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.

mikmik123 said...
on May. 8 2010 at 10:20 pm
Hey i loooooooved the part about not conforming. lol and that comment about the european hair. Sorry about the non-capitalization i am being lazy. haha. Any who, i just wanted to say that i shave because i sweat more on my armpits when i dont. but shaving legs is mostly unnecesary. I love your writing. keep it up!

on May. 4 2010 at 4:06 pm
RitaChristine BRONZE, Metcalfe, Other
2 articles 0 photos 31 comments
Well written article - great work. I'm proud that you stick to your guns and don't worry about what other people think. That's an honourable quality. :)
No one has mentioned that in Europe, body hair is not as big a deal. Has anyone seen beaches over there? Pit hair is the hair. It is totally a cultural thing, and on this side of the ocean, hairless is where it's at. Maybe trends will change some day... who knows? Till then, hang in there!

cfitz4evr said...
on May. 3 2010 at 3:28 pm
i was reading this and i noticed an add for lazer hair removal right next to the article!! and i completely agree with you, i have thought about that alot ,why can it be fine for guys but not girls? thanks for writing this!

on May. 2 2010 at 11:12 pm
lunar_moon BRONZE, Austin, Texas
4 articles 3 photos 39 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you think you can you can, and if you think you can't, you're right." -Mary Kay Ash

I love this invigorating article. I personally shave-perhaps a little because of my "environment"-because it feels really good to be perfectly smooth. But I do see your point and I think that it is great that you are taking a stand for what you believe in.

MLStamp SILVER said...
on Apr. 30 2010 at 4:25 pm
MLStamp SILVER, Annandale, Virginia
8 articles 0 photos 35 comments

Favorite Quote:
Thats what we all are. Ameteurs. We don't live long enough to become anything else. -Charlie Chaplin

Wow!! I'm speechless.....first of all you have a great gift for writing! Second, this is an extrememly encourging and empowering article.  It is not gross to let your hair grow. I started shaving my arms when i was ten after an embarrasing incident. Recently I started shaving my legs and its very hard not to look stubbly.  My friends were amazed when they noticed the change, and some people still don't think its enough.  I will definitely be recommending this! Thankyou for standing up against the Battle to Shave!!

Everhart said...
on Apr. 29 2010 at 3:34 pm
Everhart, Boston, Massachusetts
0 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I am a fat girl, trapped in a normal girl's body."

I don't shave my legs because I don't want to, but I shave under my arms because it's kind of unsanitary if I don't. I agree with what you say about being influenced, and I think it's stupid that everyone has to disagree with you. I mean, c'mon, people, it's just HAIR!

on Apr. 28 2010 at 9:06 pm
Ok, dude I think it's nasty that u dont shave! ewww!! like no offense but how can u like go to waterparks or go swimming without getting laughed at?? I couldn't stand it!! but whatever i guess, its ur decision. =]

liger002 said...
on Apr. 27 2010 at 3:26 pm
okay well i think your article was super inspiring for some girls, but not for me. i dont kno why but i think having hair on your body is sorta gross. but im not dissing any girls who dont shave, just saying that i will forever stand by my razor. lol

Glendy731 said...
on Apr. 26 2010 at 8:13 pm
I understand where ur coming from, but it wouldnt hurt to shave every once in a while. good luck!

on Apr. 26 2010 at 8:10 pm
Star_In_The_Sky BRONZE, Isabela, Other
4 articles 0 photos 12 comments
I agree with not judging people based on their amount of body hair.  But I personally like a shaved body.  I hope u find a hairy guy too and that you can both be happy that way! Honestly :) PS: You write awesomely!

on Apr. 22 2010 at 11:32 pm
mcpanicfanic SILVER, Cincinnati, Ohio
8 articles 0 photos 65 comments
Your a very good writer and good message about body image, but I think women should shave. Sorry.

on Apr. 22 2010 at 7:13 pm
LucifersAngel, Cenntenial, Colorado
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
''Nothing isn't within my reach. Tell me I can't do something and I'll prove to you I can.''

I have to say, I was one of those clone lackies who obsessed over her shaving days and if her legs were smooth and touchable. But, after reading this, I'm pretty encouraged to stop if I want. I really think people obsess way too much over how they need to look and how they're supposed to look. It's hard to be uncomfortable with your body. I really did love your writing. You came straight forward with the truth.

on Apr. 22 2010 at 10:24 am
Thinker PLATINUM, Na, Connecticut
47 articles 0 photos 82 comments

Favorite Quote:
A wise word does not make the speaker wise.

People are so uncomfortable with their bodies that they fail to relize that the human for is natural, and the shock of it only a novelty that is eroded with experiance and time. If people just developed some personal self respect then they could live with whatever nature or the media threw at them. "To have self-esteem is overrated. ...Artificaial praise." "Crash into me" Albert Borris. 

LadyJ said...
on Apr. 13 2010 at 4:20 pm
Great essay! I thought you might find this article from the New York Times about celebrity body hair of interest: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/fashion/15skin.html?hpw.

brandisky said...
on Apr. 13 2010 at 10:30 am

this has needed to be said for a long time, i love the Miley Cyrus statement. i idolize you for being yourself and having pride in it.


on Apr. 10 2010 at 10:12 pm
jOjOsfreakingCIRCUS GOLD, Brentwood, Tennessee
11 articles 4 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I don't do fashion. I am fashion." -Coco Chanel

Genius. This has long needed to be said. Please send a copy of this to every classroom in America

on Mar. 30 2010 at 11:43 pm
stellarachelle SILVER, Jericho, New York
7 articles 2 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
Be the change you want to see in this world-Gandhi

wow, you are brave. I love love love the subtle Miley Cyrus statement :)

on Mar. 27 2010 at 12:09 pm
AnneOnnimous BRONZE, Peterborough Ontario, Other
3 articles 0 photos 146 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."
— John Green

I like dhtis article- you had a very good point- but I probably will not stop shaving, necause i like it and i like having smooth legs. I don't do it just because everyone else does, though.


And you shouldn't say that it's just an "American custom" because I'm canadian and we shave as much as you do. And I know that you Americans are raised to put yoursleves first, and to assume that you're the only country that natters, but we do exist too. Not that I have anything against your country; just it would be nice to be acknowledged for once.

on Mar. 25 2010 at 12:07 am
Swindlewick SILVER, ..., Washington
8 articles 2 photos 50 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." ~Voltaire

I shave my underarms and legs, and I have to agree with you on the inconveniance part. Cuts and irritation make me want to altogether stop like you. And I like the natural, human way you approach life. However, I still will probably continue to shave, mostly becuase I like the feeling when my smooth legs rub together and the appearance of hairless underarms. But I really do like this article!

destinee said...
on Mar. 24 2010 at 4:15 pm
This was very interesting. I don't shave my legs, but I always shave my other hair, because it's unhygienic to have hair "down there".

Then again, I don't see why people can "conform" to wear fashionable things, but they have a problem with conforming to shaving.