A woman proudly chooses to embrace her mustache and unibrow, refusing to shave them off in order to use them as a filter for potential romantic partners. She doesn’t let the stares of strangers or their cruel comments stop her from being comfortable with herself – instead, she finds strength and confidence knowing that these features help differentiate those who truly appreciate her for who she is.
Tutor Eldina Jaganjac, a 31-year-old from Copenhagen, Denmark is used to people – especially teenagers – staring at her as if she had grown an extra head. Yet despite the negative looks, she has actually been receiving more positive attention ever since allowing her brows to grow back than when they were removed.
She maintained that she is no less womanly, and her choice to be different has imparted her with greater self-assurance.
Eldina reminisced about her childhood in a small city where conformity was heavily emphasized. As she matured, she voiced her distress at the reality that women are often expected to invest more time and money into hair removal than men for superficial reasons.
Eldina stated: ‘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.’
In March 2020, Eldina decided to accept her natural beauty and ceased plucking the hair between her eyebrows or removing the hair on her upper lip. She discovered that she only felt less feminine due to societal expectations when they were fuller, so embracing them made her feel much more confident in herself.
Eldina has proudly made the decision to no longer care about her appearance or what others think of her – yet, sadly that hasn’t stopped men from hurling slurs at her in public.
She quipped that she often catches men staring at her eyebrows as if she has sprouted a mysterious ‘third head’.
‘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,’ she said.
‘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 13 and 14 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 that the comments men make about her look come from a place of insecurity, as they struggle to understand what it means to be masculine.
She stated: ‘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.’
When it comes to dating, Eldina considers her unibrow and facial hair as a gift because it allows her to disqualify any conservative admirers who might not be open-minded enough for her. Instead of facing rejection or bias, she enjoys more positive attention from those who are truly accepting of the person that she is.
Eldina 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.’
Eldina has never been more sure of herself since she embraced being unique – however, it is imperative to only do so if one feels comfortable.
‘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 un-traditional 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, for 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 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 and 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 quite a 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 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.’