mamas who don't shave~ what will you tell your dd and will you/do you allow shaving? - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-01-2009, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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*****DISCLAIMER*****
I do not shave my legs or my armpits and this thread is not intended to be a debate about shaving(It's crazy that I have to say that, lol). I am actually anti-shaving and this is really a support only thread for people who do not shave, not for people who do and want to chime in about how they do and they love it and yadda yadda yadda.
FTR I am friends with a lot of shavers and while they know my position I would never impose my beliefs on them or shame them for shaving and this post is not intended to make anyone feel bad, but for the sake of my question I wanted to be clear about my feelings and beliefs on this subject


So.

I do not shave because I feel like it is a disgusting habit invented by men to make grown women look more like little girls. I am a woman, I have hair, embrace it!
I actually think hair is sexy, I love my husbands beard and musky scent, he is in no way a metro-man and I wouldn't have it any other way!
And he feels the same way for me! I have never actually had anyone complain that I didn't wax my pubic hair off or shave my legs(and because I don't the hair is soft and fine) or my underarms and I have been this way most of my life, excluding some time in my late teens and early twenties although even then it was spotty sometimes I did sometimes not.
So what I'm wondering is how I will aproach this with my dd. I know that TV and media in general support shaving, promote shaving and advertise shaving products like mad. We are not TV free.
I want to instill in her the idea that she is already created perfectly by God in his image. That she doesn't have to conform to society's gender roles like 'smooth big breasted sexy kitten girl' and what not.
But I don't want to alienate her if she is interested in shaving, either.

Do I need to just go TV free and really sensor her media? I am pretty anit-sensorship, but I don't want to program her with ideas I don't agree with just for the sake of not sensoring, y'know?

Sorry this is scattered.
TIA for any responses, I know a lot of people do shave and I will be surprised if anyone actually does respond to this wierd post, lol!!!!!
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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*I* do shave, but every time my stepdaughter has asked a question about it, I have always told her that it is something that some women do, but it is your body and your choice once you are older. Just like anything else people do to their bodies (piercing, tatoos, make-up, hairstyles) I don't want her to think that it is something that she has to do.

I'm not sure how you would go about outright forbidding it - it might become quite the power struggle when she is a teen if all of her friends do shave. It is probably the sort of thing that you would want to start talking to her about at a young age.

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Old 07-01-2009, 03:31 PM
 
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I don't shave, and I think shaving is silly and yes infantalizing and uncomfortable. I will probably tell my daughter that if/when she asks, but what she does with her own body is her choice.
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't shave, and I think shaving is silly and yes infantalizing and uncomfortable. I will probably tell my daughter that if/when she asks, but what she does with her own body is her choice.
I agree that what she does with her own body is her choice. I really just want her to understand why other people do it and the history behind it so that she doesn't just assume that it is 'what you do' like a lot of people I know do. I also don't want her to feel gross about her mommy not doing it, but living in this society it is just not accepted by mainstream folks.
I went to a movie with my teenage brother this weekend, the movie was Year 1, and in the movie one of the cavewomen lifted her arm and she had armpit hair, nothing crazy, just a normal unshaved armpit(although it did look like instead of growing her own they had glued some on) but the whole crowd in the theater groaned. That is the kind of stuff I want to circumvent.


I agree with both of your comments, though, and thanks for answering!
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:52 PM
 
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I wont refuse or encourage it. once she is old enough. I do shave because it HURTS my skin not too I hate the feeling once hair grows long enough (I get really lazy about it) so for me I shave because I want to not because someone is telling me I need to. If my DD feels more comfortable not she can live with any "conquences" that may have (same with the reverse). If shes asks if and why I do I'll give honest answers.

