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.

Aderes47 GOLD said...
on Mar. 16 2011 at 3:55 pm
Aderes47 GOLD, Cambridge, Massachusetts
11 articles 0 photos 897 comments

Favorite Quote:
You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.
Henry Drummond

I love your comment! I hate shaving! I barely do it! I do it when it gets all nasty. Like about every month or so. It doesn't hurt when you use an electric razor. That's what I use. 

I find it so weird how people get obsessed about body hair. 

That boy who was angry.. he's messed up. 

on Mar. 8 2011 at 5:23 am
erikalewy BRONZE, Flemington, New Jersey
4 articles 1 photo 2 comments
It's all about how we wish to perceived. If I do not shave, I will be defined as the girl with the body hair. I have other ways I wish to be defined, through different forms of "standing out."

hellooooooo said...
on Mar. 2 2011 at 6:14 pm

Well, I think that what you said about questioning the fate of our generation isn't accurate; do you think your mom would have stopped shaving if somebody they looked up to stopped? It isn't a matter of our generation; it isn't as if twenty years ago people didn't experience peer pressure. Even one hundred years ago, peer pressure was a part of our life. Personally, I don't like body hair and I think it's kind of disgusting. But, I would never be mean to somebody about it and say, "That's gross, you totally need to shave!" 



However, call me weak if you want, I guess you are right, but I'm not going to stop shaving. My reasoning is that I don't want to be made fun of, and I don't think a revolution of not shaving's going to start anytime soon. Call me weak, call me a follower, call me a conformist, but I really don't want to be one of those pioneers venturing out into the world of... not shaving. Haha. 


HOWEVER- Kudos to you for being brave enough to do what you do, you are truly a strong nonconformist. :)

on Mar. 2 2011 at 5:27 pm
the_Horsegirl SILVER, Minneapolis, Minnesota
8 articles 0 photos 118 comments

Favorite Quote:
People need dreams, there's as much nourishment in 'em as food.
--Dorothy Gilman

If there is such a thing as truth, it is as intricate and hidden as a crown of feathers.
--Isaac Bashevis Singer

This was really intelligently written and articulte. I admire your will to resist accepted "norms".

Huuki said...
on Feb. 27 2011 at 11:49 pm
i agree, we should all just let the women grow out their leg hair!

Buffdaddy said...
on Feb. 23 2011 at 10:58 pm
Buffdaddy, Coppell, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
Just do it.

You want me.

on Feb. 23 2011 at 1:25 pm
Artistic_whirlwind BRONZE, Tuwila, Washington
2 articles 0 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
"An artist is a person who can look at something, see what no one else can see, and make it plain to everyone their discovery."~unknown

Oh, wow, I guess you mean being a "true man" is being a shallow, one track mind guy not open to other people's feelings or opinions. Grow up and learn some respect please.  

on Feb. 22 2011 at 10:17 am
4 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Ridiculously interesting. I'll admit, at first I just saw it as a sign of attention and a search for indivuality that flourishes in our adolescent years, but after reading all that, I completely support you. If my girlfriend didn't shave, I really wouldn't mind it. She's got a great personality anyway. Whatever makes you more confident, comfortable; whatever you want to do, with or against the current, you should. Never make it a goal to completely oppose society and comformity, but to find the values you want to take from that and apply it to yo' natural self. It is trendy to help others in need, so don't oppose something good just because everyone else is doing it.

on Feb. 19 2011 at 7:50 pm
Funny_Girl BRONZE, Washington, District Of Columbia
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
(In response to the question 'do you love her') "As surely as the sun dies behind the hills each evening."
it's that or something like that! from Samson and Delilah

I think tha the writer is an exceptional person, highly intelligent. It takes a lot of maturity, and independence to make up your mind the way she does. She takes something so small, and reveals not really its depth, but her own.

on Feb. 17 2011 at 8:55 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."

