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.

muminah said...
on Jan. 13 2010 at 12:02 pm
I loved this article and you have no idea how much you impressed me! You have a strong personality and lots of guts and willpower. Its people like you that change the world and deserved to be looked up to. Rock on girl =]

malerie BRONZE said...
on Jan. 13 2010 at 8:56 am
malerie BRONZE, East Hartford, Connecticut
2 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
I just realized. I don't care.-Happy Bunny

I get what you're saying. It's like, people are sooo bad about this type of stuff. But like you said, it's ingorance. People so grow up.

on Jan. 9 2010 at 10:26 pm
crazycreative23 BRONZE, Maple Grove, Minnesota
1 article 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
Each new hour holds new chances for new beginnings.
-Maya Angelou

but... if you're doing things to oimpress a guy, he's only judging you based on appearace, not on the things that matter...

on Jan. 9 2010 at 5:31 pm
biggerinfinities SILVER, Superior, Colorado
7 articles 0 photos 353 comments

Favorite Quote:
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

hmm, well i never even thought about it. i shave because it makes me feel clean, and im way into feeling clean, physically and phycologically~ i would take a zillion showers a day if water didnt cost a ton~ but thats me. my sis doesnt shave, because she thinks shaving is creepy~ well to each his/her own opinion

jessi_lee said...
on Jan. 9 2010 at 3:31 pm
I just wanted to say that I love this post. Kudos to you for being so bold and so awesome. I struggle with body issues that stem from the fact that even when I shave, I can still (clearly) see all of the dark hairs underneath. (This sounds silly probably, but it's a huge issue. I never want my boyfriend to see me naked!).

Reading this post made me realize that my views are probably silly, and it made me feel better to know that someone out there is trying to change things. Thanks for writing it, it made me feel so much better after I read it :)

on Jan. 5 2010 at 6:17 pm
writer-in-pearls GOLD, San Diego, California
10 articles 0 photos 42 comments
Everyone can do what they want, but, honestly, I don't see what the big deal is. Why is it wrong to do things that boys find attractive, I want to date guys that are attractive and physically fit, they want to date girls that are at least within a healthy BMI, shave, and look good for them.

Jacksprak said...
on Jan. 1 2010 at 4:15 pm
I too, believe That in amarican society, people presure you to do this and be like that, and I aplod your doing what feels natural insted of what people want you to do. I find that Amarican society should stop pestering people like you because, though germs may grow on your hair for about 2 minutes and then die, you will never be cold and have less risk of hypothermia and pnemonia. What you are doing I find out standing and I think your really awesome to stand up for what you believe in.

on Jan. 1 2010 at 1:55 pm
Your_Guardian_Angel PLATINUM, Clermont, Florida
26 articles 5 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have great confidence in fools, my friends call it self-confidence."

I agree that women are expected to fit this mold of what men feel as beautiful but at the same time I don't care if my boyfriend likes it if I don't shave. I"m going to shave because if I don't I feel gross and dirty :p

on Dec. 29 2009 at 11:34 am
SpiceyRedPepper GOLD, League City, Texas
11 articles 0 photos 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
Im not clumsy im just allergic to gravity!!!!

i understand where your coming from really i do. but shavign isnt about following the media if thats true no more make up no more shampoo no more lotion! c'mon think about this "rule" you setting. i think its a little over board with the armpits legs i get but really is that nessicary! self hygene!

on Dec. 22 2009 at 7:59 pm
Sasha_the_Vampress BRONZE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
Your "werid" is MY normal (a quote by me)

You go girl!! I only shave my armpits because I hate the smell. i love how you are will to share this with the world.

on Dec. 21 2009 at 12:37 pm
Tamaimah.A BRONZE, Greater Manchester, Other
1 article 0 photos 5 comments
Hey. Sorry, just has to say that Muslim girls have to shave their armpits and bikini area anyway - it's compulsery because of cleanliness. :) Also, don't worry about your curviness; ultimately, men like curves, anyway, and I used to have the exact same problem, before I shot up and now resemble a twig. Yes, life is hard. :P

on Dec. 21 2009 at 12:32 pm
Tamaimah.A BRONZE, Greater Manchester, Other
1 article 0 photos 5 comments
It IS a very good point; however, I can't say I agree to it. For me, shaving isn't about breaking the mould or following Miley Cyrus; for me, it's purely about hygiene. Legs, maybe not so much, but having armpit hair which captures sweat molecules and such is just plain uncomfortable for me. I don't want to smell, and I want to be clean. But the article is well written, and it shows some valid points. People DO follow the media way too much. Thanks for some great insight, but I honestly think you should shave your armpits. Legs, arms and everything else? Go wild, girl. It's your choice. :)

on Dec. 13 2009 at 6:22 pm
kittycatkristyy BRONZE, ...., Other
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments
Good point.