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Old 07-01-2009, 03:54 PM
 
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I agree that what she does with her own body is her choice. I really just want her to understand why other people do it and the history behind it so that she doesn't just assume that it is 'what you do' like a lot of people I know do. I also don't want her to feel gross about her mommy not doing it, but living in this society it is just not accepted by mainstream folks.
I went to a movie with my teenage brother this weekend, the movie was Year 1, and in the movie one of the cavewomen lifted her arm and she had armpit hair, nothing crazy, just a normal unshaved armpit(although it did look like instead of growing her own they had glued some on) but the whole crowd in the theater groaned. That is the kind of stuff I want to circumvent.


I agree with both of your comments, though, and thanks for answering!
I think all you can do, which you are talking about also, is just share your own perspective, why you don't do it, what you think about it. That is what I plan to do in a bunch of areas where we differ from the mainstream. And her social situation will be different, and therefore so will her choices. Your information will help her be informed and critical thinking about those choices, so even if she does what most people do, it will not be without thought or critique. Which IMO is the most important thing.
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Old 07-01-2009, 04:14 PM
 
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i don't shave and i have wondered about these things...and what i emphasize when talking to other people about why i don't shave is that - our society puts ALOT of pressure on women to appear as very young girls - with tiny noses, no body hair, etc. this is the 'ideal' for women's appearance and the underlying concept is that men prefer young girls to mature women?

anyway, i think it is messed up, and while many women shave because they like it, is is more comfortable, etc, i don't shave because i do not want to perpetuate these "beauty myths". and while i don't really care if anyone else shaves or not (obviously not my business...) i do think that when women shave they are collectively perpetuating this "myth".

and...how much money are these people who sell shaving products making? TONS.

that is where i am coming from and my dd will know that. i would not forbid her to shave...obviously, but i don't know how much money i will be willing to spend on shaving products. and i hope that she has a different image and perspective around beauty and what that means for her.

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Old 07-01-2009, 04:28 PM
 
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I don't shave my legs, but I do shave my underarms at the moment. I wish I didn't and now at the prospect of having a little girl in a few months, I am seriously considering letting it grow out like I planned to when I have children. Thanks for reminding me.

I think it's important that you have men in your life understand that they aren't to make negative comments to your DD about it. When I was 12, my dad looked over at my legs (which had never been shaved) and said, "god, when's the last time you shaved your legs" and I cried and my mom initiated the shaving ritual which I did for 4 years before calling B.S. (I also started shaving my armpits for a similar reason with another family member who was "disgusted" by the 4 wisps of hair growing under there when I was 10.

I am lucky in part because DH's sister (who will be our children's only aunt, and I'm sure the "cool aunt") doesn't shave at all, so there will be more than 1 female role model for any child we have.

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Old 07-01-2009, 04:31 PM
 
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I shaved mych younger than my parents would have liked. Actually I think they would have prefered I didn't. I was in the 7th grade when I started I would sneek in disposable razors and dry shave to get relief.. Yea I was weird.. I fear DD is too but in which dirrection I don't know.

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Old 07-01-2009, 04:33 PM
 
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I haven't shaved in many years, mostly because I just can't be bothered, it takes way too much time. And because I just get so grossed out thinking of all those tiny cuts and all the potential routes into my body for infections! I plan to approach this with DD the same as the way I tell DS that he can wear whatever clothes he wants to (even, gasp! pink), that everyone has a right to be comfortable in their own skin and with their own choices, and that anyone who says anything negative about it is just insecure with their own self. I know, easy lesson for a grown person, not so easy for kids surrounded by peer pressure...At any rate, I certainly won't forbid it, and I fully expect DD to go through a period of shaving. What I won't do is completely bombard her with reasons why not to, because I think that sometimes when parents get all angry and up in arms about something (no matter what it is), their kids just think that they have crazy weird parents. So, all matter of fact is the way that I plan to approach it, and as with everything else, I want my kids to make decisions that are right for them at any given time.
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Old 07-01-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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I think it would be a tricky discussion.

Telling a young girl "I don't shave because I think it's silly, infantilizing, a waste of your time and a symbol of male oppression but hey, you do whatever you want, it's your choice" isn't really giving them a choice, is it?

