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Thread: When to let your teen shave their bikini line? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
09-15-2012 10:32 AM
CassidyTx I know this post is months old but wanted to address something...

As mothers isn't our duty to (lovingly & gently) inform our children when there's a possibility of ridicule? Others have mentioned how cruel kids can be and middle school especially. This hasn't stopped since our school days; if anything it's gotten worse! Personally I believe if we can help to limit the embarrassment and humiliation our children will possibly suffer, we should do everything in our power.

Seriously, leave all the "perv" comments and "OMG I would be mortified if my mother.." stuff out of it. If you have a healthy relationship and your child feels comfortable with open dialogue, then YES, ABSOLUTELY you should be able to talk about pubic hair. No one is saying shaving is right or wrong. What I got out of this thread (after I ignored the soap box divas) was that it's a personal choice and should be approached as such. Bringing up visible pubic hair is in no way being judgemental. As long as its brought up in a healthy way and it's coming from a loving place, why wouldn't you want to say "hey babe, ya know the other day when we were at the pool I noticed a little hair around your bikini line. Wanna talk about some options so other people don't notice it next time?" Then you can go through the list of a different style of suit, shaving, waxing, whatever.
07-26-2012 03:40 PM
MadameXCupcake

I know this is a bit old and has probably already been handled but an idea I didnt see mentioned..

Why not have her older sister just mention it to her? Sisters talk about all sorts of things and even though there is an age gape it'd probably be easier coming from your eldest.

06-02-2012 04:03 PM
*bejeweled*
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaRhi View Post

I think I would be mortified if my mom posted my name, age and shaving status on a public website, quite honestly.


yeahthat.gif What's the point of sharing all the names?
04-15-2012 12:28 AM
MamaRhi

I think I would be mortified if my mom posted my name, age and shaving status on a public website, quite honestly.

 

But to address the topic: My mom was very giggly and made jokes about shaving issues. She is blond, pale and nearly hairless while I am dark skinned and very hairy like my dad. I'm not sure my mom knew how to address it completely. But I knew where the razors were and when I wanted info, I asked. My daughter asked for her own razor entirely on her own. Sometimes I don't shave and sometimes I shave a lot. She knows there are options because she's paying attention to me and the women around her. I give her tips when I she asks or when I notice she might need help with something. I am betting that if you have 3 girls, they are talking to each other about this stuff too.

04-07-2012 06:54 PM
brookie514

I would have been mortified (and quite frankly a little pi$$ed) if my mom hadn't bothered to tell me.  Esp. if someone told me in a not nice way first!

03-30-2012 02:51 PM
pattimomma

I love this thread, it's hilarious! My oldest daughter is 14 and she has been professionally waxing her bikini line since she was 12. She had been dragged along to my appointments for years and I told her to let me know if she ever wanted to get a bikini wax. She also gets her underarms, eyebrows, toes basically whatever she thinks is hairy waxed. We wax instead of shave because of razor burn. My girls are all aware that people handle their body hair in different ways as I have a lot of natural hair everywhere lady friends and we know quite a few boys from the swim team get a whole body shave. The easiest way to go is just "let me know if / when you want to try shaving, waxing so I can buy you the supplies/ make you the appointment". But I would tell my daughter if she had some hair showing, but I also know that she and her friends made up code words to let each other know at the pool if hair was showing.

 

Just my two cents :)

03-29-2012 07:41 AM
laohaire

Quote:
Originally Posted by grethel View Post


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.

 


I'm not the one you quoted but I have similar feelings.

 

I think that wearing things for which you "have" to shave (by social conventions) is crossing the socially-defined modesty border. I mean, our culture says you should not be able to see other people's public hair. And yet we have defined a standard woman's bathing suit as something for which you "have" to shave in order to meet that modesty requirement. So it seems inherently immodest by our culture's standards. I have found it incredibly frustrating and feel like the standardized woman's bathing suit is oppressive in its way.

 

My mother pointed out the problem I had with my pubes when I was a teen, and yes, I was mortified. But the issue wasn't that I thought she was a perv (good lord, I never even thought about it that way) but rather I felt very criticized. Here I was doing absolutely nothing wrong, wearing a bathing suit that society deemed normal, and somehow having to intuit that I'm supposed to shave my pubes, which turned out to be difficult and painful (bumps anyone?), and shamed because I didn't. Thanks a lot, mom and society.

 

My hair doesn't extend down my thighs. It just barely peeks out. I have very poor eyesight now and it's hard to remember what normal people see, but I don't ever remember looking at anyone's crotch close enough to see the small amount of hair that I was exposing. So, yeah, I resent it. I have a pair of boy shorts now and just put those on over a standard suit.

