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22 Nov 2010

Fashion Victim: Sperm Brows

Fashion Victim: Sperm Brows

While, luckily for me, it’s usually pretty easy to spot a trainwreck from a mile away (are suburban white chicks still wearing mukluks? with furry snowballs attached? really?), sometimes it’s the subtler things in life that make you grateful you can see straight (or laugh mercilessly at those who seem unable to, at least when dressing themselves). Admittedly, I haven’t given much thought to my eyebrows before a year ago. Sadly, I was one of the high-school, overplucked masses, and after having gone back to look at some of my old photos a few years ago (this was pre-myspace—just imagine!) I solemnly swore to myself that I would never submit myself once again to the torture of the tweeze. A few stray hairs, make sure nothing looks too uni-browish, short and sweet. Makeup remains a real anathema to my shit-don’t-have-time-to-wash-my-hair today, out-the-door in five minutes with coffee in hand, chasing after the bus morning routine; the less I have to think about taming my hardly unruly brows, the more time I have for infinitely more rewarding endeavours (like posting bi-weekly rants about what’s horrible with everything).

I’ve always lived in paralyzing fear of the so-called sperm eyebrow. Back in the pre-myspace days of forums and message boards I used to frequent one in particular—it was patrolled by a bunch of really cool grrrls, all of whom were righteous, bad-ass babes. One of these posters in particular, I remember this day, had the most immaculately well-kept pair of brows I’d ever seen, and she used to scoff at anyone, alas, who wasn’t able to maintain such a full and luscious arch.

Despite my early love-affairs with my tweezers (I’ll spare you all the photographic evidence…) it always seemed like total common sense to me. Eyebrows, even though they don’t really seem like they’re there for a reason (expressions of shock and dismay aside) typically live in a certain space between your forehead and your eyeballs, they’re generally of a certain uniform, but tapering thickness, and typically aren’t, you know, bright pink.

Nor did they typically, I felt safe to assume, float up into your hairline, or decide to take random turns in random directions.

There’s almost nothing I can say about these disasters. I cannot understand how self-expression turns into shaving your eyebrows (what!) and then drawing them on with sharpie markers (whaaaaaaaaat):

It’s terrifying how frequently this kind of crap happens. It’s infiltrated our internets, our subways, our bus shelters, our buses… our school systems, our places of employment and leisure… And the sheer range of the spectrum of brutal brow jobs is seemingly limitless. While on the one hand we’ve got a few excellent examples of chola chic,

on the opposite end one can see cases of full-blown hipster caterpillars:

Listen ladies, there’s no need for this kind of excessiveness. Your foreheads have not misbehaved so drastically you need to punish them so harshly. That old addage that a thinner brow will make you look thinner is completely lacking merit, and furthermore what reason do you have for trying to fool everyoneone into thinking that you’re THAT surprised or THAT angry all the time. Lady MObama, unfortunately, this time I’m looking at you:

And not only can one be found brow abuse based on volume, but as Tyra has so mercifully shown us, it’s possible to ensure, simultaneously, that one have both too much brow and not enough at the same time—witness the bleaching of countless model-wannabes during the tantalizingly brutal makeover episodes that happen every cycle. Tyra, girl, please. WHY would you insist on a treatment for the “beautiful young women who stand before you” that can render Glossy Mossy a trainwreck?

Pixelated injustice aside, oh honey no.

Ladies, it’s time to take a stand. Let’s all stand firm and united on this front and resist the temptation of bad eyebrows! Our resident eyebrow evangelist begs of you, leave your brows be. They really don’t need to be hacked up, dyed, removed completely, or elsewise maligned. A few quick plucks to get rid of anything in the middle, a few quick plucks to keep your eyebrows from rendez-vousing for a tryst with your hairline, a quick trim if you have eyebrows that are long enough to braid. Resist the urge to overpluck, cease and desist bringing that razor to your forehead, learn to love your brow brush sparingly and abide by the motto, in life and fashion, less is often more. Unless you’re this guy:

Beautiful, slightly groomed, natural brows (even if Dov Charney thinks they’re hot) are totally having a moment, and rightfully

so. I leave you with a warning—every time you needlessly pluck, god kills a kitten. And waxes off Tina Fey’s eyebrows.

Surely, you have enough decency not to do that to Liz Lemon.

(style scouting and contributions by Becca Lamire)

About the Author


i read a lot of books. you probably shouldn't take me shopping. i tweet useless observations @_arriving.

  • Becca Lemire

    Ok ladies: this is your wake up call, or “a-ha” moment as Oprah calls it…stop fucking that shit up!! Your eyebrow shit!! Just stop. Stop. No. Just don’t fucking touch them for 2 weeks until they grow back, then go to a pro and get them waxed or something. And never touch them again.
    And guys, don’t think you can get away with shit either. You look just as retarded when you fuck wit dem. A unibrow is bad, but overly fucked-wit brows is gay.

  • Lydia

    so much love for this post. so. much. love.

  • erin pea

    I am SO GLAD you have spoken up about this atrocity. I was just thinking about ugly eyebrows today – the ones that are shaped like L’s (see picture #7). I am saddened that any woman would do this to herself.

  • Pingback: Fashion ModREn » Eyebrows Are Getting Low, Low, Low, Low

  • Anita Høiland

    Ahahaha, lovely written and I agree with every single word!

  • eyebrow-Less

    I’ve plucked for so long I don’t have any left. The only thing that grows in a stubby, stubborn, white haired irritants that have to plucked or I’d be puncturing all the people I dare to kiss, including babies who yearn to be held close.

    I agree to leave them alone but hind sight is fore sight. So I have forewarned my daughter not to start, and just shape them rather than aspire toward the weird trends noted above.

    There would be a booming business for someone who can figure out a way to have hair transplants to resurrect the overplucked eyebrow.

    Good article on a subject that doesn’t get alot of attention.

  • Pingback: Sperm brows etc.

  • kingj0n

    Natural eyebrows are the best. However, if it’s a unibrow, then I can support the plucking, but not on the sides(left/right face side) to make it bald at the area, that looks gross in my opinion…



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