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 288 comments.

Sonata16 GOLD said...
on Jun. 23 2010 at 3:22 pm
Sonata16 GOLD, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
12 articles 0 photos 43 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you." --Zora Neil Hurston

It's really funny, a combination of reading your article and something my boyfriend tells me every now and then showed me you are absolutely right.

I am so self conscious about shaving, and i just happened to go a day without it and my boyfriend came over. I was thinking to myself that he would be grossed out and bla bla bla and he ran his hands um my leg, unknowing I hadn't shaved. I kinda cringed and he said," Um, I know you didn't shave today, and I'm okay with that.  I think its ridiculous how society thinks girls need to be shave all the time. When really, we need to be focusing on the people they really are. Not appearances."

GamerGirl75 said...
on Jun. 22 2010 at 12:48 pm
GamerGirl75, Ontario, California
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments
As someone mentioned before, I don't get how women are chosen as the hairless gender. I have to shave my underarms (I get irritated if I don't) but my legs aren't really that big of a deal. I've had friends ask me why I don't shave and I'll just reply with, I don't need to, and yet they still look at me like I'm insane. I think women are always being targeted to conform and be sterotypical. It's refreshing to see someone who has decided to stray from the norm. I applaud you :)

on Jun. 21 2010 at 1:36 am
JamieStarr GOLD, Sevierville, Tennessee
11 articles 0 photos 54 comments

Favorite Quote:
o! thats why i love you. :) i love you.

this was good. i dont know how you have the courage to do this. i wasnt aloud to shave until i was 13 and i would wear shorts to school and come home crying and then when i turned 13 i shaved and i felt so much better. i have one question have you gotten a boy friend while you havent been shaveing?


on Jun. 21 2010 at 1:29 am
JamieStarr GOLD, Sevierville, Tennessee
11 articles 0 photos 54 comments

Favorite Quote:
o! thats why i love you. :) i love you.

i just have a question what do you do about your upper lip hair... do you shave bleech wax, or what? please reply back

Alanna SILVER said...
on Jun. 18 2010 at 2:45 pm
Alanna SILVER, Jeffersonville, Indiana
6 articles 0 photos 6 comments
You know I have actually thought about exactly what you are saying, I wondered if one day all the women would end up completely hairless just because everyone expected us to be. Kudos for voicing this nonsense about hair!

on Jun. 18 2010 at 11:16 am
soletmar BRONZE, Dobbs Ferry, New York
3 articles 24 photos 65 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you wanna be a dancer dance/ In you wanna be a miner mine/ If you wanna dress like somebody else/ Fine fine fine/ Cause what the hell is wrong with expressing yourself/ And trying to be free?"
Draco: "You know they don't have dances at pigfarts."

this isnt necessarily true anymore. i have been going to germany every summer since i was born and i can tell you that people there are just as preoccupied with shaving. its funny how fast everything can change!

on Jun. 18 2010 at 11:14 am
soletmar BRONZE, Dobbs Ferry, New York
3 articles 24 photos 65 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you wanna be a dancer dance/ In you wanna be a miner mine/ If you wanna dress like somebody else/ Fine fine fine/ Cause what the hell is wrong with expressing yourself/ And trying to be free?"
Draco: "You know they don't have dances at pigfarts."

the thing is, germany has changed. my family is from germany so every summer i go for 2 and a half months each year and have many friends there that i love seeing since i am fluent in the language. the thing is, that at like track practice we'll all be talking and it will be like oh yeah in germany and italy they don't shave followed by an outcry of ewwss and giggles. Now, however, they do. Still, i believe that its ridiculous for people to behave this way. Even if they didnt, why should they care? there are many stereotypes about americans which i also find wrong to say. i only shave for the same reasons as you, and the fact that i love it when my legs feel silky smooth. hahaha. 

on Jun. 17 2010 at 9:36 pm
Jasmine7 BRONZE, Cecil Lake, Other
1 article 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Maya Angelou

Actually, the reason we have body hair is because it is hygienic- not eh opposite. for example, we have hair in our nose to keep out dust and so on, so we don't get sick. Body hair is natural, and it's there for a reason. I don't shave, and I can definitely feel the stares at school because of this.

on Jun. 17 2010 at 9:24 pm
Jasmine7 BRONZE, Cecil Lake, Other
1 article 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Maya Angelou

iouI'm in jun

MayDay SILVER said...
on Jun. 15 2010 at 1:43 am
MayDay SILVER, Bloomington, Indiana
6 articles 14 photos 88 comments

Favorite Quote:
I don't jugde if you don't jugde.

