When to let your teen shave their bikini line? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 43 Old 03-20-2012, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi ladies! Ok so I have 3 girls: 18 yr old Madelyn, 13 yr old Sophie, and 9 yr old Charlotte. Madelyn started shaving her bikini line at 16 after speaking with me about it and then with my permission, she got it professionally waxed and has been for the past 2 years. We were at the pool this afternoon and I noticed some pubic hair showing from underneath Sophie's bikini. I have an amazing relationship with all 3 of my girls, but should I mention something about this to Sophie or wait until she brings it up? And what should I tell her? Thanks for any suggestions.
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#2 of 43 Old 03-20-2012, 08:47 PM
 
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I would mention it, if it were my dd. It's just a grooming issue. When my dd was 13, last summer, she had a bit showing as well when in a swimsuit. I just casually mentioned to her that I noticed it and that she might want to take care of it, and then explained some options and bought her a trimmer. 

When it comes down to it, I figure it's her decision what to do with her own body, but it's up to me to let her know what's generally considered appropriate and to help her learn how to deal with her body.

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#3 of 43 Old 03-20-2012, 09:05 PM
 
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I am not a parent. But I couldn't help noticing this thread. I'd advise saying nothing and allowing your daughter to make her own choices about whether or not (or how) she wants to groom her pubic hair. Or at the very least wait until she brings it up.

 

Edited to add:

It may not bother her after all. Or it just may not be on her radar yet, plenty of time for her to figure out what she wants to do with it.

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#4 of 43 Old 03-21-2012, 05:21 AM
 
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Another option could be to look for swim suits with "boy shorts" bottoms.  Lots of bikinis come with this type of bottom now.  There's a little more coverage, so that may work for now.  I know my dd likes this style-I do too.

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#5 of 43 Old 03-21-2012, 07:00 AM
 
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I'd likely mention it to my daughter, and just provide possible options she may/may not be interested in.

 

The part that caught my eye was about when to "let" your daughter shave her bikini line. I don't really think that's your decision to make.

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#6 of 43 Old 03-21-2012, 11:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Zephyrine View Post

I am not a parent. But I couldn't help noticing this thread. I'd advise saying nothing and allowing your daughter to make her own choices about whether or not (or how) she wants to groom her pubic hair. Or at the very least wait until she brings it up.

 

Edited to add:

It may not bother her after all. Or it just may not be on her radar yet, plenty of time for her to figure out what she wants to do with it.



Totally agree that it is her choice to do whatever she wants with her body.

But from my perspective, with my dd at least, I know this: She does not want to be embarrassed in front of other kids. When I casually mentioned to her last year that hair was noticeably visible, she had not been aware of it. She appreciated me telling her, because honestly ... that is something middle school kids can be pretty cruel about.

After she knew about it, and I had let her know about some of the options available (one of which was to do nothing, and it was totally up to her), I let her make her own decision.

 

But I do have to say that I think it's almost mean not to (kindly, gently) instruct our children about what is generally appropriate in society, or to let them know when there's something on their person that is potentially embarrassing. For example, I'd also let her know if she has a booger hanging out of her nose, or something in her teeth. I would hope she would do the same for me.

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#7 of 43 Old 03-22-2012, 10:58 AM
 
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Totally agree that it is her choice to do whatever she wants with her body.

But from my perspective, with my dd at least, I know this: She does not want to be embarrassed in front of other kids. When I casually mentioned to her last year that hair was noticeably visible, she had not been aware of it. She appreciated me telling her, because honestly ... that is something middle school kids can be pretty cruel about.

After she knew about it, and I had let her know about some of the options available (one of which was to do nothing, and it was totally up to her), I let her make her own decision.

 

But I do have to say that I think it's almost mean not to (kindly, gently) instruct our children about what is generally appropriate in society, or to let them know when there's something on their person that is potentially embarrassing. For example, I'd also let her know if she has a booger hanging out of her nose, or something in her teeth. I would hope she would do the same for me.


I agree with this. Yes, pubic hair is natural and if the majority of people didn't do some trimming then we probably all would have some having out! I'm totally fine with those that have made the choice to be completely natural and not shave or trim anything. But we are talking about middle school to high school kids. Classmates are cruel. If they want to not trim, then more power to her, she will also be in a space she she can more easily deal with comments. If she has no idea what is showing and then gets teased about it, that is something that can be very embarrassing to potentially scarring depending on how and when it comes up. I'd just mention it in casual way of "Hey Sophie, when we were at the pool the other day, I noticed this." And see where it takes you. 


