November 28, 2022

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Vanessa Andrea Vågstøl Hilland

– Deep down, I know everyone has hair – NRK Vestland

– My arms were visible the whole time. They have been tickled.

In high school, Vanessa Vagstol Hyland (18 years old) realized that her body hair was darker and more noticeable than the hair of others.

Students will compare weapons.

The message from the boys was that she was more poetic than them.

This led to her finding the razor.

Already at the age of twelve, her upper lip has grown. Before the party, she removed the hair from the top of her arms. Then she treated her thighs.

“I don’t think I would have thought of it if no one had mentioned it,” she says.

Vanessa

Vanessa thinks she had darker and more prominent hair on her arms than the others in the class. Before her 10th grade prom, she shaved her arms. – I couldn’t see anyone around me who had something similar.

Vanessa

When Vanessa got the comment that her mustache is more than a boy in class, her upper lip grew for the first time. She was only twelve years old.

Vanessa twelve years

When she was in middle school, her body hair started bothering her. – I don’t think I would have thought of it had no one mentioned it, as you say today.

Nobody has anything similar

In her youth, she missed a role model who could tell her that it was okay to have hair.

– I couldn’t see anyone around me who had something similar. Deep down, I know everyone has hair, and it’s more or less obvious.

Finally, she walked around with stiff hairs on her arms sticking out from the razor.

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Then I decided to resign. Since then she has let her hair grow.

She still believes that there is an unwritten rule that girls cannot have body hair, as she wrote in an article in Nordland newspaper.

I want body hair to become natural for a woman. Because we all have that, Hyland says.

When she was walking around with stiff hair on her arms, she decided to let her hair grow. Now she wants to be a role model that she herself misses.

Photo: Synne Lykkebø Hafsaas / NRK

signs of masculinity

That girls are criticized for body hair in the classroom doesn’t surprise Kari Geigerstedt. She is the chair of the Center for Women and Gender Research at the University of Bergen.

The reason is quite clear. She says chest and arm hair is seen as masculine hair.

Jegerstedt believes that there will always be standards for what is seen as feminine and masculine in society.

Poetry is especially important here.

– People are very interested in these things. Gender norms are ingrained in culture. She says children are especially keen to cope.

Carrie Gegerstedt, UiB

Carrie Geigerstedt, head of the Center for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Bergen, thinks it’s a good idea to show opposition to the standards.

Photo: private

– It is very important to expand the room

So it has been since World War II. Then an industry emerged to sell hair removal products aimed at women.

She notes that she caused quite a stir when actress Julia Roberts appeared at the 1999 movie premiere and felt hair under her arms.

– The rule today is that women should be clean shaven. It was seen as a major scandal, says Geigerstedt.

At the same time, she thinks the pendulum can swing the other way for the now-growing generation.

Is there any point in fighting to normalize body hair in women?

– Her desire to show resistance to the standards and expand the space is a very important business. Change is possible. There’s no reason to go back to how things were, she says.

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Actress Julia Roberts appeared at the movie premiere and had hair under her arms in 1999. It was seen as a huge scandal, says Jegerstedt.

Photo: Ian Waldy/Reuters