• Sweden edition
 
Swedish girls think shorn body hair is 'natural'

Swedish girls think shorn body hair is 'natural'

Published: 20 Mar 2012 10:02 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Mar 2012 10:02 GMT+01:00

“We see these problems all the time. To be smooth in the right places is seen as a ‘natural’ part of being a girl,” said Carin Göransson coordinator at the young women’s empowerment centre, Tjejjouren, to newspaper Metro.

The girls that contact the centre about hair are sometimes not even teenagers but as young as ten years old, according to Göransson.

“Sometimes they write to us and call themselves ‘apes’, saying that their hair disqualifies them from being girls," she told Metro.

There is a double standard in society where adults are shocked to hear that young girls shave their midriffs or arms, but don’t bat an eyelid if they shave their legs.

A heated media discussion regarding female body hair has recently kicked off in the country after the online community went into a tizzy over audience member Lena Ehrin’s hairy armpit exposed during a live television broadcast of the Melodifestivalen song contest finals.

Under the Twitter hashtag #hairriot, Swedes continue to have their say online about a topic which never seems to run out of public interest or of willing arm pit volunteers.

Göransson welcomes the debate that the hair exposure has caused, as she thinks it may make people more aware of the hidden norms of our society.

However, for those that don’t de-fuzz regularly, it might be detrimental to see all the net hate directed against Sweden’s now most famous non-shaver Ehrin.

“It also shows some of the absurdity. That we have decided it is OK to have hair in some places, but not all,” Göransson said to Metro.

The Local/rm

twitter.com/thelocalsweden

Your comments about this article

10:29 March 20, 2012 by RosemarysBaby80
I'm soooo sick of feminist.

I shave my face everyday so as not to look like a hobo. It's a pain in the arse yes, but do I blame the opposite sex for making me do it? No.

These feminist are just bored (and redundant). Go to the middle east or Africa where perhaps the women could use your help.
10:49 March 20, 2012 by stevo1
dont shave and smell bad = no boyfriend

Shave armpits, legs and nether regions = boyfriend

your choice!
11:13 March 20, 2012 by engagebrain
The human race has managed for several tens of thousands of years with body hair - mostly male.

This obsession with removing female body hair is absurd and is a relatively recent development. The effect is to make women increasingly uncomfortable with their bodies and is driven by commercial incentives - lets find a way of selling more pointless rubbish - from the people who bought you vaginal deoderants.

The relative smelliness and cleanliness of male and female changing rooms in Stockholm swimming pools quite clearly demonstrates that smell is a male problem - our children very much prefer the (lack of) smell in women's rooms, sadly I have to put up with the smell of my fellow men.
11:19 March 20, 2012 by bagbuoy
Spare us the outrage.

Women do look more feminine and attractive without the hair. I'm grateful to them for shaving.

Since women compete for high status males, they will naturally do what it takes to win.

Of course there are some alternate games out there. Women with braided armpits can win high-status hippies within the hippy status game.
11:42 March 20, 2012 by soultraveler3
"Since women compete for high status males, they will naturally do what it takes to win."

"Of course there are some alternate games out there. Women with braided armpits can win high-status hippies within the hippy status game."

It's comments like this though that bother so many bagbuoy.

Why is that so many now expect women to be hairless from the neck down, covered in makeup and shoved into tight, uncomfortable clothing and heels everyday just to be worthy compete with men?

I know you said compete for and not compete with, but the same problems are involved in both. Women that are just trying to get "high status" males instead of competing with them or being an equally high status female probably agree with you though. Can't really imagine the Hollywoodfruar type or anyone that aspires to be one disagreeing with you.

I understand the need to look put together and professional in certain settings, but the question for many is why there's so much more expected of women.

Men are sometimes expected to have a clean-shaven face, but companies that require that are getting fewer by the year. Men don't have to wear makeup in order to be considered handsome and professional. They don't have to wear shoes that can and do damage you body in order to be professional. Why is that expected of women?

Teaching young girls that they're not pretty or worthy of love, a professional job, happiness etc. without hours of work is bad and damaging, especially since boys aren't taught the same.
11:48 March 20, 2012 by Frobobbles
The article reeks from that uniquely Swedish misconception: that everyone has to think and do exactly the same.

Example: "That we have decided it is OK to have hair in some places, but not all".

There can't be many other countries where the choice as to whether to shave the armpit or not is something that "we" decide once and for all for everyone. Can there?
11:52 March 20, 2012 by bagbuoy
Soul traveller, you're making it into some kind of "should" thing. Another operatic pathos about how it's all 's fault.

Just let people get on with their 70-90 short years of life and not agonize over how better everything would be on another planet if we make ourselves miserable trying to change everything.

