Woman with facial hair challenges ideals of beauty: 'I woke up one day and my face had gone viral'

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Eldina Jaganjac doesn't shave her facial hair and says it's nothing to be ashamed of.

"I woke up one day and my face had gone viral. This would never have happened to a man who didn't shave or pluck his eyebrows," says Eldina. She hasn't shaved or waxed her facial hair since March 2020.

"I decided to do so because I don't want to spend time doing it when I don't feel like it," she explains. "I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. I might do the exact opposite tomorrow, but I'm a firm believer that every woman should do with her own body as she should and that every person should do with their own body as they want to."

READ MORE | Why are we still splitting hairs over whether women shave or not? Blame history... and men 

Her picture was widely shared as an example of someone challenging the ideals of beauty women are pressured to meet. 

"I think it’s quite frustrating that women have to do so many things just to be able to exist, just to be able to go out in society and not be harassed.

"I wish the world and I wish the media focused much more on women's abilities, and women's talents, and women's thoughts than what they do on how women look or how they don't look." 

Eldina Jaganjac says her facial hair has elicited strong reactions from people, especially men. 

“I've gotten many comments about men who say they don’t like how I look. It does surprise me because I don’t remember asking them. And I also got a lot of messages from men saying they like how I look and it also surprised me because I haven't asked them either. 

Eldina, who comes from Copenhagen, says that she's also experienced harassment in person. "I did get many comments on the street and men, mostly men, actually, only men staring at my legs. One guy, he grabbed my arm hair and said 'What is this? where does it come from?' and I just wanted to say 'biology?' but I decided to walk away. 

"So in order to avoid those comments or to not be looked at in a negative light, I do understand why people choose to get rid of their hair."

READ MORE | Women who no longer shave are ditching the body hair stigma follicle by follicle and we're here for it 

Contrary to initial media reports, Eldina didn't let her facial hair grow to weed out bad dates.

She says, "It's quite annoying for women always being portrayed in the media as someone who's looking for love. The choices I make, the choices women make, we don’t make them in order to please men. We just don’t care. I simply don't care. 

"So being portrayed as someone who does something to offend or to please men really annoys me because this is not true. My decisions are about me."

READ MORE | Femvertising: a step in the right direction or just ‘faux feminism’? 

The hair removal industry is a multi-billion dollar business and has used marketing and advertising to shape gender dynamics. With this, society still shames women for not removing body hair.

Eldina says, "I think women are under a lot of pressure to shave. I don't think shaving is good or bad in itself - if you want to do it, you should do it. If you don't want to do it you shouldn't do it. But a whole society telling women should or shouldn't do with their bodies it just isn't right."

She adds that women shouldn't feel like they have to go hairless, it should be a choice. "There's a lot of rules in womanhood, there's a lot of rules on having a body and a lot of those rules they come from fear. They don't come from choice. And being a woman shouldn't be the result of fear. Being a woman and the way you want to be a woman or just being a person in the way you want to have a gender, it shouldn't be policed. And everyone should just simply have the possibility to choose for themselves."

Article source: Brut.

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