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 Jun. 23 2011 at 6:40 pm
Big thumbs up for you!

on Jun. 14 2011 at 1:26 am
Musicfeedsthesoul07 PLATINUM, Naperville, Illinois
25 articles 0 photos 95 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. " - Bill Gates

I agree, although i shave i see the point the article is making. 

Although I once made the mistake of trying to shave my arms (honestly I have no hair there anyway...) It was awful it was itchy and scratchy and I feel like I did it for all the wrong reasons, because i felt that even though i had close to no hair on my arms it showed up more with my brown hair than it did for blondes.. I will still shave my legs, but for my comfort not to conform or impress others. 

on Jun. 7 2011 at 9:37 pm
gogreen1 SILVER, Gretna, Nebraska
5 articles 0 photos 38 comments
This article is well-written but I disagree with the overall point. I honestly don't care too much about how I look. I hardly ever wear make-up or even do my hair nice. But I do shave. I personally find it gross to have hairy legs, for my comfort and other's, but mostly for my own, so I shave. So yeah. 

massacre said...
on Jun. 6 2011 at 9:57 pm
massacre, Lakewood, Washington
0 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Hate is a word for somebody you love but no longer believe in."

Thank you for clearing that up. 

I am totally open to hearing different opinions and open for debate over several topics. 

I wish that could have been stated in the comment in the before. Thank you. 

wooowww said...
on Jun. 6 2011 at 8:01 pm
I am not disagreeing with the opinion of the author, on the contrary it has a lot of truth in it. What I am saying is that if many people in Europe do not shave, then it is the same in America; actually there are even men in Europe that shave as opposed to the men here who do not. So my point is that many European women (and men) do shave sometimes more then here in America.

massacre said...
on Jun. 6 2011 at 7:55 pm
massacre, Lakewood, Washington
0 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Hate is a word for somebody you love but no longer believe in."

Ok. Thanks for that. 

I mean, if you want me to get technical, then I'll restate. 

America forces many stereotypes upon girls and sooner or later, many American females (not all, just many) become obessed with self-image. 

However, many European women (and, here I am again, stating that many, not all women) do not shave their underarms, or their legs, ect. Whatever, and that's their own choice. But, overall, many European women do not shave. Not all. 

So don't call people ignorant. You just sound stupid yourself. 

zarasis said...
on Jun. 6 2011 at 2:32 am
yes Europeans shave they are just like us, its very ignorant for someone to say something like that

on May. 24 2011 at 8:37 pm
Musicfeedsthesoul07 PLATINUM, Naperville, Illinois
25 articles 0 photos 95 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. " - Bill Gates

I agree, I think it's really gross on guys. But I couldn't stop shaving, I feel itchy if I don't and I would probably get in trouble. But it should be gender mutual. 

gucchi92 said...
on May. 5 2011 at 1:53 pm

I think there shouldn't be something like "one should shave or not".

If we are free citizens of this world, we should have the freedom of choices.

And its nobody's business to judge the choices we make as right or wrong.

Kudos to you for standing upto peer pressure.

I do like the smooth and shiny look when i wear skirts or dresses but otherwise i'm too lazy to do it.
Plus it hurts and spoils the skin.

browneyedcat said...
on May. 2 2011 at 3:06 pm
browneyedcat, Melbourne Beach, Florida
0 articles 0 photos 47 comments
This is really well written and has great depth but I have to admit i disagree with the point of the article. I shave and the reason why is for physical reasons. I am a swimmer and it makes it slightly more difficult to swim with body hair. though I know this article is about the cosmetic aspect i think that you should put more detail in your next story. Please do not get offended I am just trying to give you some constructive critism. Overall this article was great. :D

on May. 1 2011 at 7:38 pm
paigeforeman GOLD, Washington, District Of Columbia
18 articles 6 photos 43 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It's kind of fun to do the impossible!"-Walt Disney
"It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years."- Abraham Lincoln
"Be the change you wish to see in the world."-Gandhi
"The truth is out there."-The X-Files

I totally agree with you! I don't shave because it's a hassle and it feels weird. I never thought about how corporations pressured us because I was so used to it. Awesome job!

Hejlna said...
on Apr. 20 2011 at 12:25 pm
I respect your point of veiw, and agree about the Miley Cyrus thing. Shaving your legs is something you do cause everyone else does, it's not important, really.

on Apr. 15 2011 at 12:21 pm
u are awsome and funny

on Apr. 14 2011 at 8:55 pm
ZalphaNeko GOLD, Plantation, Florida
17 articles 5 photos 16 comments
I respect you for writing this but, *spasm* I don't think I could ever quit shaving. All that hair. It drives me crazy. Its not because I want to conform its simply because I can't stand body hair. I think guys should shave too if you ask me. XP Everyone would be so much cleaner and smooth. XD But if you wanna shave, I respect you. It's just the touching the hairiness on boyfriends legs or on my own. I can't stand it

massacre said...
on Apr. 8 2011 at 1:15 am
massacre, Lakewood, Washington
0 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Hate is a word for somebody you love but no longer believe in."

While this article sends a good messege to the average teenage girl, consider the fact that sometimes, shaving is what makes some girls comfortable. Not all, but some. I, personally, wouldn't consider stopping, but I respect your view on it. I agree that it is something that America forces upon girls (Women in Europe don't do it, do they?). But I think that you're very brave to stand for it. Good luck. :)

on Apr. 2 2011 at 6:18 pm
kennedy54321 GOLD, Madison, Mississippi
11 articles 0 photos 6 comments
I really like this article. I currently shave but this has made me reconsider.  I've never really ever thought about not shaving.  Our society has made shaving as required as eating.  I don't know if I will stop now, but I admire you for it. 

on Apr. 2 2011 at 8:37 am
Ilovelife BRONZE, Scarborough, Maine
3 articles 1 photo 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
An eye for and eye makes the whole world blind :)

you have a really powerful article! I agree with you completely!

on Mar. 31 2011 at 10:18 pm
Carabear BRONZE, Lake Mexia, Texas
2 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Death? Why this fuss about death? Use your imagination, try to visualize a world without death!...Death is the essential condition of life, not an evil."-Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I love what you wrote, it was well written and the message itself is great. Although I'm sorry to say that you haven't turned me into a non-shaver, it's become purely habit, and a part of me as a person now, I don't bag other people on there body hair and never will. I love that the idea can be turned to any other topic as well, like fashion, or hair styles.

Lex2011 BRONZE said...
on Mar. 20 2011 at 12:11 pm
Lex2011 BRONZE, Washington, Pennsylvania
1 article 1 photo 11 comments
I think this is GENIUS! I absolutely hate shaving. My mom nags at me for it. She's always like, "The hair on your legs is black. Shave!" Well, it's not my fault I was born with thick black hair that happens to sprout out every chance it gets. I used to not let my boyfriend see my legs without me shaving first. Now I don't care and he doesn't either. He always says, "Hey, obviously I'm hairy. You are, too. We will just have hairy kids." It makes me smile. I don't care. It's my legs and my hair. Deal with it or back off!

dreamgazer12 said...
on Mar. 19 2011 at 6:18 pm
Thank you so much for putting that story out. I don't shave either, except maybe armpit hair when I'm older. But I'm proud of my leg hair. Even if people tease me it makes me who I am. You just boosted my self confidence about 10 notches. Thanks!