Besides, I didn't say anything about make-up or uncomfortable shoes. That's your contribution, not mine.

Women do look more feminine and attractive without the body hair. And most people can't be bothered with marginal sourpuss activism that in Sweden gets raised to the level of state-sponsored preaching.
11:58 March 20, 2012 by wolverine2k
Okay just to lighten up. Where is the other half of the pic shown here? :P
12:07 March 20, 2012 by skogsbo
if anything is guilty of dictating how girls and women should look it's hollywood and the media in general, nothing to do with guys individual expectations at all. A hairy pie is better than no pie at all, if you are hungry.
12:16 March 20, 2012 by Twiceshy
Women it is just gross to be hairy! Just shave and live with it!
12:28 March 20, 2012 by libertarianism
#1, Shaving so as not to "look like a hobo"?? Male models most always sport five-o'clock shadows. And what of bearded French rugby star, be-still-my-beating-heart, specimen-of-manhood-extraordinaire, Sébastien "the horse" Chabal?? Sigh, swoon, sigh, infinity…

Can't we call a truce and name shaving as predominately activity/location/status related? If you belong to the superficial-urban-suburban-with-disposable-income tribe, shaving is most often a prerequisite for humping. Especially, if you're gonna wear a thigh-high dress. This scenario applies to men as well as women.

If you belong to the climb-a-mountain, sail-the-world, live-in-a-religious-or-secular´-commune, etc. tribe, it's not "gross" to skip shaving. Nor is it a prerequisite for humping. Until the last century or so, most humans belonged to this tribe.

Like it or not, we all descended from hairy humpers.

P.S. (wiki):

Chaetophobia is fear of hair. Sufferers' fear may be associated with human hair and/or animal hair. They fear people and/or animals with an excess amount of hair. They may also fear the hair on their own body. Some only fear detached or loose hair and do not mind attached hair. [And my favorite line...]This fear could be the result of a negative experience with hair and/or a hairy person.

Swedes are obviously transferring their fear of trolls to humans. Troll-sensitivity-training is needed to combat this social phobia, lest all in Sweden soon look like baby mice...
13:18 March 20, 2012 by engagebrain
Twiceshy - assuming that you are a man, do you shave your legs,arms,chest, back, face & crotch ? Its just so gross to be a hairy man or do your rules only apply to women ?

Hair does not smell. Our intrinsic odour comes from modified sweat glands - their activity is not reduced by shaving.
13:22 March 20, 2012 by Shibumi
+1 swoon for Chabal!

I like my men hairy and big and loud!

And any adult male with a healthy sex drive is not going to let a few tufts of hair get in his way.
13:39 March 20, 2012 by Old Trafford
I wont believe anything in this artice until they show me the other half of the picture
14:02 March 20, 2012 by skogsbo
it's probably one of those strange breeds of human, road bikers, shaving 'his' legs!!
14:17 March 20, 2012 by Snood
It's nice to see the razor used in the picture is a "traditional" double edged razor... not many girls use those! .... not many men either!
14:31 March 20, 2012 by Abe L
"Swedish girls believe that body hair makes them appear less female compared to when they have shaved."

At least one thing in which Swedish girl are right.
14:47 March 20, 2012 by Maryla
to the first comment:

and I am sick about people who keep harassing middle-eastern and know nothing about them!
14:54 March 20, 2012 by Svensksmith
Shaving hair is not natural. Cutting your hair is not natural. Wearing clothes is not natural. Using a toliet is not natural......
17:53 March 20, 2012 by Vill
I blame the porn industry for all this body shaving. If it weren't for those bloody bastards, I wouldn't have to waste all that time shaving my chest, arms, legs, and junk. But, alas, that is what the womens are programmed to think is sexy and I like copulating furiously with the womens so I happily oblige. ;o)
18:57 March 20, 2012 by OUIJA
Swedish girls, with or without having shaved their bodies, look like unemployed workers. O.K. There are exceptions, but these confirm the rule. Besides, the majority dress like men, act like men, drink like men, smoke more than men. The only thing that I believe they don't do, is to urinate like men.

A feminine girl or a feminine woman, is a female being feminine from top to button. And they are beautiful to see and to enjoyr their company.
22:39 March 20, 2012 by McChatter
@libertarianism

"If you belong to the superficial-urban-suburban-with-disposable-income tribe, shaving is most often a prerequisite for humping. Especially, if you're gonna wear a thigh-high dress. This scenario applies to men as well as women."