I mean, reading these posts it's very easy to pick up on the strong feelings people have, and I would think that daughters would want to comply with those feelings to please mom, even if they weren't really sure they believed them.

At least I can speak for myself and say that I often worry about detangling my children's true desires from their desire to please me, if that makes sense.

Ideally, the subject could be discussed neutrally. "Some women shave for X, Y, Z reason, some women don't for X, Y, Z reason."

But I wouldn't use judging words like "silly' and "infantilizing" as the reasons - I think that sort of language would make the daughter feel guilty if she wants to shave.
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Old 07-01-2009, 04:43 PM
 
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I don't shave, but I did when I was younger. I got my period at 9 and started getting armpit and dark leg hair around the same time. My mom would shave my armpits for me (for like 6 months before i started feeling comfortable to do it myself) because I wanted to still look like a little girl ykwim? I didn't want to be the only 4th grader with armpit hair!

but I stopped shaving in my teens when I got involved in the punk/queer/feminist scenes.

I wouldn't censor media simply to avoid shaved women, but having an open dialogue about shaving, beauty standards, what has been beautiful through out time and how that changes etc.

I also don't wear make up and don't really have any in the house

However, I do pluck the surprising number of errant facial and chin hairs I have that seem to have multiplied since pregnancy, although I always feel like a hypocrite while I do it!
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Old 07-01-2009, 04:44 PM
 
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Eh, in parenting I think it's okay to be and offer myself, as a person, to the job. So I'm okay with giving my uncensored opinions on things, instead of some evenhanded laying out of all the options with no personal opinion or guidance offered. I do however, know that my opinions are my own, my choices are my own made in the context of my own life and supports, and that my child may have different opinions and make different choices. I think it's okay to be ourselves as long as we respect that we don't know everything and our children may come to different, and equally valid, conclusions.
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Old 07-01-2009, 04:44 PM
 
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I don't care what others men or women think but I have very think coarse dark hair so I shave and pluck a lot. I don't really use make up and do not like perpetuating the "baby doll" ideal of society so I want to find a way to pass that on even though I shave. That being said, DH actually shaves his legs as much or more than I do as a cyclist
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Old 07-01-2009, 04:50 PM
 
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My mom never shaved, she was quite a hippie. My sister and I had various feelings about it at different times. As teenagers, my sister was more into hip-hop culture, she was popular & cool, wore makeup, trendy clothes, & shaved. I was into like grunge music and classic rock & tie dye, I only ever played with make up a little & shaved only once in a while. Like, for swimming with my sister's friends, a trip to LA, a wedding. My mom never hassled us and bought us razors & whatever.
Now, as grown women & mothers, my sister never shaves because she doesn't like to keep razors in the house with her wild kids who love her stuff. She lives in kinda a hippie community, in northern California. And i just started shaving this summer, because I was feeling self-concious & weird about my hairy pits at the mom-tot swim class. I live in a conservative urban area, and my one hippy friend moved away. I am anti-shaving at heart, but I'm maybe a bit of a sell-out?
My daughter just turned 2, so I can't really imagine her ever old enough to hold, let alone use, a razor. But I think if she wants to shave I'll be okay with that. Most teens don't want to feel weird, I don't want to be the funky mom forbidding razors or hairstyles or fashions etc. I'll probably let her get her ears pierced if she asks. But, I will always tell her honestly what I think & why.
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Old 07-01-2009, 04:56 PM
 
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I don't care what others men or women think but I have very think coarse dark hair so I shave and pluck a lot. I don't really use make up and do not like perpetuating the "baby doll" ideal of society so I want to find a way to pass that on even though I shave. That being said, DH actually shaves his legs as much or more than I do as a cyclist


I also shave because I am really uncomfortable with my thick coarse hair. That was the original reason I started shaving in the first place at a young age. When I have body hair I itch a lot, am hotter, and smell worse. But I recognize I just have a lot of body hair that is naturally thick and coarse. I guess I am special like that.

That said I could care less whether or not my daughters shave. I will definitely inform them they have an option and that it isn't a *have to*. I will also explain why I do.