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#8 of 43 Old 03-22-2012, 11:24 AM
 
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I have a dd who is almost 12 and I'm leaving the "when to shave" decision entirely up to her.  I don't feel it's really my place to either forbid or allow it, since it's her body (especially since teens will shave what they will, most likely, regardless of what mom/dad says).  With that said, if she did have some pubic hair peeking out from her bathing suit, I would gently say something to her in private, just to make sure she's aware. 


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#9 of 43 Old 03-22-2012, 11:30 AM
 
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Wanna hear something crazy? My 12yo dd shaves all her pubic hair. I didn't know what to do with it at first. She told me that it disgusted her, and I talked to her about it being natural etc, but she said it should be her choice, so when she started shaving her armpits and legs, she began to shave that area too. I am sure part of it has to do with the fact that I shave all mine too (and have for probably as long as she's known), but also, she gets grossed out by her friends' "big pouff" as she calls it. 

 

So to answer the question, yes, and then some, I guess. And would I tell her if it was showing? Absolutely.


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#10 of 43 Old 03-22-2012, 02:25 PM
 
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I would privately tell her that you noticed that some pubic hair was showing when she wore that suit. If it bothers her then you can talk to her about maybe shaving or just wearing something different.

I think if she wanted to get professional hair removal like your older dd then I can understand getting your permission or approval for that. I don't really think she needs permission to shave or trim that area on her own though.


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#11 of 43 Old 03-22-2012, 06:53 PM
 
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I know for many this is simply a "grooming issue" but for me the idea of bringing it up unprompted really makes me react, it really gets me upset & I'm not sure why. It would have embarased me beyond belief at that age if my mom had pointed it out & at the same time I would not have felt comfortable shaving but would have felt it was expected. I guess it just feels like if you point it out you are somewhat passing that judgement on to her. I found it shocking at 16 when I found out one of my friends was trimming & a part of me still feels very dismayed at the whole practice.

 

Maybe I am less hairy than others but I find that just making sure my suit is adjusted properly there is no hair showing & I have never groomed my bikini line in any way. Perhaps this is a suggestion that can be made instead? Similar to adjusting when it starts to slide up your butt.


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#12 of 43 Old 03-22-2012, 07:03 PM
 
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I'd leave her alone about her pubic hair.

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#13 of 43 Old 03-23-2012, 09:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post

I know for many this is simply a "grooming issue" but for me the idea of bringing it up unprompted really makes me react, it really gets me upset & I'm not sure why. It would have embarased me beyond belief at that age if my mom had pointed it out & at the same time I would not have felt comfortable shaving but would have felt it was expected. I guess it just feels like if you point it out you are somewhat passing that judgement on to her. I found it shocking at 16 when I found out one of my friends was trimming & a part of me still feels very dismayed at the whole practice.

 

Maybe I am less hairy than others but I find that just making sure my suit is adjusted properly there is no hair showing & I have never groomed my bikini line in any way. Perhaps this is a suggestion that can be made instead? Similar to adjusting when it starts to slide up your butt.


To the bolded: Yes, in that case you are very different from me (and my daughter). My hair extends a couple of inches down my thighs. If I didn't shave or trim the part that's on my thighs, it would be *extremely* noticeable in a swimsuit and there is no way I could cover it by adjusting the suit. Even a boyleg suit probably would not be enough. So I guess there is quite a variation among people. I can see how if your hair really is all covered by your suit (and thus only in a very private area), you could find the idea of talking about it with a parent dismaying or invasive. FWIW, the only part of her pubic hair I discussed with her at the time last year was the part on her thighs that was very visible.

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#14 of 43 Old 03-23-2012, 09:55 PM
 
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I think I would just mention that you do it, or that some women do it in a more general conversation.  She may not have thought about it before, but if you mention without talking about her specifically she will look on her own and decide on her own what she prefers.  You don't have to say you were noticing hers, as that will make her feel like you're telling her she should do it and also she may feel self-conscious realizing mom's been looking at and thinking about her pubes.

 

As far as "letting" I suppose when she wants.  My oldest dd started shaving everywhere by about 14yo.  I didn't even know for a while.  Once they can use a razor, it seems where they use it is up to them.


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#15 of 43 Old 03-24-2012, 07:32 PM
 
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and also she may feel self-conscious realizing mom's been looking at and thinking about her pubes.

