• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Sweden mulls shaving products ban for minors

1 Apr 2012, 13:01

Published: 01 Apr 2012 09:53 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Apr 2012 13:01 GMT+02:00

As a first step toward implementing the new law, the government plans to launch an inquiry later this spring in the wake of a recent "armpit media" outrage in which women with unshaven armpits became the subject of torment and internet hate.

The incident also prompted additional concerns after it was revealed that girls in Sweden as young as nine-years-old thought it was "natural" to have shorn hair.

"We realized after the bullying that something had to be done," Jenny Hårfager of Svenska Kroppsbildsverket (Swedish Agency for Self Esteem and Body Health – KBV) told The Local.

"Young people shouldn't be influenced into unnecessary body maintenance. By taking away the option of purchasing shaving products for minors, we allow people to make the decision when they are at the right age – which we believe is 18."

Attention was brought to the matter earlier in early March when music fan and librarian Lina Ehrin was captured on TV inadvertently flashing her hairy armpits to television viewers during the broadcast of the popular "Melodifestivalen" song contest finals.

The moment was captured by a home viewer and posted online, resulting in Facebook groups featuring thousands of Swedes pledging their allegiance to both the pro- and anti-body hair camps.

Eventually, a protest was held in Malmö where unshaven women united in a show of solidarity to "reclaim the hair", making headlines around the world.

Finally, "Lady Dahmer", who was curating Sweden's official Twitter account "@sweden" at the time, posted pictures of her own hirsute pits and ensured the matter was certainly not a passing fad.

And people listened.

"It's about time we do something about these restricting ideals even if it means we have to enforce laws to do it. People are too brainwashed to think for themselves and teens are easily coerced into shaving. If it can prevent just one of them from falling for peer pressure, it's a victory," she told The Local.

"Soon enough the Swedes will come around and new norms will be formed and shaving will be seen as old-fasioned and outdated. It's a revolution!"

According to KBV's Hårfager, the inquiry will review international research into the dangers of underage shaving and body hair removal, both from a physical and mental health perspective.

"These products contain a lot of harmful chemicals that can cause lasting damage to the body. Not to mention the danger of putting what amounts to a deadly weapon in the hands of children," she said.

"It's also imperative that we help young people understand that shaving is a choice they should make as adults, and not a behaviour they should feel forced into as young children by current societal norms."

While Hårfager hopes the new law will be in place by the end of 2012, not all are pleased with planned ban on shaving products.

Hans Bergquist, a 16-year-old student from suburban Stockholm, shaves his face daily.

But according to the planned legislation, he will not be able to purchase razors or shaving cream for another two years.

"I'm gobsmacked. I'd have a proper Viking beard in two minutes if I didn't shave regularly. They'll tease me at school if I come unshaven. And dad won't let me borrow his anymore, I blunt his razors," he told The Local.

"I'll have to import from Norway," he said.

Meanwhile, Hårfager believes only time will tell whether young Swedes will see the light and embrace the idea and ditch the "Hollywood ideals" forced upon Swedish society.

"People need to understand that this is Sweden, we are democratic, and we have the right to be hairy," she said.

Story continues below…

"How long will it take everybody to figure this out?"

April Fools' Day update

It's midday in Sweden and custom dictates that we now reveal our chicanery, skulduggery and general tomfoolery.

As many readers no doubt have guessed, the above article has very little basis in fact bar a couple of notable exceptions:

Sweden is a democracy and women are permitted to grow under their arms.

Sweden has a tradition of freedom of speech and some people have recently used it to argue that female bodily hair, is, well, unfeminine.

The Vikings were Danish.

Comments have now been reactivated. A word of caution - after midday the joke's on you.

The Local/og

twitter.com/thelocalsweden

Your comments about this article

10:44 April 1, 2012 by eurobloke
Good joke, but this partly true here in the UK as you can't buy razor blades in the shops if you are under eighteen.
13:08 April 1, 2012 by calebian22
April Fools, hopefully. Then again Sweden is the ultimate nanny state.
13:22 April 1, 2012 by byke
While there was no doubt it was an April fools joke, it was A little too close to the truth.
16:15 April 1, 2012 by StockholmSam
"The Vikings were Danish."