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I do not shave because I feel like it is a disgusting habit invented by men to make grown women look more like little girls. I am a woman, I have hair, embrace it!
Interesting! This is how I feel about shaving/waxing one's pubic hair. It revolts me personally so I don't. But as a whole I had never thought of it that way. I can see what you are saying but then I wonder what that means for men who shave- even just their face. Hmmmm... Of course my DH is one of those guys who has a bit of chin stubble and that's it. He just doesn't grow facial hair. So I guess the thought that body hair= man/woman isn't really a fair equation to those that just don't grow it. But yeah I can see what you are saying.

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Old 07-01-2009, 04:57 PM
 
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Oh yes also my mom shaved rarely and my grandmother was the same so I grew up with women having body hair. However they are fair skin/haired and their body hair was so.... soft and short and just totally not like mine. I'm still jealous.

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Old 07-01-2009, 04:58 PM
 
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What I won't do is completely bombard her with reasons why not to, because I think that sometimes when parents get all angry and up in arms about something (no matter what it is), their kids just think that they have crazy weird parents.
i think it is important to be honest, without bombarding with reasons or becoming angry and up in arms...

i am certainly not going to try to force my dd to fit my mold. i hope that i will not ever guilt her into anything. but i am definitely opposed to shaving for myself, and do think that it's place in our society is rather skewed. but i also don't think that makes me crazy weird.

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Old 07-01-2009, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i don't shave and i have wondered about these things...and what i emphasize when talking to other people about why i don't shave is that - our society puts ALOT of pressure on women to appear as very young girls - with tiny noses, no body hair, etc. this is the 'ideal' for women's appearance and the underlying concept is that men prefer young girls to mature women?

anyway, i think it is messed up, and while many women shave because they like it, is is more comfortable, etc, i don't shave because i do not want to perpetuate these "beauty myths". and while i don't really care if anyone else shaves or not (obviously not my business...) i do think that when women shave they are collectively perpetuating this "myth".

and...how much money are these people who sell shaving products making? TONS.

that is where i am coming from and my dd will know that. i would not forbid her to shave...obviously, but i don't know how much money i will be willing to spend on shaving products. and i hope that she has a different image and perspective around beauty and what that means for her.
This is exactly how I feel. I know I can't really change people's minds but it makes me pretty sad that women are willingly buying into these "ideals" hook, line and sinker. I long for a world where women truely feel beautiful exactly as they are, where other people don't put emphasis on these kinds of things, where women and girls were not held to a man's standard of beauty which I think is RIDICULOUS!
And I also in my heart don't believe that any woman truely shaves only for her own self, that is my true belief, whether they think they do or not. (Flame if you like, but this is supposed to be a support only thread.)

I agree that giving her the info is really all I can do and I will not feel like I failed if she shaves, but I will be grossed out if she dates a guy who likes her "clean and shaven" like a lot of my friends say about guys they have dated. Just the idea that she could or will feel unclean if she doesn't sahve makes me really sad.
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:04 PM
 
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Eh, in parenting I think it's okay to be and offer myself, as a person, to the job. So I'm okay with giving my uncensored opinions on things, instead of some evenhanded laying out of all the options with no personal opinion or guidance offered. I do however, know that my opinions are my own, my choices are my own made in the context of my own life and supports, and that my child may have different opinions and make different choices. I think it's okay to be ourselves as long as we respect that we don't know everything and our children may come to different, and equally valid, conclusions.
I might frame this

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Old 07-01-2009, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't shave my legs, but I do shave my underarms at the moment. I wish I didn't and now at the prospect of having a little girl in a few months, I am seriously considering letting it grow out like I planned to when I have children. Thanks for reminding me.

I think it's important that you have men in your life understand that they aren't to make negative comments to your DD about it. When I was 12, my dad looked over at my legs (which had never been shaved) and said, "god, when's the last time you shaved your legs" and I cried and my mom initiated the shaving ritual which I did for 4 years before calling B.S. (I also started shaving my armpits for a similar reason with another family member who was "disgusted" by the 4 wisps of hair growing under there when I was 10.

