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Swedish woman's hairy armpit hurrah goes viral

Published: 13 Mar 2012 12:41 GMT+01:00

The incident took place shortly after Swedish singer Loreen had been announced as the artist who would represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest finals later this spring.

Seconds later, cameras from Sveriges Television (SVT) swept over the audience and showed fans' arm waving jubilance, panning past one female fan whose clearly visible underarm hair appeared momentarily on live TV and in the living rooms of an estimated 4.1 million Swedish television viewers.

One avid Facebook user in Sweden managed to take a screenshot of the woman, which he posted online – an image which then spread like wildfire across the site.

Within hours, thousands of people had “liked” the image, and hundreds had shared the image on their own Facebook pages, with an overwhelming number of crass and bullying comments attached.

Daily Aftonbladet even ran a story “Sweden’s most famous unshaved armpit” which sparked people’s interest even further, and prompted Lina Ehrin to come forward as the armpit’s owner.

Ehrin, a 32-year-old librarian from Ludvika, central Sweden, has shot from oblivion to nationwide fame overnight - and can’t understand why.

“This is absurd, very absurd,” she told The Local.

“I mean, there are wars going on in the world, yet crazy people are sitting here commenting on this.”

However, the bullying has not succeeded in fazing Ehrin, who claims she is too old to be affected by people who sit at home and write comments.

“Everything is so fast on the internet, people don’t think they can hurt people but then can. I’m fine, but I’m also glad I’m older, if I were 15 I would be really hurt right now,” she said.

“I can’t believe a little bit of hair on a woman is such a big thing, especially not after it was International Women’s Day last week,” she said.

One of Sweden’s most prominent bloggers, Hanna Fridén, a self-described feminist, took issue with the reaction of the Swedish public.

“Most people aim to bully. With words like that she is disgusting. Retarded. Should be ashamed. That she was embarrassing. Some aimed to defend her, but the majority bullied," wrote Fridén on her blog.

“It's disgusting when people write these things, just because she’s going against the standard appearance. She has chosen not to shave under her arms and people are incredibly provoked by it.”

“The fact that the image includes her face makes it even worse. She has not chosen this. It’s extremely problematic and bullying.”

Since the online storm, the original posting and all its comments have been removed from the internet.

Meanwhile, a pro-hair group continues to soar in popularity, with armpit-hair enthusiasts having started their own Facebook event to stand up for non-shaving and share images of themselves proudly showing their own hirsute pits.

In the description of the group, “Ta håret tillbaka!” ('Reclaim the hair), administrators have expressed the positive body image goal of the group.

“We decide ourselves how our bodies look. Fight against net-hate and net-bullying. Love conquers hate,” they write.

The online event organized by the hair-happy Facebookers has already attracted 6,000 people, with many more thousands invited.

When told of this, Ehrin chuckles.

“Well, that’s nice to hear. Maybe we can turn it into a positive thing. Maybe this will get people in Sweden to think,” she told The Local.

“It’s 2012 for goodness sake”.

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

13:23 March 13, 2012 by Flappytango
"The incident took place.." haha
13:49 March 13, 2012 by petpet
That´s simply showing that the an important part of the population in Sweden are as as mediocre as in any other country, guided by the philosophy : *if you re not like me you re an enemy*. There is lots of room for improvement.
14:16 March 13, 2012 by glenquagmaire
Problems of sweden!!!
14:57 March 13, 2012 by millionmileman
When I went plane-spotting as a youth this is how we identified the Air France Planes under their wings. But never with SAS!
15:06 March 13, 2012 by foxpur
@petpet

Sadly the battle cry of many wars, racism, and just about any other discriminations....
15:16 March 13, 2012 by Tanskalainen
I'm surprised it wasn't braided.
15:25 March 13, 2012 by Tamm O'Shanter
...or plaited
15:29 March 13, 2012 by oldonpalouse
Equating her armpit with Women's International Day says it all.

