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#91 of 116 Old 08-07-2008, 10:54 AM
 
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I guess I am the only one that hopes my dd doesn't want to shave. I mean really it's such an asinine practice yet I am conditioned and don't think my legs look good unshaved (even so I rarely shave). We do talk about how women shaving is just societal and hair is natural ect.

That said my dd can shave when she wants too. She's 11 and so far shows no interest.

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#92 of 116 Old 08-07-2008, 10:58 AM
 
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It's her body--I don't shave at all, but if my kid wanted to, I'd have no problem with it.
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#93 of 116 Old 08-07-2008, 11:19 AM
 
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I don't get the "don't let them grow up too fast" thinking. If they have leg or underarm hair, and they don't like it, and they are able to safely shave it off, why not let them? Just b/c WE are not ready for them to grow up does not mean they won't grow up. I wouldn't want my dd to be uncomfortable or endure people picking on her due to my hang-ups about her getting older. I will get her a razer and show her how to use it. Puberty happens. Its part of life. Just b/c we don't want it to start yet does not make it wait for us to be ready. If they grow breasts, and want a Bra, I don't care if they are 8 or 18, I will get them a bra. Even with no breasts at 8, if they want a bra, they will get a bra. I am here to guide them through the different life phases and help them through it, not to try and keep them little kids forever.

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.
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#94 of 116 Old 08-07-2008, 11:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by monkeys4mama View Post

I've been wondering if I should suggest to dd that she may shave her legs if she wishes and offer to show her how. I was just waiting for her to ask, but now that she's going to the 7th grade, I'm thinking maybe those girls are all shaving already and perhaps she hasn't thought about this. She has been shaving under her arms for over a year (just has a small amount of hair) but she's not very consistent about that. I notice that she often goes weeks between. Doesn't bother me any, so I never said anything to her. But I'm thinking perhaps I ought to since middle-schoolers might notice that and react negatively. I don't want to press additional body-image concerns on her if she doesn't have them now. But otoh, I'd hate to have her go off to school and be the victim of some rude comment or someone's attitude. It might really ding her self-esteem.

Opinions?
I would just throw it out there to her that if she wants to shave her legs, you are willing to show her. Let her know that it is completely up to her and to just let you know whenever she feels she is ready. She may be ready now, or she may not be ready at all. She could start 7th grade and notice everyone shaves prompting her to want to do it. Just leave it up to her, but let her know you are ready to show her when she is. That is what we have always said to DSD (10yo), and she asked this past year.

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#95 of 116 Old 08-07-2008, 11:29 AM
 
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I would just throw it out there to her that if she wants to shave her legs, you are willing to show her. Let her know that it is completely up to her and to just let you know whenever she feels she is ready. She may be ready now, or she may not be ready at all. She could start 7th grade and notice everyone shaves prompting her to want to do it. Just leave it up to her, but let her know you are ready to show her when she is. That is what we have always said to DSD (10yo), and she asked this past year.
I'd also encourage you to support her if she chooses NOT to shave. That was the biggest struggle for me, dealing with my mom's whatever once I quit shaving. It was NOT FUN. :
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#96 of 116 Old 08-07-2008, 11:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LavenderMae View Post
I guess I am the only one that hopes my dd doesn't want to shave. I mean really it's such an asinine practice yet I am conditioned and don't think my legs look good unshaved (even so I rarely shave). We do talk about how women shaving is just societal and hair is natural ect.

That said my dd can shave when she wants too. She's 11 and so far shows no interest.
Do not get me wrong, my dd is only 4mo, but I feel very much as you do. When it is I wrote, it was more to the main post.
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#97 of 116 Old 08-07-2008, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I did let her. She was very proud. I showed her how to do it for her first couple of times and now she feels comfortable on her own. She was never hairy and wasn't picked on, but she's been very interested in her body. She's been brushing her hair more without prompting and has been spending a LOT of time picking out her clothes. She also puts on lip gloss. I'm not going to make an issue out of it. We remind her that she doesn't need these things to be beautiful. I think she's just experimenting and getting to know her body. I'm trying not to let it bother me.
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#98 of 116 Old 08-07-2008, 12:21 PM
 
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i started shaving when i was 12 bc my older cousin was 15 and shaved and i thought she was the coolest... i also did it bc we are italian/greek and have very dark hair and it embarassed me alot bc all my friends didn't.

i used ivory soap.....lathered up really well and shaved.

i went through periods in college when i didn't and still go through periods...

but i always use ivory soap. it works for me.


i would talk with her and find out why. and maybe let her. she may decide it's a big ol pain in the buttkas and not want to do it for awhile.
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#99 of 116 Old 08-07-2008, 12:54 PM
 
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I would wait, or just tell her noncahalantly that some of the other girls may be shaving their legs, since they might have more or darker hair already, and offer to show her how if she wants to learn. But I would tread carefully here - I remember my mother "suggesting" that I should shave because I was so hairy. I was not at all self-conscious; I knew I had hairy legs and armpits, but I was pretty comfortable with that. Once my mother suggested that maybe I should embarassed, I did start shaving, but I hated it, and I hated the implicit suggestion that I was "imperfect" or even "ugly" with body hair, and I hated the fact that I was more "developed" than some of my peers. This is an interesting thread - my dd is on the hairy side, too, and I hope she might be spared some of my discomfort about it!
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#100 of 116 Old 08-07-2008, 03:59 PM
 
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Could folk who homeschool chime in as to whether this is less of an issue? I've noticed that the homeschooled girls I know tend not to shave until later and seem pretty accepting of each other. I grew up in a more traditional school and definitely remember the social pressure to shave (I stopped shaving in college and haven't looked back).

It makes me sad that social pressure is a big impetus for girls shaving. The idea of "If she's getting teased for being hairy, then she needs to shave" doesn't strike me as that different from "If she's getting teased for not having designer clothes, then she needs to have them."

I don't know how we'll handle this with our daughter (she's only two, so we have time). My guess is that we'll let her shave when she wants to, but that we'll also make it clear that she doesn't HAVE to shave. I have horrible memories of being forced to pluck my eyebrows when I was a teen--I figure if I was able to navigate my social world with a unibrow, then I should have been permitted to do so!


We homeschool and DD is 10 and does not shave. Last year she asked ( I think I posted a question here ) and I asked her why she wanted to. She was just curious as to what age she can shave I told her that I would like for her to wait until she has her moon but if she felt that it was uncomfortable, we can talk about our options. Haven't heard a word yet.
Many of the girls in our homeschool groups do not shave yet. It seems that the teens do but actually, none of the 8-11 year range do. (I've been looking )
For what its worth, I do not shave my arm pits but do shave my legs.
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#101 of 116 Old 08-07-2008, 08:00 PM
 
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I'd also encourage you to support her if she chooses NOT to shave. That was the biggest struggle for me, dealing with my mom's whatever once I quit shaving. It was NOT FUN. :
Ikwym. I went for several years w/o shaving and it was really difficult dealing with the negative comments from my mother and the feeling of anxiety when I sensed that people were offended by it. I was living in a pretty progressive community at the time, so it wasn't so totally "out there" when I was around town. But if I travelled home to visit family or went other places, I felt most uncomfortable.

In retrospect, I think it was a good experience to work through those feelings. I gave up makeup and high-maintenance hair and the pursuit of trendy fashion around the same time and it was really liberating to be rid of all those things. But at the same time, it was a struggle to achieve a level of comfort with my different-ness.

Eventually I did resume shaving, since that was one thing that I was never able to be totally comfortable and confident in. I met my dh while I was hairy and he liked me just fine. But I never entirely shook the feeling of self-consciousness when I was in certain environments. So I chose to shave again and felt fine with it. I don't put a huge amount of effort into it, so I'm not finding it a big deal. I continued to go makeup-free and let my hair grow long and free. I am happy with this. Lately I've started playing with makeup again, some of the time, and find that it can be pleasing to get made up a bit too. It's only an occasional thing though. I think that's where I feel comfortable with it. I've reached a stage where it really has become about personal choice and feelings, not so much about how I am worried others will react. Except for the legs. I really never got there 100%. But it still was a good choice for awhile.

Rambling...

I think others are right. I'll just mention that if she wants to shave her legs I'd show her how and leave it at that.
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#102 of 116 Old 08-08-2008, 10:55 AM
 
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CompostMom got a bit of a reaction there... for me it was this part--
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She was already shaving her under arms at my suggestions-we didn't wait for Dad on this one whoops.
... I'm surprised you let hubby have that much to say about it. Sounds like the kind of thing that a pubescent girl should decide with her mother. Any gender-specific hygiene issue should probably be handled by the same-sex parent, IMO.
I remember my father trying to get involved in this stuff, wanting to take me bra shopping, etc. I ran as fast as I could in the opposite direction!

Smashlie, why were you "dreading" this? Let her try it, and don't sweat the small stuff. It's not like she wants to get her nose pierced or dye her hair green! Probably, it's just a summer thing for now.
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#103 of 116 Old 08-08-2008, 02:30 PM
 
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It's her body--I don't shave at all, but if my kid wanted to, I'd have no problem with it.
:
I do shave, but if dd never wants to, that's cool with me. I'm really not that invested in my children's body hair, yk?

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I'd also encourage you to support her if she chooses NOT to shave. That was the biggest struggle for me, dealing with my mom's whatever once I quit shaving. It was NOT FUN. :
That's nasty. I don't know that it applies to anyone on this thread, but I've met a lot of people - usually the moms, for some reason - who are way too hung up on what their kids look like.

DD (and ds1 and ds2, for that matter) can have short hair, long hair, lots of body hair, no body hair...whatever. It's not my body, and it's not my business.


ETA: I just realized I posted in this thread already - exactly one month ago. I said pretty much the same thing, too.

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#104 of 116 Old 08-08-2008, 02:57 PM
 
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That's nasty. I don't know that it applies to anyone on this thread, but I've met a lot of people - usually the moms, for some reason - who are way too hung up on what their kids look like.
Yeah, I think it was less that and more that my mom knew on some level that I was a Big Lesbian and that freaked her right out, but it manifested itself in lectures about me needing to "learn the differences between men and women--and women SHAVE."
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#105 of 116 Old 08-08-2008, 03:11 PM
 
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That's nasty. I don't know that it applies to anyone on this thread, but I've met a lot of people - usually the moms, for some reason - who are way too hung up on what their kids look like.
It's interesting that you say that. I think my mom was way too hung up on what everyone looked like, and still is.

Now that you mentioned it, I'm going to try to be mindful of it when dealing with my dsd, because I think it's one of the most damaging things we can do to our daughters, making them paranoid about their looks.

From what my dh tells me, his late wife was obsessive about her looks, and dsd is a bit obsessive about hers, already, so I don't want to contribute to that in any way. I'm already hearing comments like get the fat free one at the grocery store when I pick up cream cheese for bagels. (Which is fine if I hear it from a grown up, but why should a 10 year old even give a damn about how much fat is in their cream cheese unless they're already worried about getting fat? Trust me, this one is not health obsessed.)

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#106 of 116 Old 08-08-2008, 03:26 PM
 
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It's interesting that you say that. I think my mom was way too hung up on what everyone looked like, and still is.

I know the kind of thing you mean. My grandmother was like that, but not my mom...although I do see small hints peek through on occasion. I think it's hard to be raised with that, and not have any hints. Mom came pretty close, though.

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Now that you mentioned it, I'm going to try to be mindful of it when dealing with my dsd, because I think it's one of the most damaging things we can do to our daughters, making them paranoid about their looks.
Yeah - it's definitely unhealthy. I also don't want my boys thinking looks are all that counts, be it their own or a potential date/mate. That doesn't tend to go down very well.

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From what my dh tells me, his late wife was obsessive about her looks, and dsd is a bit obsessive about hers, already, so I don't want to contribute to that in any way. I'm already hearing comments like get the fat free one at the grocery store when I pick up cream cheese for bagels. (Which is fine if I hear it from a grown up, but why should a 10 year old even give a damn about how much fat is in their cream cheese unless they're already worried about getting fat? Trust me, this one is not health obsessed.)
That would worry me, too. DD (5) is always asking me about whether foods have sugar, but that's because I've been trying to talk to her about what sugar does to the body. So far, she doesn't seem to be worried about being fat...

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#107 of 116 Old 08-08-2008, 05:12 PM
 
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I know the kind of thing you mean. My grandmother was like that, but not my mom...although I do see small hints peek through on occasion. I think it's hard to be raised with that, and not have any hints. Mom came pretty close, though.


Yeah - it's definitely unhealthy. I also don't want my boys thinking looks are all that counts, be it their own or a potential date/mate. That doesn't tend to go down very well.


That would worry me, too. DD (5) is always asking me about whether foods have sugar, but that's because I've been trying to talk to her about what sugar does to the body. So far, she doesn't seem to be worried about being fat...
We already have noticed that she decides who is a 'good person' based on looks, which really chaps my ass. She has an attachment disorder and one of the symptoms she exhibits is poor judgment. It terrifies me the way she will glom onto a total stranger sometimes and go on and on about how nice they were.

I have also seen my ds act like a total sh*t and be cut slack by giggling little girls and I know it's because they think he's cute. : He's gotten in trouble when dh or I have witnessed some of this behavior because we've been flabbergasted at just how obnoxious he was.

People are goofy. I can remember a kid in one of my high school classes commenting to another guy about his girlfriend's behavior once, and he ended his summation with she's not that beautiful. If a 16 year old can figure that one out, I think as parents we ought to be able to find a way to get the point across to our children, yk?

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#108 of 116 Old 08-09-2008, 04:01 PM
 
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well I think the issue is that for men body hair is natural and shaving your face is a choice of style, for women it is either be pretty and conform by shaving all your body hair (which is now starting to include pubic hair) or be an ugly dyke. Somehow our natural body hair is unnatural now and there is a cultural repulsion attached to womens hair. ....it is the lack of acceptance in our culture of a variety of female images as acceptable that I am getting at.
Yes, I think you summed up the problem. For men, it's like no one cares at all if they shave, don't shave, or anything in between. They have the choice to do whatever they want with every hair on their body and head. Can you imagine a boy coming home from school crying because he was teased all day and called names because he had hair on his legs???? But that's what I'm seeing in so very many posts here, either the posters themselves or their daughters being made to feel like crap by their peers because they have sprouted body hair. So it does add another layer of thought to the decision. For women, shaving or not is not simply a question of taste and style as it is for boys. For girls, it becomes a question of are you going to fit in or are you going to make yourself the center of negative attention? For that age, I think it has little to do with looking sexy for a man. It's more about fitting in. Now granted, shaving may have become the cultural norm because women feel a need to look sexy for men, but now that shaving is entrenched as the cultural norm most girls don't even think of it as for pleasing a man. Really, women can be the fiercest guards of enforcing those cultural norms. It is just so very, very sad. Not that this observation really helps the OP with her question, though! Well, as to that I would let her shave, certainly. But I'd keep up a dialogue on reasons women shave questioning the status quo.

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#109 of 116 Old 08-09-2008, 07:32 PM
 
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I think if she wants to you should let her. It's her body. Leg/armpit shaving's certainly not permanent. If she decides it's too much of a hassle to be hairless (like I do periodically) she stops. My DD is like me, sometimes she shaves sometimes she doesn't. It's just not a huge deal to us.
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#110 of 116 Old 08-09-2008, 08:46 PM
 
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I'm not quite there yet but I plan on letting my girls shave when they are self-conscious about it and ask to shave. dd1 is particularly hairy, so I figure it'll come sooner with her!
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#111 of 116 Old 08-09-2008, 09:09 PM
 
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I didn't start shaving, legs or armpits, 'til I was 18 and on my last year of college... People looked at me funny but I didn't want the hassle. My mom told me when I was a kid to not ever start shaving because then you have to keep it up... Lol, I guess I took it to heart. Though I still don't keep it up, I go for a month or two, especially in the winter, my poor husband! Thankfully I am redheaded and it's not too noticeable.
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#112 of 116 Old 08-10-2008, 11:08 AM
 
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I have also seen my ds act like a total sh*t and be cut slack by giggling little girls and I know it's because they think he's cute.
Reminds me of what I say to DD sometimes, "You're so cute when you talk like that" (delivered with a loving smile and in a condescending manner). I said that the first time she copped a little teenage attitude. Boy it took the wind right out of her sails! Much better than a lecture or "Don't use that tone of voice with me..." type response. She just turned 13, so it really IS cute.
If your son is naturally cute and no one takes him seriously, it might be more upsetting to him than a stern reaction. Not sure if that's what you meant, though.
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#113 of 116 Old 08-10-2008, 02:57 PM
 
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No. What I meant is, cute people get cut way too much slack when they act like turds.

But I like your response.

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#114 of 116 Old 08-11-2008, 06:36 AM
 
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FWIW, there is some pressure now on boys to remove their body hair. Teen girls like for guys to have smooth chests and backs, and I can tell you as someone who has a husband who gets his back waxed that the phenomenon is widespread.

My 14-year-old son has pretty hairy legs, and his twin sister has commented on them before. I laughed and asked her if he should shave them, just being silly, and she said that many of the teen boys in her school did shave their legs! Pursuing that, I learned that not only do a lot of teen boys shave their legs, but many of them trim their hair if they're not going to shave.

Just food for thought.
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#115 of 116 Old 08-11-2008, 08:39 AM
 
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FWIW, there is some pressure now on boys to remove their body hair. Teen girls like for guys to have smooth chests and backs, and I can tell you as someone who has a husband who gets his back waxed that the phenomenon is widespread.

My 14-year-old son has pretty hairy legs, and his twin sister has commented on them before. I laughed and asked her if he should shave them, just being silly, and she said that many of the teen boys in her school did shave their legs! Pursuing that, I learned that not only do a lot of teen boys shave their legs, but many of them trim their hair if they're not going to shave.

Just food for thought.
I had no idea there was now pressure on guys to be hairless, too. Come to thing of it.... While at the beach this summer I didn't see many youngish (less than 40 or so) men with hairy chests.
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#116 of 116 Old 08-12-2008, 03:19 PM
 
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WHEN

SHE

WANTS

TO

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.
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