I am lucky in part because DH's sister (who will be our children's only aunt, and I'm sure the "cool aunt") doesn't shave at all, so there will be more than 1 female role model for any child we have.
I'm sorry you had those experiences, but it's cool that you eventually came to your own opinions about it.
I agree that your SIL will be a good example to have for your daughter and I also agree that having the men and boys in our girls lives being positive about this issue is important.
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:08 PM
 
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I remember my grandmother pulling me aside when I was mid-20s, giving me a "lady's shaver" and telling me that I needed to use it on my armpits because it was "unsanitary" not to. She didn't have an answer beyond, "Because that's the way it is" when I asked why it wasn't unsanitary for my grandfather-father-brother to not shave their armpits. (BTW something about shortening that to "pits" squicks me out -- don't know why.)

I do different things at different times. The hair that I do grow is fairly scraggly -- I wish it were fuller and prettier -- but I tend to get sore spots especially under my arms so I don't do it regularly. I can't see ever shaving my pubic hair completely on a regular basis again (I did before I had kids, then it felt more adult to have pubic hair plus didn't have the personal grooming time). I do trim for swimsuits and sometimes just because it's fun, but it's not a "because that's how to be attractive" thing.

ETA: I've already presented to my kids that there are various options and various opinions. The only one I don't approve is the anxiety-ridden, "I'll feel so gross if I do/don't" attitude, not that I won't understand if that message gets absorbed, but I won't just rubberstamp it.
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it would be a tricky discussion.

Telling a young girl "I don't shave because I think it's silly, infantilizing, a waste of your time and a symbol of male oppression but hey, you do whatever you want, it's your choice" isn't really giving them a choice, is it?

I mean, reading these posts it's very easy to pick up on the strong feelings people have, and I would think that daughters would want to comply with those feelings to please mom, even if they weren't really sure they believed them.

At least I can speak for myself and say that I often worry about detangling my children's true desires from their desire to please me, if that makes sense.

Ideally, the subject could be discussed neutrally. "Some women shave for X, Y, Z reason, some women don't for X, Y, Z reason."

But I wouldn't use judging words like "silly' and "infantilizing" as the reasons - I think that sort of language would make the daughter feel guilty if she wants to shave.
It really is tricky because the last thing that I want is o make her feel bad about natural curiosity.
I do want her to know the truth, though, and as I see it shaving has nothing good to offer.
I don't think I would feel bad if she wanted to try it or even if she liked doing it, that seems like a natural phase, it's more about her feeling like she needed to, even if that need was subconscious.
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:11 PM
 
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And I also in my heart don't believe that any woman truely shaves only for her own self, that is my true belief, whether they think they do or not. (Flame if you like, but this is supposed to be a support only thread.)
I'm not going to flame you as you are entitled to your own opinion but really who are you to truly know? I just don't think things are as black and white as they are in our own minds, ykwim? To me that's like saying you don't think people get a tattoo or piercing or lose weight or dress in a specific color for themselves. Sometimes people really do do things to feel more comfortable and more "them"

Lest you think I am just here to be a nay sayer I really am finding this thread interesting! I also find women with body hair really attractive as does DH and have for some time. It has led to some interesting conversations with friends

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Old 07-01-2009, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't care what others men or women think but I have very think coarse dark hair so I shave and pluck a lot. I don't really use make up and do not like perpetuating the "baby doll" ideal of society so I want to find a way to pass that on even though I shave. That being said, DH actually shaves his legs as much or more than I do as a cyclist
I presonally find it hard to believe that if our society was excepting or even promoting of natural hair on women that you would still fel compelled to shave and pluck "a lot". TO me you must do it, on some level, because of what others will think. I am not trying to single you out to ridicule you, I just feel in the context of this discussion this is perinent.
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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Well, I've considered this from the other side. I shave but I want dd to decide for herself. I've told her that I shave because I prefer the way it feels. Dh actually likes my legs hairier but I still don't like the feel of it. To me it is the equivalent of getting hair on your head cut shorter if you prefer that. We don't refer to leg or underarm hair as disgusting.