 

 



Really, I'm in my 40s and I'd be mortified. blush.gif

 

 

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#16 of 43 Old 03-24-2012, 07:48 PM
 
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sooo......for the parents who think its up to their daughter or who wouldnt say anything would you be ok with her wearing a swimsuit that lets her pubic hair all hang out in public?  are you really ok with that?

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#17 of 43 Old 03-24-2012, 08:21 PM
 
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I don't recall be a grizzly at 13.  And I don't remember even having anything that needed extreme attention until I was at least 20.  And I'm mexican.  A little bit hairier than most.  What kind of bathing suit would a kid be wearing that would be showing apparent crotch to knee hair? 

 

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sooo......for the parents who think its up to their daughter or who wouldnt say anything would you be ok with her wearing a swimsuit that lets her pubic hair all hang out in public?  are you really ok with that?



 

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#18 of 43 Old 03-24-2012, 11:36 PM
 
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Not at 13 but definitely before I was 20 I had patches of coarse dark hair extending about 6 inches down my inner thighs. Zero possibility of anything but board shorts or a Victorian-style costume covering them.

I probably would say something because I wouldn't want her to be teased.

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#19 of 43 Old 03-25-2012, 12:32 AM
 
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This convo gives me the giggles.  DD2 came in while I was taking a bath yesterday and this girl has snaps.  She looked at me and said "WHOA! let that grizzly go!"  She's 7.  I hope she's a hairy beast when she grows up!

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#20 of 43 Old 03-25-2012, 09:03 AM
 
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I don't recall be a grizzly at 13.  And I don't remember even having anything that needed extreme attention until I was at least 20.  And I'm mexican.  A little bit hairier than most.  What kind of bathing suit would a kid be wearing that would be showing apparent crotch to knee hair? 

 



 


It totally depends on the child and the suit.  Any hair on the leg is going to be visible in a suit that is even slightly cut higher.  My experience is that pre-teen type suits from Justice are like this.  My dd finds boy leg suits comfortable for this reason-Roxy and those type of "surf" brands work well for her.  I think that this is one of those conversations that you can have that identifies shaving, grooming as something that is available as an option, not a necessity until/unless your child feels so.  I don't think there is anything wrong with sharing options, and then leaving the choice open.

 

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#21 of 43 Old 03-25-2012, 09:48 AM
 
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I don't recall be a grizzly at 13. And I don't remember even having anything that needed extreme attention until I was at least 20. And I'm mexican. A little bit hairier than most. What kind of bathing suit would a kid be wearing that would be showing apparent crotch to knee hair? Quote:

Having issues with the quote function. But, I think many girls who do not wear swimsuits with a knee length skirt. orngtongue.gif I guess some people prefer this types, but I hated anything skirt like until college, so I shaved. And I still don't like swimming in a shirt. Too restrictive.
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#22 of 43 Old 03-25-2012, 10:26 AM
 
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I don't recall be a grizzly at 13.  And I don't remember even having anything that needed extreme attention until I was at least 20.  And I'm mexican.  A little bit hairier than most.  What kind of bathing suit would a kid be wearing that would be showing apparent crotch to knee hair? 

 



 



Well, my hair is blonde and I barely have any leg/armpit hair at all. My pubic hair is wiley and out of control and super dark. And has been since I was about 12. Unless I wore boy shorts, my pubes showing. And, it was so thick that there was a bit of a puff under my swimsuit. I think every young girl is different. Honestly, if a girl is wearing a regular swimsuit (say, a one piece that you would wear for swimteam) and her pubes are hanging out the sides, Id probably say something. But I dont ever remember my mother saying anything about it. I had a razor to shave my legs and under my arms, and I took it upon myself to deal with it without my mother's permission. I tried to shave it into a perfect triangle once and I couldnt get it even, so I shaved it all off. I kept shaving it all off for years after that, and thankfully my mother never saw because she would have been horrified and assumed I was having sex, which I wasnt.

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#23 of 43 Old 03-25-2012, 11:26 PM
 
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When boys wear Speedos does anyone worry about their pubic hair?

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#24 of 43 Old 03-26-2012, 06:21 AM
 
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When boys wear Speedos does anyone worry about their pubic hair?



Interesting question.  When I was on swim team, and kids reached the middle school/high school years, everybody was a little more conscious of what was showing.  But, speed was an issue, and it wasn't uncommon for both boys and girls to shave prior to competitons-I think maybe it was more the feel of your skin in the water-I can't quite remember, but it was definitely a pretty common team practice.