With you all the way there! Mah kilt's no exactly thigh-high, but ye needs to look smart at a' times.
00:22 March 21, 2012 by acidcritic
I believe that those who care about swedish girls body hair are crazy. Swedish women are so beatiful that some hairs mean nothing.
05:36 March 21, 2012 by CriticalDragon1177
I'm not sure if shaving as young as ten is a good idea. Couldn't these little girls easily cut themselves by accident?
15:53 March 21, 2012 by Emerentia
I think it's really sad if a little 10 year old wont put on a skirt or a pair of shorts and go out and play, or go to the pool or beach if she likes to, and has to worry about if her legs are hairy or not.
01:28 March 22, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
Bravo to the girls who already know at a young age that body hair is "apelike"! Women should only have hair on their heads...and it should be blonde! :)
15:07 March 22, 2012 by sarah02
@Spuds Mackenzie

So many jokes... so little time.

@Emerentia

Very sad and true. We need to educate our kids on how they should preceive their bodies. for instance, i consciously choose to not look at clothing chains bilboards at Slussen or T-Centralen anymore.

I am not a feminist and i think feminists should go to Africa and the Middle East if they really mean to work. But in sweden, they are just bored borgiose with too much money and no real work.
18:18 March 22, 2012 by stevo1
@ engagebrain - you have seemed to inadvertently proved everyones point.

'This obsession with removing female body hair is absurd and is a relatively recent development.'

but then you go on to say

'The relative smelliness and cleanliness of male and female changing rooms in Stockholm swimming pools quite clearly demonstrates that smell is a male problem - our children very much prefer the (lack of) smell in women's rooms,'

so, even though females removing hair is absurd, male change rooms smell worse (because men are unshaven) than female change rooms (most females shave).

So from a female perspective, shaving, as absurd as females think it is, actually serves a purpose when it comes to hygiene and smell...
06:48 March 29, 2012 by crackmonkeys4hire
So Swedish girls want to look like American girls. In America it's almost expected that a female will shave legs, arms, and anywhere else there is an abundance of hair.
Today's headlines
National
King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament
King Carl XVI Gustaf arriving on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: TT

King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament

BREAKING: Sweden's post-election parliament is meeting for the first time following a fanfare opening from King Carl XVI Gustaf. READ  

Opinion
Should Sweden's school age be raised?
A high school in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Should Sweden's school age be raised?

After the new coalition announced plans to extend Sweden's compulsory schooling until the age of 18, The Local asked two Swedes at high school if they agreed with the idea. READ  

International
Sweden slammed for ecological footprint
Sweden should increase its renewable energy according to WWF. Photo:TT

Sweden slammed for ecological footprint

Sweden is among the world's top ten polluters according to one of the largest scientific studies looking at the impact of humans on earth, produced by the WWF. READ  

Society
Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake
Ing-Marie Olofsson whose necklace was found. Photo: Private

Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake

A 66-year-old Swedish woman got the surprise of her life when a fisherman returned the necklace she dropped in a lake at the age of 14. READ  

International
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Malin Sahlén during a Top Model shoot. Photo: TV3/Nina Holma

Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos

A British newspaper has apologised after a freelance journalist stole a Sweden's Next Top Model contestant's photo and created a fake Twitter account used to trick a UK minister. READ  

Brand stories
Johanna N: beautiful jewellery with a story

Johanna N: beautiful jewellery with a story

Aged just 27 and already living off of her own designs, some may consider Johanna Nilsson lucky. But she doesn't believe in luck. She's the founder of a jewellery line blending sustainability, subtle style, and Scandinavian simplicity - and it's taking the world by storm. READ  

Sport
Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash
Photo: AP

Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash

Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Tuesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona at the Parc des Princes due to a nagging heel problem, the French club have confirmed. READ  

National
Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears
The Infection Clinic at the Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge. Photo: TT

Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears

A patient in a Stockholm hospital who was suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus was given the all clear on Tuesday morning. READ  

Elections 2014
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
A Jas Gripen. Photo: TT

New coalition agrees on defence and migration

UPDATED: The Green Party has committed itself to expanding Sweden's defence force, while the Social Democrats have compromised on work permits for migrants. READ  

National
Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden
The patient is being treated at the Karolinska University Hospital. Photo: TT

Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden

Doctors in Stockholm are checking a patient suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Botkyrka
Education
New government to make school compulsory to 18
Politics
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Blog updates

28 September

Spoiled Doyle (Blogweiser) »

"What you gotta watch out for in Sweden is the good stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re_EzUe6xpI In Sweden, it’s the good things you have to watch out for. Video on @TheLocalSweden http://t.co/rAb8eGFdTD pic.twitter.com/w37YYwMXy1 — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 29, 2014 " READ »

 

26 September

 (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Autumn swept into Sweden at the start of this week with snow in the north of the country and flooding in the south. As well as a change in the weather, Sweden’s change in political direction became clearer, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven formally announcing his party would work with the Greens as..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

877
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN