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 Jan. 23 2011 at 4:57 pm
Got_Interest GOLD, Arnold, Maryland
17 articles 8 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Box falls out of sky, man falls out of box, man eats fish custard, and look at you- you're just sitting there."
-Matt Smith as The Doctor

I applaud you for what you are doing. I like that you voice your opinion, and you moved on it without letting people stop you. I personaly want to shave. I have sensitive, dry skin and ADHD. If I don't shave, my hair tickles my legs, and that distracts me to the highest degree. If I don't shave, my hair blocks my ability to moisturize my legs, which get dry, and then they start to itch which also distracts me to the greatest degree. Though, I do agree with you- the companies in the razor industry are using over the top propaganda phrases, while at the same time they are showing you photoshopped pictures of people who are unnaturaly beautiful.

AwayFromHome said...
on Jan. 19 2011 at 9:35 am
I can't understand what YOUR message is. You start by talking about how various brand advertise their products. So yes, they do what they feel they can get away with to advertise. Of course, drug companies show people living healthy lifestyles in commercials, completely forgetting to show those indidviduals with nasty sideaffects. Coca-Cola and Pepsi don't advertise the harmful ingredients of their drinks. People like to see happiness, and companies like to sell products. So yes, we shouldn't let other people tell us what to do. You shouldn't either.

on Jan. 1 2011 at 11:45 pm
PirateQueen791, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life isn't about finding yourself... Life is about creating yourself.

this article has a good theme concerning conformity, but remember that just because you personally don't like to shave, doesn't mean that everyone feels the same way. I was able to put off shaving for a while because I'm not that hairy on my body, but now that I shave, I wouldn't want to stop- I like the smooth feeling you get immediately after a shave. I've heard lots of grils complain about feeling "hairy" and "prickly" when they haven't shaved awhile. It's all about personal preference, if you ask me- but you're right that it shouldn't be about conformity.

on Jan. 1 2011 at 5:23 pm
Freedom_Cow BRONZE, Manhattan, Kansas
1 article 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we'd all be vegetarians." -- Paul McCartney
"I beseech thee to keep pure your highest ideals, strive ever towards them, let none stop ye or turn ye aside." -- The Charge of the Goddess

Great article! I've found that leg hair keeps my legs warmer than when I shave. I feel naked without it. Besides that, its a lot of waste between shaving cream and razors. Hairy is green!

JustTaz said...
on Dec. 27 2010 at 11:38 pm
JUst because you choose to shave does not make you a clone. If you do it for looks or about what other people think, maybe that is a little messed up. For me though it bugs me to the point were I pull at it and ends up bleeding from ripping my hair out. My legs or arms aren't even showing most of the time, even when it is hot and I can't stand not shaving. You are so adament about being comfortable but what if not shaving is uncomfortable, should I blindly follow your belief?

on Dec. 26 2010 at 8:28 pm
realRayofSunshine SILVER, Harvard, Massachusetts
5 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"One day the world will wake up to see the reality"-John Lennon

I agree fully. I really don't like it when people think so highly of themselves for doing something differently, and chastise others for following that small routine.

on Dec. 26 2010 at 8:24 pm
realRayofSunshine SILVER, Harvard, Massachusetts
5 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"One day the world will wake up to see the reality"-John Lennon

The story was nice, and very facsinating. However, you eventually started to say some really snobby, nasty things. Some girls shave because it's comfortable. I shave, because when I do I feel cleansed. It doesn't mean my body is "unnatural" or that I'm a slave to corporate oppression, or that I want to release my "inner goddess". Just because I shave, dos not mean that  I have something against those who choose not to shave.

on Dec. 25 2010 at 11:44 pm
bluesky0728 SILVER, Phoenix, Arizona
8 articles 0 photos 107 comments
Wow! I never thought about it that way. I still want to continue shaving my legs and underarms, because that's how I feel more comfortable with myself (I prefer not to have body hair, personally). But your article really made me respect your decision and throw away any previous judgements I might have made towards you. Kudos to you for defying the standards, for standing up for what you believe in, and for being an inspiration to all the teen girls on this website trying to find themselves, to help them break out of the "unnatural mold that is ruling their lives". I agree with you that people are very insecure, and therefore easily influenced by sources who they don't know and who don't know them, like the people who work in advertising at Venus and Nair. Thank you for opening my eyes to another prevalent issue in society. Great article! :)

on Dec. 20 2010 at 1:02 pm
maybeteenauthor15, Myhometown, Georgia
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments
I honestly want to shave under my arms and quit shaving my legs, just because that's how I'm comfortable, but I get a rash from shaving under my arms and my mom makes me shave my legs.  :(  But when I get my freedom, at least I can choose for my legs!

on Dec. 15 2010 at 6:56 pm
Lalalovable SILVER, Antioch, California
7 articles 1 photo 50 comments
This has a really well written ' I won't comfore to society' message. AWSOME! You should read my article The lost generation it's similar to this but differnt:)

on Dec. 9 2010 at 5:29 pm
keepinitreal BRONZE,
2 articles 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
relax, throw your nikes up on the table, read a book, and let the haters hate.