 

Other than that, the middle school/hs boys we know don't wear speedos.  They wear pretty baggy surf type suits that seem to be popular with most kids this age.  My ds wouldn't be caught dead in a speedo. Do I think my dh would say something to my son in a similar situation?  Yeah, I do.  This is an age where some social grooming issues can make kids targets of ridicule or bullying, so we probably wouldn't sit back and wait for that to be an issue.

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#25 of 43 Old 03-26-2012, 06:36 AM
 
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Another option could be to look for swim suits with "boy shorts" bottoms.  Lots of bikinis come with this type of bottom now.  There's a little more coverage, so that may work for now.  I know my dd likes this style-I do too.



nod.gif "Boy" or "Surf" short bottoms, skirted bottoms, or "40s" style bottoms--though I don't know if the latter is available in childrens' suits. I buy either "boy short" bottoms or skirted bottoms for dd (she likes "girly" so it's skirted this year), "Burmuda" shorts for ds, and long sleeved rash guards for both of them; we're in south Texas and spend a lot of time at the pool with intense sun.

 

 

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Totally agree that it is her choice to do whatever she wants with her body.

But from my perspective, with my dd at least, I know this: She does not want to be embarrassed in front of other kids. When I casually mentioned to her last year that hair was noticeably visible, she had not been aware of it. She appreciated me telling her, because honestly ... that is something middle school kids can be pretty cruel about.

After she knew about it, and I had let her know about some of the options available (one of which was to do nothing, and it was totally up to her), I let her make her own decision.

 

But I do have to say that I think it's almost mean not to (kindly, gently) instruct our children about what is generally appropriate in society, or to let them know when there's something on their person that is potentially embarrassing. For example, I'd also let her know if she has a booger hanging out of her nose, or something in her teeth. I would hope she would do the same for me.

 

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#26 of 43 Old 03-26-2012, 06:37 AM
 
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If it was my daughter I don't think she'd be wearing anything that revealing even though everyone else does, swim shorts or swim skirt at a minimum. I'd tell her she was free to carefully shave anywhere she wanted to for her own comfort, even if it's somewhere that doesn't show. But I am shocked by those who would tell their child to "take care of it"! Talk about body shaming! Sorry to sound controversial but if my mother told me that I'd just about die.

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#27 of 43 Old 03-26-2012, 09:42 AM
 
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When to let her versus letting her know she's got some showing seem like two different questions.  One implies she's coming to you to ask for permission, the other means she's not aware (or doesn't care) and you're wondering if you should inform her.  Opposite sides of the same coin.

 

My daughter certainly didn't ask for permission, and that's OK.  I haven't been directly involved in the care of her private parts for 15 years.  

 

When she was 13 y.o., I think she was already trimming. Otherwise I don't know if I would have let her know, because my own preference for most of my own life has been to just make sure most of it's covered. But I'm clueless that way.  orngbiggrin.gif  I didn't start trimming until maybe 4 years ago, when dh made a comment.  Someone here at MDC compared it to spiders struggling to get out from under her suit.  lol.gif  I'm a hairy Italian with a Brillo pad that just spread out even further with the birth of each of my kids. 

 

I think if you can find a casual, light-hearted way to point it out and suggest she cover it somehow, it really shouldn't be a problem. 

 

Kids that age are incredibly self conscious, and frankly a 13 y.o. might be embarrassed no matter how subtle and gentle Mom is.  That's OK. That's just not the same as Mom saying something blunt and cruel.  Later she'll remember that it's OK to talk to Mom about girly things.

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#28 of 43 Old 03-26-2012, 10:16 AM
 
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If it was my daughter I don't think she'd be wearing anything that revealing even though everyone else does, swim shorts or swim skirt at a minimum. I'd tell her she was free to carefully shave anywhere she wanted to for her own comfort, even if it's somewhere that doesn't show. But I am shocked by those who would tell their child to "take care of it"! Talk about body shaming! Sorry to sound controversial but if my mother told me that I'd just about die.


I don't think anyone here mentioned TELLING their child to take care of it, but since those were my words, I'll reply -- did you miss the "she might want to" before that? SHE might want to, Or she might not. Her choice. I let her know that either way was fine. She can let it grow to her ankles for all I care, but I do believe I'd be doing her a disservice not to mention that in our culture, many folks would find visible pubic hair inappropriate in a public place. Is our culture wrong for vilifying that? Yeah, sure. We can talk about weird American sex-shame all we want, but it's not going to immediately change the fact that a 13 year old girl is going to get made fun of if other kids see pubes sticking out of her suit. Sorry, that's the world we live in.

