• 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"Soon enough the Swedes will come around and new norms will be formed and shaving will be seen as old-fasioned and outdated.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
Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
The Northern Lights pictured in Sweden on Wednesday night. Photo: Norrsken Sverige

An unusually high level of solar activity means the spectacle could be visible from rare spots in the country.

Swedish police 'in crisis' says union head
A file photo of Swedish police officers. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The creation of a new merged national police authority in Sweden has not gone well, according to the Swedish Police Union.

Nobel Prizes 2016
Nobel Literature Prize announcement delayed
Haruki Murakami (pictured) is one of the bookmakers' favourites. Photo: Bernat Armangue/AP/TT

The delay is due to 'arithmetic', an academician said.

Horny elk hold up Swedish hunt
One of the randy animals in question. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

The giant things just can't contain themselves.

Sweden to ban masks but not burqas at football matches
A masked supporter at a Stockholm derby football match last year. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

The ban is designed to curb violence at sporting events in Sweden, but it must also follow conventions on religious freedom.

Video
Heckler humbles Swedish golf champion with perfect putt
Henrik Stenson met his match in the final practice for the Ryder Cup. Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP/TT

Well that wasn't supposed to happen...

Presented by Invest Stockholm
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges

It’s no secret that Stockholm is serious about sustainability. We took a look at how the city's emerging startups are tackling global challenges, making the world a better place.

Warm weather melts H&M profits
An H&M store in central Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

A warm autumn may be good news for Swedes, but it was bad news for Sweden's biggest clothing brand.

Rail delays after heavy winds batter Sweden
The weather is expected to clear up. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Commuters were advised to take it easy in traffic on Friday, after harsh winds toppled trees across roads and railways across Sweden.

Homes
In pictures: Eight traditional Swedish tiled stoves
A tiled stove. Photo: Wrede Fastighetsmäkleri

The traditional Swedish masonry stove (kakelugn) is still a popular feature in many homes today. Houzz.se's Amanda Strömberg has found out more.

Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
National
OPINION: Sweden bad, Norway good, Trump better? I'm confused
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
National
Here's how much Sweden's highest-earning authors make
National
Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
National
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
3,006
jobs available