• Sweden edition
 
Sweden mulls shaving products ban for minors

Sweden mulls shaving products ban for minors

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"Soon enough the Swedes will come around and new norms will be formed and shaving will be seen as old-fasioned and outdated.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.

"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
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Photo: TT

Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains

Torrential rains in western Sweden have left some towns submersed as water levels have risen to 1.5 metres above normal for the season with forecasts indicating that is worse to come. READ  

Ebola crisis
Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund
Photo: TT

Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund

Sweden has offered a new sizeable contribution to the fund set up by UN chief Ban K-moon to fight the Ebola outbreak. READ  

Society
'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme
Photo: Lars-Göran Thuresson/Älgriket

'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme

The Swedish hunting association runs a project to encourage young asylum-seekers to learn about hunting, a move which has proved controversial among some far right groups. READ  

Business & Money
American sales squeeze Ericsson profits
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg presents the third-quarter earnings report at the company's headquarters in Kista. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

American sales squeeze Ericsson profits

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson reported a decline in net profit in the third quarter despite an increase in sales, boosted by business in emerging markets. READ  

Interview
'Too many concerts feel the same'
Sofar hosts secret gigs in Swedish apartments. Photo: Sofar

'Too many concerts feel the same'

Kattis Bjork founded Stockholm's secret gig scene - Sofar - a year ago. The Local caught up with her as she prepared to celebrate the project's anniversary this weekend and revealed the concept will spread to other Swedish cities in 2015. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Business & Money
US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks
Ed Carbaugh prepares to install parts on a truck engine on an assembly line at Volvo Trucks' powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, March 2014. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. READ  

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery
Cigarettes and beer photo: Shutterstock

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery

Inspectors who were sent to shut down a doctor’s surgery in Gothenburg were physically attacked and fled the premises to get help from the police. READ  

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water
A Swede loads a car with alcohol in northern Germany. File photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water

Swedish police say they will pay a man 16,000 kronor ($2,200) in damages after much of the alcohol they confiscated from him was stolen, while many of the bottles they returned were filled with water. READ  

Diplomacy
US to get first female ambassador in Sweden
File photo: Athena Center for Leadership Studies

US to get first female ambassador in Sweden

The United States Embassy in Stockholm is set to get its first female ambassador after the White House announced it was nominating the Iranian-American ex-investment banker Azita Raji to take over from Mark Brzezinski. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
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

985
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