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.

on Nov. 8 2009 at 9:07 am
tippytoetapper BRONZE, Oakton, Virginia
1 article 0 photos 12 comments
This obsession with nonconformity worries me greatly. The "norm" developed for a reason. Society would not have developed the way it did if no one liked the boundaries being created. If you seriously find it more comfortable then good for you, but if you stopped shaving just to prove a point then you're sacrificing much more than you're proving.

on Nov. 8 2009 at 1:05 am
LivingInLiterature GOLD, Fairfield, Connecticut
14 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
Why stop dreaming when you wake up?

This article is great. I'm so happy for you that you have found a way to "break free". However, please don't make it sound like everyone who chooses to shave or remove their body hair is a corporate slave. I choose to remove my body hair because I want to. I love how soft and smooth my skin is after I wax (I don't shave). Its a personal choice, and while I respect yours not to, I hope you can also respect mine. Every person is different, and life is too short to do something that annoys you.

Nelle PLATINUM said...
on Nov. 6 2009 at 3:32 pm
Nelle PLATINUM, Crewkerne, Other
21 articles 10 photos 49 comments
I think this is amazing! It's so true the media has too much influence. I so wish that I had the confidence to try this but I really am way too shy and I ahte that I do care what other people think. But, I'm afraid I really do.

Nelle PLATINUM said...
on Nov. 6 2009 at 3:29 pm
Nelle PLATINUM, Crewkerne, Other
21 articles 10 photos 49 comments
European people do shave. But I do think it's terrible the influence the media has

Jiveturkey said...
on Nov. 3 2009 at 9:21 pm
Jiveturkey, Montrose, Colorado
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Wow, this article is amazing. This is a topic that hasn't really been discussed or brought up before and you have got some guts to put it up here. I really look up to you for that. I'm not gonna stop shaving, but this has totally made me stop and think about things and the way society sees women.

Happinyss said...
on Oct. 23 2009 at 1:50 pm
Hair doesnt grow back thicker, you only have a certain amount of pores that grow hair, and you dont get anymore. =]

on Oct. 17 2009 at 10:17 pm
dancer4jesus BRONZE, San Marcos, California
2 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
The heart writes the words of the music that the soul dances to.

Wow, that takes so much courage! great job standing up for what you believe in and not conforming to today's world! This is an issue that so many people are pressured about! It is crazy!

. said...
on Oct. 17 2009 at 10:10 pm
Interesting insight. I don't think I'll stop shaving, but it really made me think about it.

on Oct. 17 2009 at 9:11 pm
NorthernWriter, Fargo, North Dakota
0 articles 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Only dead fish swim with the stream"

Shaving isn't just a part of looking "good," it's about personal cleanliness as well. But I do agree with you, society is SO obsessed with the way an ideal woman should look like.

on Oct. 17 2009 at 6:18 pm
Josephinelovesunicorns, Jennstoen, Maryland
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments

on Oct. 17 2009 at 6:16 pm
Josephinelovesunicorns, Jennstoen, Maryland
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments
awesome! good point, this article has actually inspired me to stop shaving and try it out

on Oct. 17 2009 at 5:14 pm
I love this article! I don't shave, but have been really self concious about it. I've had this thought many times-especially while looking at magazine ads. I look up to you for your braveness and the willfullness to share the lovely feeling of being yourself with TeenInk. You opened new doors for many!

on Oct. 17 2009 at 4:53 pm
tina.joanne SILVER, Califon, New Jersey
5 articles 0 photos 24 comments
Wow, I'm really impressed. I shave, but I'm terrible at remembering and, generally, in the winter, don't. But it really makes the reader think about what they're doing...You're inspirational. Thank you.

on Oct. 17 2009 at 2:11 pm
KiraKira PLATINUM, Cardiff By The Sea, California
35 articles 0 photos 217 comments

Favorite Quote:
Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and above all, pity those who live without love -Albus Dumbledore

This article really makes the reader think. I shave only because when I sweat it smells bad and it feels weird when wearing tight pants. Only reason. But that is my opinion, and even if a movie star did stop shaving I wouldn't because I wouldn't care. However, you are taking a great step towards making girls around the world think more highly of themselves, which is a feat in itself. Great job.

auna123 BRONZE said...
on Oct. 17 2009 at 1:13 am
auna123 BRONZE, Bethel, Alaska
1 article 0 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten." B.F. skinner

great work! i shave but just b/c it feels weirs having leg hair. i don't think i will ever stop shaving. i really respect your opinion. its great you really stand up for what you believe in it takes a lot of guts to do that. good job

monkey25045 said...
on Oct. 10 2009 at 2:09 pm
I love women that don't shave but you all are few and far between. I'd love to find an all natural girl.

urcat said...
on Sep. 25 2009 at 10:59 pm
urcat, Leesburg, Virginia
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
It's a very well-written piece and I have to admit I never thought of shaving as unnecessary before. I'd pondered the reasons behind beauty and what has set the standards for "beautiful" today, but I'd never thought about hair specifically. Thank you for pointing that out and

I applaud you for stepping out. Honestly. for a long while I used to shave EVERYWHERE. Then I just stopped, and now I regret shaving certain places at all because the hair just grows back thicker, but it's much easier not to worry so much about body hair. However, I still do shave my legs and armpits, and I don't think I'll ever stop, but thank you for sharing. :)

Cecilia said...
on Sep. 25 2009 at 10:12 pm
Cecilia, Ocala, Florida
0 articles 0 photos 12 comments
I think that this is a well written oppinoin. The thing is I like shaving. I do have friends that don't shave so I don't care what other people decide to do with their body (as long as its not careless) I love your free spirit and the way you think. Your oppinion matters a lot and your a brave person. Congrgulations!

on Sep. 25 2009 at 7:00 pm
Music_girl BRONZE, Anchorage, Alaska
4 articles 0 photos 6 comments
I'm so impressed! It takes a lot of courage to break out of the norm like that :) Good for you!

Lyllith SILVER said...
on Sep. 25 2009 at 5:31 pm
Lyllith SILVER, Austin, Texas
8 articles 0 photos 8 comments
That may be true, but women in Europe don't shave. I wonder why that is? Can you tell me? Hmm... Maybe it's because it's not "gross" over there. And yes, little kids are raised to mutilate their bodies. Why do you think so many people have eating disorders? Why do you think so many people cut themselves? Why do you think so many people shave? Because society tells us we have to. And just because you don't think like that doesn't mean the majority of America doesn't.