A woman has opened up about the abuse she receives from men for not plucking her facial hair, and how it’s actually a blessing in disguise.
Eldina Jaganjac grew frustrated by the fact that women are expected to spend more time and money on maintaining their looks through hair removal than men are.
So, in March 2020, the 31-year-old tutor from Copenhagen, Denmark stopped plucking her eyebrows and upper lip completely.
Eldina doesn’t care what she looks like or what other people think of her anymore but admits men have shouted ‘pluck that’ at her in the street and she notices men staring at her eyebrows like she has a ‘third head.’
When it comes to dating, Eldina believes that her unibrow and facial hair is a blessing as it means she gets to weed out any ‘conservative’ potential suitors who are put off by her look straight away.
“Before I let my unibrow grow out, I did feel like there were extremely limited options to how women were supposed to look,” said Eldina.
“Compared to men, we are expected to spend much more time and money on our looks just to be deemed visually acceptable in society, especially when you are in public spaces.
“If a man doesn’t shave and doesn’t pluck his eyebrows, no one notices or comments and it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
“Just like many other women, I have learned to police myself. For instance, I used to not feel comfortable going outside unless my eyebrows were the accepted small size, and I wouldn’t go to the gym unless my legs were clean-shaven.
“Now, I’ve chosen to focus on the tasks and goals that I need to have done and less on how I appear while doing them and whether people like me or not, because I probably won’t ever see them again, and if I do, I still don’t care.
“I don’t care what people think. I don’t want it to become this big thing – no pun intended – but it’s a personal choice for everyone to make themselves, and I wish that people wouldn’t care no matter how a woman chooses to look.
“I used to feel less feminine because of my rather voluminous eyebrows. Growing up, I noticed that I was considered a brute when my body hair first started to grow as a teenager.
“I noticed most girls around me panicking around the age of thirteen to fourteen and starting to shave and pluck anything pluckable because they wanted to be accepted as female and tried to fit into their new role as a young woman.”
Instead, she slowly started to grow out her brows “so it wasn’t like I made an announcement”.
“Some of my friends said it was cool after I grew out my brows, some didn’t notice and most didn’t care,” she said.
“I’ve had people come up to me on the street telling me it was cool, and a few yelling at me. That was uncomfortable at first, but if some people have nothing to do other than yell at strangers, then so be it. I don’t want to waste my energy on someone who clearly has too much time on their hands.
“I’ve had some rude comments here and there, but very few were from grown-ups. Mostly it has been teenagers on social media telling me how to perform the art of personal grooming. Or just commenting ‘unibrow’.
“Yes, I have had a few teenage boys yell at me in the streets, but nothing big.
“I think it’s hard to understand gender roles when you are a teenager and you are growing up, so I think seeing a woman doing something that is considered less feminine confuses these teenagers and they let it out on me because they start to question their own norms and understanding of what it means to be a man.
“The reaction is actually almost completely positive, but I am sure that there are some negative comments behind my back, but I don’t really care about that.
“I have noticed a few grown men stare at my unshaven legs and my eyebrows like I had a third head.
“If anything, I get more positive attention and I get to weed out the more conservative people from the beginning.”
Eldina feels more confident than ever because she isn’t afraid to stand out from the crowd, but she stressed that people should only choose to go au-natural if they are comfortable doing so.
“In a way, I am more confident because I am not afraid to look different anymore and I’ve come to feel like I can make more untraditional choices in general,” she said.
“It’s also helped me to be more visually open and creative and have more courage.
“I think you should do what you want to do. Of course, in some jobs and places, you have to fit a description so it’s going to be a compromise. I would take it slowly and safely because you never know how people will react.
“It’s also a balance; Is the more natural look worth the worry? Are you going to spend more energy worrying about if people are staring and what they are thinking?
“In this case, I would ease into it and see how it feels and what is right for you but try it out and people might just not notice or you might end up feeling quite comfortable.
“I want to convey the message that we are all different, and that’s okay. There’s no one right or wrong but every person, despite their gender, should have the right to do as they want with their appearance.
“Do what is comfortable for you and the right friends will stick around. I’m not pro or anti-shaving/plucking, but I am a supporter of everyone’s right to choose for themselves.
“By deeming some women less feminine because of body hair, society excludes several geographical areas in the world from femininity.
“In many areas of the world, women do have more visible and darker hair, and they are then forced or nudged to change their appearances more than women in, for example, Scandinavia where hair, in general, is lighter and less visible.
“So there is this underlying prejudice that women from southern Europe or the middle east are inherently less feminine and therefore they have to change a lot about themselves to fit into a quite narrow idea of femininity.
“To be accepted into this, we must spend more time and money just to be able to visually exist in an acceptable way, and yes, I do think that this is not fair.
“I think we have to ask the question: Why do we, as a society, deem it so important that women remove hairs from their bodies? I think this should be so irrelevant as there are so many other and more important things to focus on.”