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A Hairy Tale MAG
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.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
This article has 287 comments.
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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!
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"If you think you can you can, and if you think you can't, you're right." -Mary Kay Ash
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Thats what we all are. Ameteurs. We don't live long enough to become anything else. -Charlie Chaplin
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"I am a fat girl, trapped in a normal girl's body."
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''Nothing isn't within my reach. Tell me I can't do something and I'll prove to you I can.''
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A wise word does not make the speaker wise.
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.
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"I don't do fashion. I am fashion." -Coco Chanel
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Be the change you want to see in this world-Gandhi
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"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.
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"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." ~Voltaire
Then again, I don't see why people can "conform" to wear fashionable things, but they have a problem with conforming to shaving.