5 photos 147 comments
I definitely understand where you're coming from, and I respect your choice. Having no hair has become part of being beautiful; it's so sad. How did shaving even come about? It'r really an odd concept: taking a blade and cutting your hair off. The ironic thing is that there is a pop-up ad next to your article for laser hair removal.

virus7 said...
on Feb. 5 2010 at 11:26 am
virus7, Las Vegas, Nevada
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
wow. if they stopped being your friend because of hair they are dumb. i see where your coming from and its cool your making a statement. im a dude so maybe i should start shaving to prove a point lol.

on Feb. 2 2010 at 3:14 pm
SaraRoxsHerSox SILVER, McVeytown, Pennsylvania
7 articles 0 photos 85 comments

Favorite Quote:

I definitely agree with you. I am SO glad you wrote this post. Thank-you!~Sara

jeanwolf GOLD said...
on Jan. 23 2010 at 6:31 pm
jeanwolf GOLD, Lodi, California
14 articles 11 photos 37 comments

Favorite Quote:
Eternity is forever, falsehood is a never

I really like this article! you are truely inspirational.I don't shave very often but I steal do just beacuse it makes me feel clean.

on Jan. 21 2010 at 9:16 am
kindyxkandy BRONZE, Richmond, Virginia
3 articles 0 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have to suck before you get to success. It's about the journey."

No, if your doing things to impress a guy that means you take pride in the way you look, as he should too. Sorry not all guys want to date a hairy girl, personally, I find hair repulsive. And don't tell me it's my molded thinking, thats a personal opinion. Hair looks gross, and makes you smell worse during the summer. Shaving is more for personal hygiene then anything else.

on Jan. 17 2010 at 4:37 pm
Moonlight BRONZE, Heiskell, Tennessee
4 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The boundaries which divide life from death
are at best shadowy and vague.
Who shall say where one ends,
and the other begins?"
Edgar Allan Poe

You are truley an amazing women. I can not say that you have inspired me to stop shaving since I'm not much of a hair lover, but I do know that I have a stronger belief in not fitting in to the "mold" after reading your story.

Congrats said...
on Jan. 14 2010 at 9:18 pm
Well, from this you discovered who your REAL friends are.