Hairy Legs #growinguptooquickly #pressuretobeperfect

I was watching singing in the rain when my 10 yr old daughter hit me with this bomb shell. ” I hate my hairy legs, can I shave them? “. What?  no,  was my answer straight away. “You are too young” and then I probably said the cliché that every woman has said, “once you start, you have to keep going as they grown back darker!” ( do they? )

This got me thinking. When do girls start shaving your legs? I mean I know that everyone is different, but what’s the average age?  and why ? Google tells me its around the age of 12. I think I was about 12, I am sure I was at senior sch. But why did I start? why did I think that hairy legs were an issue? I asked my daughter if she was being picked on for having hairy legs, she denied it and didn’t think that anyone had noticed, but she just didn’t like it. I asked if she thought it would make her be more grown up, but then I realised this was my daughter, the one who hated the idea of talking to me about how the body would change. Maybe they are really dark but you can hardly notice it on her they are so fine. But she has a worry that it makes her look ugly.

Can you remember the uproar when in 1999 Julia Roberts attended a red carpet event without shaving her armpits. Trolls were out to criticise.  She’s not the only famous glamorous lady who has ” gone bushy ” as the tabloids like to put it. Britney, Madonna and even Beyoncé. Miley Cyrus has also posted pictures on her Twitter account with hairy armpits.  She was also wearing stickers over her nipples in the shape of hearts, so perhaps no one for me to show my 10 yr old daughter as a role model. Comments under these pictures are very mixed, however what surprised me was that a lot of the negative comments were coming from woman. Comments such as “gross,” “unhygienic,” or ” lazy” were scattered through along with stronger language.

What is the fuss all about? Who has decided that hair is ugly? and how has this message got to my 10 yr old daughter?  Almost to answer this question the adverts interrupted my thoughts, and Gillette Venus Snap Women’s Portable Razor came on the screen.  In a pretty pink colour ( ughhhh)

The Gillette Venus ‘Snap with Embrace’ is a portable compact women’s razor which easily fits into your purse, travel or gym bag. With 5 blades and a water activated ribbon of moisture it’s just perfect for a close, smooth shave on the go so you can be ready for anything! Because life happens in an instant – be smooth in a snap.

I read that women in Britain spend more than a £300million a year making sure they have no hair. That must be worth a lot in advertising. But we aren’t that naive are we?  we have our own mind and can do what we want. My daughter hasn’t fallen for any other beauty brainwashing that I am aware of. Adverts for bigger lips, blond hair, straight hair, use of dry shampoo ( the list can go on for ever) all seem to be dismissed. She knows that they are a fad and isn’t that bothered. But hairy legs seems different.  So I asked some girl boarders, when did they start shaving and why?

11, everyone else was so ……….. thought I should as well
11, hairy is just so horrible, getting rid of it makes me feel better
12, they just seemed to be getting darker, I had to get rid of them
11, hairy legs don’t look right with summer dresses do they

Seems I am no closer to finding out why hairy is ugly?  it just is.  Perhaps I need to work on my daughter self esteem and make her believe that she is beautiful and perfect just the way she is. But how can I do this when a, I shave my legs and b, ( like every woman around the world) I don’t think I am beautiful and perfect just the way I am. Seems that this is the start of a big and complicated issue, growing up.

 

 

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Assistant Head ( DSL) at a boarding school. Interested in all PSHE and safeguarding topics.

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