I don't worry about shaving. When i want to shave, i shave and if i'm too lazy i don't. simple as that.

Suhyoon BRONZE said...
on Dec. 3 2010 at 9:33 am
Suhyoon BRONZE, Guangzhou, Other
3 articles 0 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Prestige! Is that nothing, sir? The respect of fools, the astonishment of children, the envy of the rich, the scorn of the wise." BARNAVE

You go girl!

Down with corporate and Cyrus oppression. Personally, I've never fallen for it enough to shave my legs or arms but I don't have the nerve to not to shave under my arms. You are one of a kind.



Mabel BRONZE said...
on Nov. 30 2010 at 5:45 pm
Mabel BRONZE, Wellington, Florida
2 articles 0 photos 2 comments
I agree, i shave but i dont tell everyone, i mean who really cares. Some shave some dont. I just hate that some people, mostly girls, have at least one anything mean bone in their body. You shouldn't say anything if you dont have nice to say. Being different makes you unique

Greeneye said...
on Nov. 28 2010 at 4:37 pm

Maybe I just like the feeling of smooth legs against flannel pajama pants better than the wind through my leg hair.

Plus, I don't think guys are too out of line if they prefer girls that shave. We're allowed to have preferences for guys, aren't we? Maybe I won't date him if he wears his pants around his knees and he won't date me if I don't shave. It all comes out even.

(I don't know why girls have to be the hairless gender. I personally think too much hair is gross on guys too.)

on Nov. 23 2010 at 2:34 pm
OliviaEllisonStewart SILVER, Defiance, Ohio
8 articles 4 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return" -Moulin Rouge

its really not that guys don't except the fact that they don't like natural women. some guys do. some guys don't. i don't tan because its super fake, but also its unhealthy. my boyfriend would like me just as much in sweat pants and a tshirt with my hair up and zero makeup on as he would if i were all dressed up. of course he likes me dressed up more, because then he knows that i put on my best for him. and i like doing that. but shaving idk just seems a necessity. my aunt doesn't shave. i was SCOLDED for shaving when i went out there to see her. if you don't want to then just don't, but dont' preach to the rest of us who prefer to have hair on our heads and eyebrows only. guys like natural beauty, but i think more so is someone confident with themselves. that doesn't mean you have to rebel against society. it just means you should own your decisions. idk that's just my opinion. personally, i love dressing up and looking nice. but if someone i know doesn't, i have no right to judge them for it.

bubblygurl76 said...
on Nov. 17 2010 at 4:12 pm
Nope, I don't have an account. In your opinion, you probably do look fine, so more power to you. But somehow I kinda doubt you SMELL fine...for the sake of everyone around you, please purchase some deoderant.

KatsCool GOLD said...
on Nov. 15 2010 at 12:25 pm
KatsCool GOLD, Jacksonville, Florida
10 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. ~Anaïs Nin

I totally get where you are coming from. Its a prejustice, and even if people judge ignore them. Its a personal decision you made and i think its cool you did.

on Nov. 14 2010 at 9:58 am
ExtrovertedIntrovert, Grantsburg, Wisconsin
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know" -Hemmingway,
"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist. That is all." -Oscar Wilde,
"It was just that; a character, a person I aspired to be." -Anonymous

How are people that don't shave 'non-social'? Just because someone chooses not to shave, doesn't mean they don't have social interactions regularly; which is the definition of "social". And not everyone would look like a so-called gorilla. Some people don't shave simply because of the lack of noticable hair on their arms, legs etc. You can't judge everyone that disdains shaving by some random overly-hairy person you might have seen in a park one day.

Lastly, the idea that a body looks more presentable without body hair is exactly what Sydney was trying to set aside. Who determined that shaving was the way to go? You're insinuating that if you don't shave, you won't be presentable and attractive, which really depends on whom is looking at you.  In conclusion, I respectfully dismiss your opinion as one of the mis-informed. Surely you could try and see the point of the article a ~bit better, mate.

kellay said...
on Nov. 12 2010 at 6:14 pm
Think about it. How many girls do you know that go bragging about getting their first leg hair? Now, how many guys do you know that go brag about their chest/pit/leg hair? /:?

on Nov. 4 2010 at 7:38 pm
ideaspazz BRONZE, New York, New York
2 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
There may already be a billion-trillion stars in the sky, but one can always shine brighter than another...

--Grace B.

I'm not gonna lie, I like the feeling of smooth skin on my body.  Yeah, I also hate the nusance of deciding when to shave.  But seriously, do you get your lip threaded or waxed or do you have a mustache?  If you do, why not make a point of this in your article?  Do you get your brow waxed?  We all get haircuts becuase split ends just look bad.  I have short hair for a girl, like Rihanna short so i defiently can say that I know what it's like to be made fun of for "hairy" reasons.  But I cut my hair, not becuase I think it's gross, but becuase it looks better this way on me and I like the feeling of it.  Although I think it's great that you have "rebeled" in a sense and enjoy it, I don't think that this should influence people to stop shaving.  But anyway, I love the piece.  It got me thinking!  Keep writing!  :)