Swedish Language Blog

A hairy debate Posted by on Mar 20, 2012 in Culture

Sweden’s entry to the big Eurovision Song Contest is finally chosen and no, it’s not Björn Ranelid. In fact, it seems like the Swedes for once agreed on this year’song, since it broke the all time high voting record. So, everybody’s happy, then? No raging debates in the evening papers and in social media? Well, of course there has been raging debates in the aftermaths of Melodifestivalen. But the debates have not been about bad songs, weird performances, strange outfits or tanned writers. No, the post Melodifestivalen debate 2012 has been about – believe it ot not – hairy armpits.

Here’s what happened:
Seconds after the winner Loreen was announced, the cameras swept over the audience and showed thousands of fans waving their arms in the air. For a fleeting second, one of the cameras caught a female fan, happily waving her arms in the air and very briefly showing of her underarm hair – live on TV in front of an estimated 4.1 million Swedes.

One Facebook user managed to take a screenshot of the woman, which he posted online and the image then spread like wildfire.
Within hours, thousands of people had shared the image on their sites with equally as many harsh and bullying comments attached to it. A hairy armpit was the talk of every town and the poor girl even came forward in the evening press as “the armpit’s owner”. Luckily, she was more astonishe than upset about the whole thing. This is what she told The Local:
“This is absurd, very absurd. I mean, there are wars going on in the world, yet crazy people are sitting here commenting on this. Everything is so fast on the internet, people don’t think they can hurt people but then can. I’m fine, but I’m also glad I’m older, if I were 15 I would be really hurt right now.”

Facebook groups were formed – both for and against hairy armpits – and even demonstrations were held on public places where women proudly were showing off their unshaved armpits.  #hairriot is still threading on Twitter and in short, body hair is a hot topic in Sweden at the moment. Today, the daily magazine Metro published an article about how young Swedish girls believe that body hair makes them appear less female, with youth centres receiving queries from girls about shaving as young as ten (read in English here).

All of this, year 2012, because of one unshaved underarm and the power of the social media… Any thoughts? Would it have caused the same stir in your country?

Oh, almost forgot. Here’s our lovely winner Loreen with Euphoria. Fingers crossed until May 26!

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