It's amazing how much fitting in means to most people. I love your article, and your courage for not caring what other people think.

on Jun. 10 2010 at 3:03 pm
hiddenangelz211 DIAMOND, Haverhill, Massachusetts
59 articles 0 photos 39 comments

Favorite Quote:
Live Laugh Love ~Unknown
I'm selfish, impatient, a little insecure but if you can't handle me at my worst then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best ~Marilyn Monroe
Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today. ~James Dean

I admire you for standing up for what you believe in! Almost wish i had the strength to do it to!

naturelover said...
on May. 31 2010 at 6:44 pm
naturelover, Kingsport, Tennessee
0 articles 7 photos 68 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let my people go."

"If the Good Lord had've wanted us to be the same, then He would've put braces on all our legs"

--Sally Field as Forrest's mom on the movie "Forrest Gump"

My dad was in the Army and he was stationed in Germany a couple of times and he told me that the women don't shave there.  But that was in the 80's that he was there last, so it has probably changed there, too.  Also, I did some research and found out that the reason women started shaving their legs and underarms is to reduce the fleas and lice.  (Two less places for them to infest, right?)  Plus, I only shave when I wear shorts or dresses.  I think it's stupid to shave a body part when it dosen't show.

(Except for armpits.  I get zits there if I don't.  Too much moisture.)

Great article, BTW!

on May. 30 2010 at 3:14 pm
Madison22 BRONZE, Kittery Point, Maine
2 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
Never Give up!

Awesome! Way to take a stand for what you want! I admire your strength and individuality. It is very inspirational!

on May. 30 2010 at 12:21 pm
silver_moonlit10 PLATINUM, Ashburn, Virginia
45 articles 0 photos 36 comments
Very nice and I agree with this completely.  I'm just not as strong as you are.  I stopped shaving my legs and my step-mother got really, really mad at me.  But anyway, I admire you and wish I had your strength.

on May. 29 2010 at 9:13 pm
lol, so i got a screenname just to be able to comment on this article! anyway, i just recently went rafting with my family, and while we were out in the sun, my older brother pointed out "hey, you have hair above your lip!" the funny thing is that i'm blonde, so it shouldn't be a problem. and while i found myself explaining how both males and females have hair in pretty much all the same locations, i realized how bogus it is that us females are the chosen gender to be hairless. long story short, i'm on your same wavelength - even though i don't quite have the gutzpah to do something about it. way to be!

JLover BRONZE said...
on May. 29 2010 at 4:08 am
JLover BRONZE, Sevilla, Alabama
2 articles 0 photos 6 comments

=) I loved it.

Seriously, you are so right goddammit! I am with you, haha. Look I live in Spain (Europe) and even though many Americans think Europeans dont ever shave... ¬¬ Spaniards do ok? I do! But because I want to. I hate going to LA to visit my cousins and hearing stupid guys making comments like: OOOh, spanish girls are so sexy and exotic if you dont mind armpit hair! And girls laugh at me. =)

My cousins tell me to tell them that I DO shave, but I actually dont shave in America just to bug people. I shave in Spain cuz I like shaving. I dont like the way I look with armpit hair, honestly. But no one has the right to tell me what I should and shouldnt do, ever! =)

I would never judge you on your decision. On the contrary, I would probably admire you if we ever met.

If you want to chat anytime, please add or message me! ^^ That goes for anyone who reads this 2!!! xoxo, Alex.

PeytonD. said...
on May. 27 2010 at 10:32 pm
PeytonD., Aurora, Colorado
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

This is a great story... you really need to keep writing!
I was in a situation last year (6th grade age 12) where I would not wear shorts. All of my friends shaved and I always saw those ads on TV that made me feel like you were not beautiful unless you shaved. I still have not shaved- I use Smooth Away only on my legs.

And I think my friend is a great example because she is a swimmer and has never shaved or removed any hair on her body and she is perfectly comfortable wearing shorts. Who cares what people say!

Hoodie BRONZE said...
on May. 22 2010 at 4:08 pm
Hoodie BRONZE, Tucson, Arizona
3 articles 1 photo 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Small minds think people, average minds think events, but great minds, like mine, think ideas"-unknown

I love your article but there's one thing thats the most hilarious thing ive ever heard of: If Miley Cyrus stopped shaving....HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Ohhh god. If she stopped shaving, that'd just make me want to lugh my butt off. HAHAHA. But i do love how youre standing upfor what you believe in. Theres someplace in the world( i dont remember where...) where women dont shave. no one does. i think its pretty cool. anyways, keep writing. =)

on May. 12 2010 at 6:26 pm
THEskaMuFFin BRONZE, Berthoud, Colorado
2 articles 2 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Desire is the cause for all your sickness and misery"
"When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky."

It isn't unhygenic to shave "down there". It can be unhygenic to shave down there. Its like eyelashes if your catchin my drift.

on May. 11 2010 at 3:29 pm
the_crazy_one BRONZE, San Jose, California
3 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
Be yourself, and do what you want, because those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter.

Good Job! I, personally, know that I could never do that. I don't think that it's gross or anything, I wouldn't be able to. I think it has something to with the fact that I'm really shy.