 

I know not everybody sees it the way I do, and clearly my own mother did not, but just keep it in mind because your daughter may. Be gentle. Offer boy shorts as an option, not just shavers and trimmers. And for the love of god please don't be critical about it. I know noone here would mean to but just be careful - I seriously doubt my mom meant to be critical either.

03-29-2012 06:56 AM
purslaine

I would not mention it.

 

I am pretty sure most teens know whether or not their pubic hair extends beyond their bathing suit - and know where the razors are.

 

Quite frankly - what people choose to shave is not my business.

 

 

03-26-2012 05:18 PM
greenmama

I have both a traditional women's racing suit and a the shorts to a plain black women's "boy short" bikini and if I haven't shaved recently enough for my own modesty I will wear the longer bottom under my racing suit.  If you do that, each time she is going out she can make the choice rather than needing to make shaving a part of her regular hygiene routine.  In the summer my dd likes to have two suits anyway so if one didn't get hung up the evening before she still has something dry to put on in the morning.  I also considered shaving like menstrual supplies and just had them in the house and told her she was welcome to use them and if she ever wanted a type of supply different from what I keep in the bathroom she need only ask.

03-26-2012 03:31 PM
journeymom

Quote:

Originally Posted by karne View Post

 

But sometimes I preface what I'm saying in a humorous way, such as "I'm going to ask a completely embarrassing question now"....and either we laugh and go on from there, or I get shut down, but at least it's out there.  Sometimes I get shut down, but dd brings the issue back up later, and it's easier because it's now on her terms, but I needed to start the conversation, YK?

 



Yes and yes.  I experience this with both my daughter and my son, actually.

03-26-2012 02:55 PM
karne

Quote:
Originally Posted by grethel View Post

 

 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.)

 

 


This. Exactly.  This is far, far, from the most embarrassing, or most important conversation a mom will have with their teen daughter.  Just because it's difficult, or you aren't sure about the boundary, or your child looks like they will be mortified, is not a reason not to have conversations.  I do not have this down at all, but what I'm learning is that, at this age, it's better to talk, bring things up, open the door to discussions of the big and little things.  My child lets me know pretty quickly what's off limits, and I respect that, or try to at least.  But sometimes I preface what I'm saying in a humerous way, such as "I'm going to ask a completely embarrassing question now"....and either we laugh and go on from there, or I get shut down, but at least it's out there.  Sometimes I get shut down, but dd brings the issue back up later, and it's easier because it's now on her terms, but I needed to start the conversation, YK?

 

03-26-2012 12:49 PM
journeymom

Wanted to add that when my kids were on swim teams most of the boys and guys wore swim shorts that look like bicycle shorts, that extend almost to the knee. 

03-26-2012 11:01 AM
Youngfrankenstein

I agree, grethel.  My oldest is a 12-year-old boy and he is certainly quite "manly" in areas unseen by the public.  I rarely see him starkers but he doesn't mind walking through the hallway after a shower.  I once said "Wow, you're growing up" or something dumb like that and it wasn't a big deal nor did we have a discussion about it.  It doesn't make me a pervert to notice my child is going through puberty.  I wonder how many of you would handle locker-room type situations?  My dh and ds go swimming at the local health club and they change in the locker room with the other guys.  What's the big deal?  It doesn't mean he isn't modest.

 

My mom and I didn't have a very talkative relationship when I was a teen but I would have been fine with her telling me about pubic hair sticking out if she could give me some choices about how to deal with it.

03-26-2012 10:58 AM
grethel

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.

03-26-2012 10:49 AM
grethel

Quote:
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.

 

03-26-2012 10:16 AM
grethel

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post

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.

 

 

 

03-26-2012 09:42 AM
journeymom

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.

03-26-2012 06:37 AM
JamieCatheryn

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.

03-26-2012 06:36 AM
Emmeline II
Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post

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.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by grethel View Post

 

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.

 

nod.gif

03-26-2012 06:21 AM
karne

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eavesdrop View Post

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.

03-25-2012 11:26 PM
Eavesdrop

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

03-25-2012 10:26 AM
Adaline'sMama
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

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.
03-25-2012 09:48 AM
Super~Single~Mama
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

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.
03-25-2012 09:03 AM
karne

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

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.

 

03-25-2012 12:32 AM
Imakcerka

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!

03-24-2012 11:36 PM
katelove 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.
03-24-2012 08:21 PM
Imakcerka

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:
Originally Posted by superspatula View Post

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?



 

03-24-2012 07:48 PM
superspatula

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?

03-24-2012 07:32 PM
Eavesdrop

Quote:
Originally Posted by littlest birds View Post

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

 

 

03-23-2012 09:55 PM
littlest birds

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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