 

I have to say that I find it passing odd for you to first call a regular swimsuit "revealing" and say your daughter would be wearing shorts or a skirt "at minimum," and then accuse a parent who mentioned some visible body hair "body-shaming."  I'm just curious about the dichotomy. It's not ok for her to show her thighs, but if she's wearing a regulation swimsuit, don't tell her if pubic hair is showing? My mind is a little boggled by this.

 

 

 

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#29 of 43 Old 03-26-2012, 10:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by journeymom View Post


Kids that age are incredibly self conscious, and frankly a 13 y.o. might be embarrassed no matter how subtle and gentle Mom is.  That's OK. That's just not the same as Mom saying something blunt and cruel.  Later she'll remember that it's OK to talk to Mom about girly things.


Yeah, this. She might be embarrassed or even mortified, but not nearly as much as she would be if other kids pointed it out and made fun. Honestly, this stuff is embarrassing for mothers, too. It's not exactly fun for us sometimes to talk about puberty-related stuff with our teens, but that doesn't mean we should shy away from the topics that will probably make both of us uncomfortable. I mentioned this thread to my dd the other night, telling her that a few people had insinuated that it was inappropriate or intrusive for a mother to mention bikini-line grooming. She laughed and said, in a puzzled way, "But you're my mom! That's your job. If you don't tell me, who will?"

 

It seems like there's also an undercurrent in some of these comments that a mother who mentions pubes to her teen daughter at all is crossing a boundary. It almost seems like some comments are insinuating that it's pervy or licentious for a mother to notice that the hair is showing in the first place (I think someone mentioned that the mom was "spending time thinking about" her dd's pubes -- believe me, it's not like we're ruminating on the subject). This thread was not talking about the whole of a teen's private area or what she does with that area. We are talking about VISIBLE hairs showing at the sides of her suit in a public place. It's not like we're scrutinizing or staring at our kids' bits, and frankly I find those insinuations disturbing. I realize that some of the commenters who've mentioned being uncomfortable with the topic don't actually have teen daughters, but if you did -- you do realize you're going to have to talk about all kinds of embarrassing or private things with them, right? Menstruation, for example. If a girl is bleeding onto her swimsuit, and a mother notices, is it crossing a boundary for her to say something? Or, since that might embarrass her daughter (of course it would!), or be intruding on her daughter's private area, should she just let it go and not say anything until all the other middle school kids at the pool notice and talk about it? (And if you think they won't notice, or won't talk about it, or won't say incredibly cruel things that could follow your child for years, you have forgotten what middle school was like.)

 

And quickly, regarding commenters who say "I'd be mortified if my mom mentioned my pubes," or "I'd just die,"  ... I have to ask, what kind of relationship did you have with your mom at that age? My dd and I talk about everything.  No, I don't pry -- I'd say I actually err on the side of letting her have more autonomy over her own body and private life than lots of girls do at her age -- but she does come to me with all kinds of questions and conversations. And I make sure that when I do bring something up with her, she already knows my stance that her body is her own and she can make her own choices. It is understood from the get-go. That's why I might have sounded flippant in my first post  -- as far as what we've discussed over the years, it was simply no big deal. It was a two-minute convo.

 

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#30 of 43 Old 03-26-2012, 10:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eavesdrop View Post

When boys wear Speedos does anyone worry about their pubic hair?



I was just thinking about this over the weekend. My stance is that 1) at least on my dd's swim team and at the local pool, most of the boys wear longer shorts. Only a few kids wear Speedos, and pretty much none of them are of middle school age -- some are younger, so there is no body hair, and some are the older teens so there is plenty. Which brings me to 2) boys and men are hairy everywhere so it's not as noticeable. My dh, when he swims on the master team, wears a Speedo -- but he's got hair all over the place. Pubes would not be noticed. If we women were as hairy as that, I don't think we'd be having this conversation. And yes, for competition many of the older kids do shave their whole bodies -- boys included.

 

That does bring up the topic of why there are double standards as far as appropriate hair for men and women. I agree that it is unfair. I have been a non-shaver for many years. But the fact that it is unfair doesn't negate that the expectation is there for young women not to show pubic hair in public. We can't change the world just like that... all we can do is help our children navigate it.

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