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Underarm hair post gets Swedes in a tangle

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Underarm hair post gets Swedes in a tangle
Ida Nygren Hansson was shocked when a friend confided that her daughter had asked for help to shave under her arms. File photo: Communist Casino/Flickr
11:50 CEST+02:00
A Swedish woman’s outraged Facebook post about her friend’s 12-year-old daughter being pressured to shave under her arms has gone viral.

Ida Nygren Hansson was shocked when a friend confided that her daughter had asked for help to shave under her arms. The girl said that she was being teased at school for having hairy armpits.  

In her Facebook post, Nygren Hansson, aged 23, said: “So f***ing sad and upset! My friend’s daughter is 12 years old.

“Today she shaved under her arms for the first time. She was teased and didn’t dare raise her hand in the classroom. It hurts me all over. And feminism is unnecessary?”

Screengrab: Supersnippan/Facebook

After several friends expressed support for the post, it was picked up by the Swedish feminist Facebook group ‘Supersnippan,’ where more than 1,500 people 'liked' her comments. It then made national news headlines when it was picked up by the Swedish tabloid Expressen

“Many people agreed with me and said they had the same experiences when they were young or have relatives who were also starting to shave at that age,” Nygren Hansson told The Local.

“It’s easy to forget that these pressures start at such a young age. One day you’re a kid and then someone tells you something and you have to become a grown-up in a week.”

She hopes that her post will make more people realise that feminism remains highly relevant today.

“Many people say that Sweden is such an equal country that we don’t need feminists but this is a good example of the fact that even Sweden is not perfect.”

In Nygren Hansson's view, society could do a lot more to relieve children from such pressures.

“I think it’s important that grown-ups – not just parents – tell kids that everyone can look exactly how they want and if they want to shave then they can but if they don’t want to then it’s OK too.”  

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