The Civilized World we live in.
15:34 March 13, 2012 by Svensksmith
Looks like the gal I had to dance with in gym class.
15:52 March 13, 2012 by Steggles
Big deal!

One of Sweden's most loved idols,'Agnetha'..... always had hairy armpits!
16:49 March 13, 2012 by gpafledthis
That DAMN SVT just gave the Finns ANOTHER good laugh !! Next week the norwegians might respond ?? Go to it swedes !! Make us SMUG !!

An American- AN AMERICAN (thank Odin)
17:00 March 13, 2012 by HYBRED
Glad to see it. I think a woman with hairy armpits is very sexy.
17:06 March 13, 2012 by DAVID T
hairy armpits = hairy bush
18:30 March 13, 2012 by Svensksmith
hairy bush = Willy Nelson
19:09 March 13, 2012 by Tanskalainen
@HYBRED You're supposed to stick it a little lower.
19:50 March 13, 2012 by libertarianism
The "problem" of women's underarm hair in the West is often traced back to 1915 when sleeveless and sheer-sleeved dresses were popular for US and UK women of status. An ad in "Harper's" featuring a bare-pitted lass told readers it was necessary for women to remove objectionable hair. Razors were soon marketed specifically to women, with adverts claiming underarm hair was unhygienic and unfeminine.… The legacy of advertising: convince people there's something wrong with them so you can sell them the solution.
20:44 March 13, 2012 by wbs
Interesting that Friden condemns the internet bullying of this woman by calling it "retarded". So it's not okay to mock women with hairy pits but okay to use a derogatory term for mentally handicapped? Good to know.
00:53 March 14, 2012 by diegoveggie
most men shave everyday, so who cares? hairy armpits are gross anyways
06:56 March 14, 2012 by Decedo
eww....dirty hippys
09:13 March 14, 2012 by J Jack
Better a smiling hippy than a boring PC woman with a shaved cave.
12:07 March 15, 2012 by psnack
After Sweden becomes a moslem country, she will wear a burqa and can have armpit hair, missing teeth and multiple chins, and no one will care.
15:31 March 16, 2012 by jomamas
The real problem is this:

'They are trying to bully. They say it is ugly'.

NO. MOST PEOPLE FIND IT GROSS. THEY ARE NOT TRYING TO BULLY YOU.

THEY JUST FIND IT GROSS.

I find it gross. I don't hate women. Reasonable people can grasp that there is no contradiction in that statement.

In the new 'PETA-like' feminism - people have lost their minds.
19:18 March 16, 2012 by tadchem
body hair = testosterone = libido

We evolved from primates. Deal with it.
19:53 March 16, 2012 by Playethic
Baffling that underarm hair grows naturally on both men and women, and women must pretend it is not there, must remove it, else be considered 'gross', yet the same natural feature on men is not?
02:09 March 18, 2012 by Exolon
I have to wonder about the people who react so strongly to armpit hair, or even bush, both of which are natural in adult women.

It seems a lot of people have an obsession with pre-pubescent women, who do not have hair in these areas. Closet paedophiles, perhaps?
01:59 March 19, 2012 by Liandra Dahl
Under arm hair is beautiful. I particularly love the http://hairypitsclub.tumblr.com/ blog of women celebrating their under arm hair.
10:57 March 20, 2012 by stevo1
hey ladies, do what you want, but when you cant attract a guy or keep one, you'll know the answer, it wasn't him, it was your stinky, embarrassing armpit hair.

The Feminists will deny this as a valid reason, but in actual fact, it is the truth, so make sure you take ownership fully while growing your armpit hair!
17:59 March 25, 2012 by Adam_H
It is gross and you need to remove it.

Deal with it, feminists.
19:11 March 29, 2012 by Sulizhen
Even though I wax almost every inch of my body (it's my choice; being dark-haired comes with a price), I can't see the problem. So what if she has a hairy armpit? I can't believe that people had made such a fuss out of this...
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