A woman refuses to groom her facial hair even though it makes men stare at her – as it helps her to “weed out” potential love interests.
Eldina Jaganjac grew up in a small city where anyone who looked different really stood out.
The 31-year-old, from Copenhagen, Denmark, tried not to let this get to her as she grew frustrated about standards of beauty.
She didn’t like how women are expected to spend more time and money on maintaining their looks through hair removal than men are.
So in March 2020, the tutor decided to celebrate her natural body hair by putting down the eyebrow tweezers and letting the fuzz on her upper lip grow.
Eldina’s learned to ignore what people think – but admits male passers-by have shouted “pluck that” at her in the street and stared at her eyebrows like she has a “third head”.
Eldina said: "Before I let my unibrow grow out, I did feel like there were extremely limited options to how women were supposed to look.
"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."
Eldina continued: "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.
"I eased slowly into it, 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.
"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."
Eldina believes some men are abusive to her because of their own struggles with being “manly”.
She explained: "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.”
But overall, the teacher does get a lot of praise too.
She said: "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."
When it comes to dating, Eldina says her facial hair helps to “weed out” people who aren’t compatible with her beliefs.
She added that her unibrow and eyebrows have given her bags more confidence about her natural beauty.
The tutor added: "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 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.”
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