I do not believe that forcing an 11 or 10 year old control over her body hair (even if it is only imagined body hair) out of her hands by "making" her refrain from shaving is respectful, ethical or emotionally healthy. Any more force feeding my lil'ones would be healthy. Would you try to forbid the use of a certain form of sanitary protection or style of bra? I would hope not. To me it amount to the same thing - if a girl wants to use a diva cup (or whatever) for her periods and can do so- this is no different to wanting to use a razor for the hair on her legs. Afterall, what is to stop a girl using her friends razor while she is in her house - not exacly behaviour you want to encourage. Additionally it is not something I would discuss with my beloved to seek his agreement, any more than he would discuss our son starting to shave (except to tell me we needed extra shaving cream now :-)
I started using a depilatory cream at about 11 - when I started my period. My Mom dscouraged using a razor - becuase she knew how clumsy I was and there wasn't such a great range on the mrket back then. When I said I wanted to switch to wax her resposne was - well you'd better come to the supermarket with me to see which one is best. I use an electric razor now and an epilator and my leg hair - which I have been shaving for longer than anywhere else is actually much finer now. But this is more to do with genes and hormones than the method of hair removal. If anyone is concerned about stubbly fee,ling fast regrowth - wax. One of the wonderful benfits o beign a woman - if you don't like having you can wax. If you're squemish you can go to a salon and have a salon therapist do it for you!
CompostMom - your psot made me so so sad, too - for your daughter.
Heck if my Mom had "forbidden"me to shave, use tampons or deodorant, I would have gone right out and DONE those things (maybe whether IU had a great desitre to do so or not) whether she liked it or not.
Emotional hurt over something that can easily fixed does not build character - at best it just hurts. At worst it desesitizes and builds resentment. Not somethinG i want for my children.
As for the conforminG feminist isue - remember southern European women do not shave their underarms (never got close enough to find out about any other parts - it would have been impolite LOL) So by shaving I would be non-conforming. My Mom never shaved her legs - she has no leg hair, sEriously! She shaved her underarms using my Dad's old razors, her hair was so light!! I shave my public hair not for reasons of sex appeal (my beloved actually doesn't mind and would probably veer on the side of unshaven) but becuase I play a lot oF sports, including water sports.
However there IS on radio shows and among women about men beiing hairy - back, chest etc, the merits or demerits and how men can get rid of this. And yes, boys, even when i was in my teems did get teased about having hairy legs. So it does apply to both genders.
"Personally, I think there are bigger fish to fry in parenting than removing body hair. If you try to control everything, you will end up with a lot of control problems and rebellion. I am not going to fight hair cuts, perms, any hair coloring that is allowed by the school, clothing that is allowed by the school, jewelry allowed by the school, make-up that is not WAY beyond excessive, music, etc. If I fight all of those little things, how am I going to have any say in the big things? It seems like all we would be doing is fighting through the pre-teen and teen years. I don't want that"
- WELL SAID.