I hope you don't mean to imply that all vikings were Danish?? There were certainly Norwegian and Swedish vikings as well. In fact, a few historians (though not the majority) credit Swedish vikings with establishing Russia.
16:29 April 1, 2012 by willowsdad
If serious, would this mean that males under 18 would also be prohibited from shaving?
17:22 April 1, 2012 by eurobloke
@willowsdad

They would have to do like what happens with alcohol here, ask their parents/friend to buy or use fake ID etc.
19:10 April 1, 2012 by WikidEva
April, April, jag kan lura dig vart jag vill!
19:31 April 1, 2012 by J Jack
Armpit hair is natural, so is sweat, dandruff, blood, snot, pee, soxygen, saliva and poo. That doesn't mean we want it on our body.
19:56 April 1, 2012 by Svensksmith
What is soxygen? Is that the odor that wafts from my socks when my feet sweat? If so, I sure don't want that on my body!
21:19 April 1, 2012 by Radhus
"Svenska Kroppsbildsverket (Swedish Agency for Self Esteem and Body Health - KBV)"

I'm surprised this is not a real agency with so many ridiculous other ones.
22:12 April 1, 2012 by JohnnyAppleseed
People, what are we doing wasting time talking about body hair when there are so many real problems in the world? If someone wants to shave their body or not it's their choice and no one else's business.
23:46 April 1, 2012 by JoeSwede
April Fools.... funny. This article was too close to the truth. I've been forced to accepts beauracratic weird logic too many times.
01:02 April 2, 2012 by cantfry55
Okay, you got me. :)
08:24 April 2, 2012 by Frobobbles
The Vikings were not danish. They were norse. When we talk about norse we do not make a distinction between norwegians, danes, sve, rus etc.
08:29 April 2, 2012 by jomamas
What if you are 'anti hair' ?
12:11 April 2, 2012 by cogito
This satire was so close to the truth that I was April Fooled through the first half.
12:30 April 2, 2012 by Jes
A small joke from a small mind ?
Today's headlines
Swedish police backtrack on 'gunfight' claims
The scene of the shooting on June 22nd. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Police have retracted a claim that a suspected gunman had fired shots at a patrol unit before officers shot him dead.

Crayfish poachers send Swedes' blood boiling
Has anyone seen this crayfish? Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Oh no, not just before crayfish season!

Police hunt suspected gunman, 22, in Malmö
Rosengård Centrum. Photo: Simon Paulin/SvD/TT

Malmö police are looking for a 22-year-old suspect in connection with a shooting at a shopping centre in Rosengård.

Really old stinky cheese found on royal Swedish shipwreck
A diamond ring, the stinky cheese and gold coins. Photo: Lars Einarsson/Kalmar County Museum

Swedish scientists have discovered what is believed to be 340-year-old cheese on board a 17th century shipwreck.

Man charged with groping girls at kids' football cup
The accused in court. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

A 36-year-old sports manager whose team was sent home from Sweden after he was accused of groping three teenage girls at an international children's football tournament now faces trial.

Concern over barrage of fake Russian news in Sweden
The Russian propaganda site Sputnik News

Sweden is being subjected to constant disinformation campaigns by Russia and Isis, according to authorities.

'Let refugees go to uni while they wait': demand
A student at Stockholm University. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Asylum seekers in Sweden should be allowed to start university studies while they are waiting for decisions on their cases, it has been proposed.

The Local List
Ten Swedish phrases you only hear in summer
Let's work on that tan. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Summer always leaves foreigners baffled by Swedes' unique seasonal habits. Here's The Local's guide to navigating small talk when the sun comes out.

So Sweden has high taxes? Not as high as you might think
A taxpayer hands in their tax declaration. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

So you think Swedes pay a lot in tax? Others pay much more, according to a new study.

Man injured in shooting at Malmö shopping mall
Rosengård Centrum in Malmö. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Police cordoned off an area around a shopping centre in Malmö after a man was shot on Tuesday afternoon.

Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
Politics
Why Sweden's high taxes are not as high as you think
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
National
What's haggis in a condom doing on Swedish children's TV?
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
Blog updates

26 July

A summer of change; a summer of beauty (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"You would have had to try hard to miss the political upheavals in the UK after…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
Gallery
Property of the week: Smedjebacken, Dalarna
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
Politics
WATCH: A very Swedish take on Brexit...
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,335
jobs available