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

Similar Articles


This article has 288 comments.

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 1398 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 301 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.

on Dec. 22 2011 at 4:08 pm
Musicalartist, Xxxxx, Other
0 articles 0 photos 144 comments
omg i so agree! that and plastic surgery are so bad for people and girls think they need it! ~Max

on Dec. 17 2011 at 11:38 pm
monkeyfeet BRONZE, Fort Collins, Colorado
3 articles 1 photo 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds" --Bob Marley

I think you're ridiculous.  This girl is absolutely right--people shave because of peer pressure and the standard 'norm', and because they grew up with it.  People in Europe don't shave because they aren't pressured to do so.  I don't shave, and it's hard with the pressure, but it has made me more confident, and you shoudl try it too: accept yourself!  

billy12 said...
on Dec. 1 2011 at 7:41 am
billy12, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
Do or do not, there is no try- yoda

Wow... shave please....gracias

on Nov. 29 2011 at 8:06 am
ManekiNeko SILVER, Cincinnati, Ohio
8 articles 1 photo 39 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and prove it to be true."

I used to be embarressed of my hairy arms when I was younger. I never wore short sleeves, ever. And then I started shaving; I did so on and off for four or five years before deciding that the itching and the nicks were just not worth it. Because I'm virtually blind without my glasses, I always  had such trouble anyways and what was the point when I had red itch bumps for three days afterwards? (My skin is really sensitive.) So I stopped shaving my legs. But I do occasionally shave my armpits, but only because when my armpit hair gets too long, it's annoying to put on deoderant. I do wear pants anyways, but that's because I'm uncomfortably putting my body on display, shaved or not.

on Nov. 16 2011 at 5:23 pm
Brokenness_is_Beautiful SILVER, Independece, Louisiana
6 articles 3 photos 77 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is so ironic to understand fully, it takes sadness to know what is happiness. noise to distinguish silent and a broken heart to find true love.

I am going to continue to shave! I do agree with you though...there ar a lot of things girls and boys feel pressured to do. This is really good! And good for you and the not shaving idea. You are braver than I am!

on Nov. 4 2011 at 7:38 pm
schoolsforbabelfish GOLD, Toronto, Other
14 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"and these children that you spit on/as they try to change their worlds/are immune to your consultations/they're quite aware of what they're going through"--David Bowie. And that's a quotation, not a quote.

Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more things with seventeen and other teen magazines like it that I want to scream. If you want some thing at least a bit more constructive, I suggest Rookiemag.com, which is wonderful and trying to combat seventeen and the like from polluting our minds and pushing us into sexist molds...

on Sep. 5 2011 at 9:58 am
Lilly3217 SILVER, Holly Hill, Florida
6 articles 2 photos 52 comments

Favorite Quote:
The best time to plant a Oak tree was twenty years ago the second best time is today.

I agree with the horse girl

Harebelle GOLD said...
on Aug. 19 2011 at 7:15 pm
Harebelle GOLD, Vancouver, Other
14 articles 1 photo 118 comments
Well, this has inspired me not to give in to peer pressure! Thanks for your deodorant tips on the side, too!

on Aug. 10 2011 at 8:46 pm
Texas_Horsegirl BRONZE, Windom, Texas
1 article 4 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
Love the life you live-live the life you love. ~Bob Marley

Personally I enjoy shaving because it makes me feel clean and smooth. I like that you think for yourself, thats a brave thing you do. I remember in 5th grade I was made-fun-of because I had hair on my legs, and thats when I started shaving. idk, I do shave because others do and I was born into it, but also I like doing it.

Current BRONZE said...
on Aug. 9 2011 at 11:01 am
Current BRONZE, Russell, Minnesota
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
Very well written and very true! I have to wonder though... were you shaving properly and using the right blades? I've only cut myself shaving a few times and that was due to cheap blades. I have to disagree with this being a simply American topic. Women have been removing leg hair as long ago as Ancient Egypt, using tweezers, razors, and sometimes burning it off. It is more than the media brainwashing people to believe hairless women are attractive, it goes so far back to be a tradition that will be a long time in the breaking.

on Aug. 5 2011 at 2:12 pm
ekaterinahansing, San Antonio, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
Being bored is a choice. Choose not to.

Hmmm, this is very well written. And I can fully see where you are coming from, but does that mean that those of us who STILL shave, are flakes giving into peer pressure? Don't get me wrong, girls today are SO body conscious, but hey, even I like it when my legs are smooth! But for me, it's straightening my hair. It seems dead, and artificial. I've had it strightened only twice, and it was by a friend or a cousin. So, I guess everybody gets to pick. Probably that's why we were made this way, so that we could decide to follow or not, and to decide for ourselves what makes us the most beautiful. Thanks for writing this!

on Jul. 28 2011 at 5:52 pm
KenyaLove41 GOLD, Dallas, Texas
16 articles 0 photos 84 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent." ~Ambrose Bierce
"Nothing is Impossible, the word itself says 'I'm Possible!'" ~ Audrey Hepburn
"Good writing is only bad writing revised"~ Unknown

i liked this article a lot and i thought that it was well written. i dont shave my legs though (my mom wont let me) but even if i could i dont think that i would and u're right it seems like women have to shave because society wants them to. 

on Jul. 23 2011 at 9:15 pm
inkblot13 PLATINUM, Auburn, New York
41 articles 1 photo 160 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If I knew where poems came from, I'd go there"

- Michael Langley, 'Staying Alive'

this was really well written, good job! And kudos (I think that's how its spelled...) to you for doing what you want to do without caring what others think! I do shave my legs, but because I want too, not because I feel pressured too. Every girl should be able to decide one way or another what htey want to do. :D

(ps, check out some of my stuff?)

on Jul. 21 2011 at 8:36 pm
dfsah fafdsgg, Fdfdsg, Alabama
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I dont shave my legs during the winter just because of the fact it was providing warmth and because I didnt see a reason why in shaving my legs during winter. And I didnt have gym, and really never go swimming during the winter, so I didnt see a point... Lol:)

dreamgazer12 said...
on Jul. 20 2011 at 1:16 pm
dreamgazer12, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
0 articles 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Tough times don't last, but tough people do"
-ananymous running quote

Thank you so much for writing this, you make me proud to be who I am.

on Jun. 23 2011 at 6:57 pm
fatchance96 BRONZE, Schaumburg, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 9 comments
You are soo lucky! Boyfriends like that are hard to find, and yours in one in a million:)