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. 3 2010 at 4:22 pm
thebushhippie PLATINUM, Sandown, New Hampshire
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This article definitely gives me something to think about. I think you're really brave for doing that! I don't think I'd ever have the guts to do what you do, but I agree that shaving is a nuisance. I mean, who came up with the idea that hair is gross? What makes the hair on our legs so different from the hair on our heads? Anyways, awesome article! I love how you're so independent! Keep writing please!!!

on Nov. 1 2010 at 3:15 pm
Athena19 SILVER, Central Point, Oregon
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'Love people. Cook them tasty food.' -Penzey's Spices

I agree completely with katie.  I don't do everything that society does, but I do shave. IDK, I just feel more secure doing it.  however, I think that it's amazing that you can do this

on Oct. 30 2010 at 3:47 am
t.i.m.n_w PLATINUM, Iqaluit, Other
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i don't shave either, because, shaving makes you hairier. besides, i don't really care about 'what's in' with anyone else. body hair is natural-as you said. and people who think their gross should take a look at there reasons why. that guy that said he was mad that you stoped shaving, isn't it okay for MEN to have beards?-to have chest hair?, than why care about leg hair?-it's a fab in brazil to have a 'golden shower'-to die your leg hair golden blonde. 

body hair is not nasty, it's natural.

on Oct. 27 2010 at 8:44 am
guardian_angel BRONZE, Plaquemine, Louisiana
4 articles 0 photos 8 comments
This article gets me thinking. Why are we brought up to believe that not shaving is so bad? My personal preference is to shave, but that is only my opinion. I like that you tried it despite the fact that you would lose friends. 

Cmg6604 BRONZE said...
on Oct. 26 2010 at 2:26 pm
Cmg6604 BRONZE, Plaquemine, Louisiana
2 articles 0 photos 6 comments
People that do not shave are nonsocial. If people do not shave, they will look like a gorilla. Hair on a person's body is one reason why they smell. Hair traps sweat and other nasty bacteria. A persons body looks more presentable without all the hair over their body.

ceb105 BRONZE said...
on Oct. 26 2010 at 9:25 am
ceb105 BRONZE, White Castle, Louisiana
1 article 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
I'm Batman.

This article is one that gets people thinking. "What would happen if I just stopped shaving?" Personally, I don't think I could deal with completely stopping my shaving habits. While I do not enjoy the ordeal of shaving constantly, I rather my body when it is shaved. Yet this is my preference, and in the future I will try to not judge others of their preferences. Thank you for this eye-opening experience. 

ARW114 BRONZE said...
on Oct. 26 2010 at 9:21 am
ARW114 BRONZE, Plaquemine, Louisiana
4 articles 1 photo 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
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I'll admit that while reading his all that ran through my mind was "How can that be comfortable?" Until I looked at it from a different point of view I was kind of grossed out but this article. What if maybe the hair isn't prickly for some, and it feels comfortable? What if maybe shaving is a hassle? What if missed spots and nicks of the skin bother people to no end? It's stating an opinion and I offer my respect for that.

kmd109 BRONZE said...
on Oct. 26 2010 at 9:20 am
kmd109 BRONZE, Plaquemine, Louisiana
1 article 0 photos 5 comments
This is an extreme point of view, but I personally like shaving my legs.  I can see the meaning behind the facts and I agree with some of them.  I have tried not shaving, but needless to say it didn't work.  I feel as though the message told within this article is amazing, but the fact of not shaving might turn others away.  

Violet said...
on Oct. 21 2010 at 9:31 am
i dont shave my legs either, boys dont shave their's so why shave ours?

Violet said...
on Oct. 21 2010 at 9:29 am
dudes are being rude by saying how gross it is but they dont shave either!!

on Oct. 15 2010 at 3:55 pm
lightningscar- BRONZE, Stratford, Other
3 articles 0 photos 32 comments

Favorite Quote:
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Interesting point of veiw. I agree with you, but I am not strong enough, to tell the truth I haven;t shaved my legs i ages becasue I hate it so much, ittakes to much time, but I would never stop shaving my armpits, becasue well, I admit it, I like to conform to whats "acceptable". But, although I would never do it myself, respect and admrie your decsion.

Unknown said...
on Oct. 13 2010 at 2:42 pm
Nice written article but no one wants to see a girl walking around with hairy legs. I mean some girls prefer hairy legs because of what they believe in but the fact of the matter is it's nasty to see a girl who hasn't shaved. I don't think it's putting out a bad message or anything but then again I'm not a girl so I guess I would't know.

amaranth178 said...
on Oct. 11 2010 at 5:30 pm
amaranth178, Washington, District Of Columbia
0 articles 0 photos 118 comments
 "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." I absolutely agree. It is sad what people will do when someone breaks decently from the norm. Shave when necessary or not at all; the pressure is really something that should not be encouraged any longer. Enough of the Barbie image. I'm sure she's a nice doll, but we can't all be an 'ideal.' And that's not a problem. Should never be a problem. Writing my own piece here, but I'll stop. ;)

on Oct. 10 2010 at 2:59 pm
Wow, good for you! I think it's great that you made a decision like that without caring what other people think. There are so many people who think that in order to be beautiful, they have to shave, and I don’t believe that. I myself don’t shave. I just decided one day that it was an unnecessary waste of my time, and so I stopped. I’m grateful that my friends are not so shallow as to care about things like my natural body hair- I guess they’ve gotten used to me, since I don’t really conform to the norm. (I’m a homeschooled, gluten-free, sugar-free vegan who’s not afraid to speak her mind. :D ) Congratulations on your decision to be yourself!

on Oct. 4 2010 at 9:24 am
HOPEfully SILVER, Clayton, North Carolina
6 articles 1 photo 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
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I think that there is merit in standing up for what you believe in. yet to shave or not to shave should be a PRIVATE choice. Why would you tell anyone that you shave or don't shave and why is it there business. To me shaving is as private is taking a shower or using the bathroom. its not something you talk about. its not something you tell boys or friends openly anyway. why  should they even care?

on Oct. 1 2010 at 9:32 am
lumpkins BRONZE, Plainfeild, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 7 comments

to be honest its seems like your a hippocrate you said shaving is an american culture so does that mean you are rejecting your culture as an american i am just saying you make your choice but remeber it seems like you are rejecting the american way of life


imalionrawr said...
on Sep. 20 2010 at 7:59 pm
personally i shave mine. i got so annoyed with people pointing it out to me that i decided i was done and got rid of it. total kudos to any girl who decides not to shave. u have more conviction than i do. i get annoyed by the scratchy stubble after a day or two and have to shave

on Sep. 19 2010 at 11:01 am
They can't accept the fact they love natural beauty in a women.

on Sep. 19 2010 at 10:43 am
ur like my soul sister...i dont shave and its my choice i get made fun of but whatever! I WILL NEVER SHAVE i stoppped about a year ago! love the story keep writing please!

on Sep. 16 2010 at 5:24 am
ValkyrieRising BRONZE, Cary, North Carolina
4 articles 0 photos 5 comments

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I wouldn't shave my legs if mom didn't make me. U go girl!