on Dec. 3 2009 at 6:37 pm
Sara Beg SILVER, Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey
6 articles 0 photos 2 comments
I agree with you that we need to be able to think for ourselves. I mean, every day I berate myself because I'm curvier than most girls around me, and it's not like I even do anything to get that way - in fact I do everything to get skinny: exercising, dieting, etc. It's just my genetics - all the women in my family are curvy. I even KNOW that it's bad to try and change myself, and I have to struggle against that. When I see someone really thin, I have to force myself away from thinking that I'm fat and think that I'm just as beautiful, just in a different way. So far, it's working pretty well. I still think I need to lose a few pounds sometimes, but I focus on getting that thought out of my head. As for shaving, I do it because, like doverdrama said, I like the feel of smooth skin, but I'm not obsessed with it. I'll skip a few days, let the hair grow, and have no problem with it. No one sees that hair anyway or ever will, since as a Muslim girl I keep those parts covered, so it doesn't make a difference to me whether I shave or not. By the way, European people may not shave, but they use those Smooth Away pad things instead. That's how they're promoted - they say they were discovered in Europe.

bambi said...
on Nov. 30 2009 at 9:27 pm
So I think your article is interesting. At first I was all: what the hell . But now I understand the point you are trying to make, we as a nation are too influenced by all the messages that the media sends us. The thing is that though shaving CAN be a nuisance, I don't think I could ever find it attractive, whether or not it was advertised hugely by the media or not. Someone, somewhere started a trend that body hair is unattractive, and then big companies took it as a sign and made big bucks off of it. That's how I see it. I think that shaving your legs may not be all that necessary, and for that I'm willing to skip a couple of days. Same with my arms, I skip like months for those. But armpit hair is taking it too far. It feels gross to me and I can't imagine applying deodorant on my armpit hair.
I feel that when I shave my legs, I feel like a woman, a sexy person. The smoothness just does that to me. And believe of not, it hair removal did that to me before all the ads too. It makes me feel pampered and womanly, and I don't think that's wrong. If you view it as though the markets are trying to unleash that spirit into more and more women, then it's really not a bad thing. I enjoy pampering myself, and yes, I do consider removing hair pampering. Just saying. :)

on Nov. 30 2009 at 6:41 pm
XOXOhaloXOXO GOLD, Ellsworth, Maine
13 articles 1 photo 63 comments

Favorite Quote:
I'm the author of my life and, unfortunately, I'm writing in pen=]

OMG! Amazing! I totally agree with you, although I don't like the feeling of hairy legs, but people shouldn't think of you as gross. It's your body, you do what you want with it. I think it has a sense of freedom to it. I go a long time before I shave again because sometimes I feel like I'm forced to. It's like your own little reblion. If you think about it, we all were hairy when we were little, right? So why not when we're grown up? Well, anyway, great job! I love how you're not afraid to say and do what you want just for popularity. I would so be your friend if I knew you!

on Nov. 30 2009 at 3:23 pm
Mandiella DIAMOND, Plaistow, New Hampshire
73 articles 58 photos 349 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don't waste time. Start procrastinating now.

Yeah, me too. If I'm wearing long pants and long sleeves, I only shave like once a week.

on Nov. 30 2009 at 3:21 pm
Mandiella DIAMOND, Plaistow, New Hampshire
73 articles 58 photos 349 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don't waste time. Start procrastinating now.

I agree. This article kind of makes it sound like no one should shave. Unfortunately, I think body hair on women is kind of gross (no offense) and I wish no one ever started shaving or else it would seem normal.

on Nov. 30 2009 at 3:16 pm
Mandiella DIAMOND, Plaistow, New Hampshire
73 articles 58 photos 349 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don't waste time. Start procrastinating now.

This is a very well written article, and I commend you for having the courage to be different. I would never stop shaving because I like the feel of smooth skin, shaving only takes like two minutes a day, and I literally cut myself about once a year. I can understand your anti-shaving argument, though. I agree that we should all be natural and not shave off hair, and I think no one should have started shaving in the first place! Then no one would be embarrassed to have hairy legs or armpits.

Amour said...
on Nov. 30 2009 at 12:20 pm
Awesome article. I shave but I do it because I love the way my skin feels after I shave. I can't stand having prickly hairs all over my body, but that's just me. I really admire your courage and I'm impressed by your writing. Good job!