Dd has watched me shave all her life. At age 9 she tells me her father's hairy legs are nicer feeling than mine. We just talk about why she likes them better.
I know that sometime she might notice that other girls she knows are starting to shave or receive a negative comment. I hope she just feels that I think she is fine the way she is and support her choice either way.

We are mostly TV free so I think any shaving pressure will come mostly from peers.
ETA- We did not stop TV to censor what dd sees. She can choose any age appropriate dvd she wants.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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Old 07-01-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
It really is tricky because the last thing that I want is o make her feel bad about natural curiosity.
I do want her to know the truth, though, and as I see it shaving has nothing good to offer.
I don't think I would feel bad if she wanted to try it or even if she liked doing it, that seems like a natural phase, it's more about her feeling like she needed to, even if that need was subconscious.
I think maybe if shaving is presented more as a fashion thing than a "must do" or "must not do" type of thing? An example- some women prefer short hair and some long, some women shave and some don't. If it's presented as a fashion issue I think that gets more to the issue at hand- that it is more about body image than anything else generally speaking. Kind of like calling circ what it is- cosmetic surgery.

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Old 07-01-2009, 05:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
And I also in my heart don't believe that any woman truely shaves only for her own self, that is my true belief, whether they think they do or not. (Flame if you like, but this is supposed to be a support only thread.)
If it's supposed to be a support thread, why are you using it to decide the motives of women you don't even know, and decide that we don't even know why we do what we do, "even if we think so"? Arrogant and insulting. My only problem with women who don't shave is that too many of them make nasty, superior-minded assumptions about why other women (including me) do. If you want support, get support - but insulting other women, and then basically saying, "you can flame me if you want, but this is supposed to be a thread for support" is just taking cheap shots. I'm not flaming anybody - but you are.

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Old 07-01-2009, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
I'm not going to flame you as you are entitled to your own opinion but really who are you to truly know? I just don't think things are as black and white as they are in our own minds, ykwim? To me that's like saying you don't think people get a tattoo or piercing or lose weight or dress in a specific color for themselves. Sometimes people really do do things to feel more comfortable and more "them"

Lest you think I am just here to be a nay sayer I really am finding this thread interesting! I also find women with body hair really attractive as does DH and have for some time. It has led to some interesting conversations with friends
Like I said, this is just how I feel in my heart, it doesn't have to be right or wrong, it's just how I feel and I'm ok with it. I don't think shaving was ever something that a woman would have come up with living alone on a desert island never having been introduced to the idea. Again, that's just my opinion. I also feel like it is something women do to be "beautiful", not just out of boredom, I know I am never that bored and if someone were to be that bored I have some great ideas of ways to fill up that time, lol!
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
I presonally find it hard to believe that if our society was excepting or even promoting of natural hair on women that you would still fel compelled to shave and pluck "a lot". TO me you must do it, on some level, because of what others will think. I am not trying to single you out to ridicule you, I just feel in the context of this discussion this is perinent.
In my personal experience I was cutting my body hair with scissors starting very young because I was so uncomfortable physically with it. My mom and grandparents were 100% against me shaving so I begged my older cousin to bring a razor and show me how. I cannot tell you how liberating it felt. Believe it or not shaving is the only way I am not constantly digging at my skin. So I suppose I am just thankful for the option like I am thankful for the option and that I knew someone who knew how.

Quote:
I don't think shaving was ever something that a woman would have come up with living alone on a desert island never having been introduced to the idea.
See the above. I wanted to get rid of my hair without really knowing how. I just wanted it gone so I started using scissors. That's how uncomfortable it makes me. I think it depends on the woman and the circumstances. If that woman was me and the sun was blaring heck yeah I'd be sharpening a rock. Same goes with trimming one's hair or beard.

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