This wins for my favorite article. You express your opinion so well. I don't shave my legs either because, well, it never occurred to me to. People are constantly really rude and say, "Why don't you shave your legs?" like I'm some freak of nature. I don't even care; I just tell them, "Because I don't need to." Good for you that you don't conform to society's needs. I love this article more every time I read it. I hate that there's a bunch of rude guys commenting saying, "Oh, it's just nasty and wrong when a girl doesn't shave." OK, shave yourself, guys. Like you said, if someone's so concerned with the state of your body hair, you shouldn't care what they think. Anyway, this is a fantastic article. Really good job!

jc330 said...
on Feb. 14 2011 at 10:00 am
jc330, Irving, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:

Buffdaddy your a true man, i salute you

callmeIN GOLD said...
on Feb. 13 2011 at 2:53 pm
callmeIN GOLD, Atlanta, Indiana
13 articles 0 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
‘Maybe Richard will find another way. Just tell him, Alice. Tell him that his own Confessor never stopped loving him. And that if he can’t undo the magic, if he can’t return to her then, she’ll be waiting for him, in the Underworld. Forever.’
-Mother Confessor Kahlan Amnell,
Legend of the Seeker

I can understand what you mean.  I still shave, and I don't think I would ever stop, but I wouldn't judge another person for not shaving.  One of my best friends doesn't shave!  And she's still my friend.

on Feb. 12 2011 at 2:32 pm
hopeiscrucial BRONZE, East Greenville, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"Carpe Diem"

I totally relate to you on the whole "(mostly teenage boys howling about how disgusting it is)" part. I told them if they think that body hair is so disgusting, they should shave their own. I also told them "sorry to break it to you, but not all females will lie down before you and make up their bodies just so you'll like them". Anyway, I think shaving is ok, and i think not shaving is fine too. I just don't like it when people don't respect other's opinions. The guys can have preferences, but they can't contradict themselves when they themselves don't shave. It's hypocritical. I did love the article, you go girl!

Noodle1789 said...
on Feb. 10 2011 at 8:50 am
I think this article is ridiculous, to me it is just an attention ploy. It is narrow minded to say that people who shave are doing so because of corporate oppression and peer pressure, when in fact I know no one who does because of these two things. Stop writing articles just to try and be 'different' and argue something, when in reality no one cares that much. If you are going to argue something, at least use some logical claims and evidence to back up what you're saying. This is a biased article with almost no point to it. I would have rather spent my time reading about growing corn, because at least maybe someday that might  be useful to me.

on Feb. 6 2011 at 1:09 pm
A lot of times in winter, I'll go months without shaving my legs. But even so, I do make it a point to shave every once in a while, because it makes me feel more confident. I think you should do what ever  makes you feel confident, even if some people are repulsed by it.

on Feb. 4 2011 at 1:10 pm
emoducks BRONZE, Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life will only be amazing if you make it that way."
-Me (:

It's not a matter of me shaving to fit, it's just a matter of me feeling cleaner. I mean I don't have anything against anyone not shaving, but it's not my thing...

on Feb. 4 2011 at 8:23 am
CourtneyHammett BRONZE, Spartanburg, South Carolina
1 article 7 photos 37 comments
Uh...Buffdaddy? I'm sorry. I was going to comment about your uber-masculinity complex, but your name says it all.

on Jan. 29 2011 at 1:09 pm
julia_ailuj BRONZE, San Antonio, Texas
4 articles 2 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Are we human? Or are we dancer? My sign is vital, my hands are cold, and I'm on my knees, looking for the answer - you've gotta let me know." - The Killers

This is a great article - you are very talented in expressing yourself in a subject which is otherwise uncomfortable to discuss. I totally agree with you, but I also believe that girls really have a choice to shave or not, depending on what they think. But if they think that body hair makes them toally repulsive, they are wrong. Good job :)

Buffdaddy said...
on Jan. 28 2011 at 12:35 pm
Buffdaddy, Coppell, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
Just do it.

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.


shave honey.

on Jan. 26 2011 at 8:33 am
CourtneyHammett BRONZE, Spartanburg, South Carolina
1 article 7 photos 37 comments
Thank you for posting this. It is natural. I no longer feel weird or alone. My boyfriend accepts me with several months' worth of hair, and I hope you'll find a guy who loves you anyway, too.