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Feminism: Sex and gender discussions

So if you're daughter/son started waxing ..

29 replies

lastnerve · 05/07/2012 09:39

and wearing lacy underwear (not men although maybe)

What would you say to them? would you say anything?

this is a thread bout' a thread :/ hides but I'm interested.

My mother did say to me as an 11 year old when I started she was surprised, she did say "don't you think its weird men find it sexy for women to look like children?' every now and again.
She warned me off cheap creams and used the safety angle, For various reasons she didn't really have the time and had bigger problems (grew up in a very f*d , dysfunctional family, disability etc) well I always got that sense.

I think I probably just rolled my eyes I can't remember,
Did you ever do this?: what did your mother say well I'm saying mother , did fathers ever talk about leg shaving etc.

I'm just interested on how you would approach that conversation without mortifying them.

OP posts:
KRITIQ · 05/07/2012 09:56

I think I'd start the build up to the conversation as soon as they were able to talk, encouraging them to not take media and popular culture messages at face value, to see themselves as people of value in their own right, not because of their appearance, to build up the ability to discern for themselves and not necessarily just follow the herd.

I'd also think about my own actions and how even the youngest children observe and absorb more than we usually recognise. There's emerging evidence that daughters of women who talk about themselves being overweight, seem preoccupied by food and diets, starting to develop poor body image and obsession with their own weight as young as 6. Similarly, if they see their mums shaving and waxing or referring to their own bodies or parts thereof as disgusting, dirty or otherwise undesirable, they are likely to model their own attitudes about their bodies and themselves on this.

If you wait until the child is a teenager, or even 10 to broach the subject, it's going to be bloody hard to make a difference. They'll already be heavily influenced by the media, popular culture and their peers, and will be at the stage of thinking stuff their parents say is "uncool." Negative feelings about their bodies and their identity will probably already be fairly ingrained and much harder to counter.

EclecticShock · 05/07/2012 12:41

Agree with the modelling behaviour, however I think peer pressure is more of an issue with regards to having a different outlook than your friends, than culture being ingrained past a certain age. If you model critical thinking, this skill can be applied at any age in theory and help someone to overcome ingrained behaviours, IMO. At certain ages, children have enormous inclination to belong to a peer group.

EclecticShock · 05/07/2012 12:42

That was badly written, no sure it made much sense.

AMumInScotland · 05/07/2012 12:57

I'm not sure I'm following - are you talking about shaving/waxing legs, or about Brazilians? And are you talking about 11yo's, or teens?

If an 11yo was getting a Brazilian, I'd be very worried. If a teenager was shaving her legs, I'd view it as a personal choice.

Of course we should talk about body image, conforming, stereotypes, etc with children long before teens - I've only got a son, so the issues about bodies and media representation are different and probably a lot less insidious, but I've always tried to talk about being happy with himself as a person and not being pushed into things either by media images or peers.

lastnerve · 05/07/2012 16:35

shaving downstairs fully, 11 + really.

OP posts:
EclecticShock · 05/07/2012 17:09

Fully? Surely that's not appropriate until 16? Isn't a tidy up enough ? Do girls really do that now at 11? I'm obviously a bit out of touch Confused. Only have a boy.

AMumInScotland · 05/07/2012 17:14

I'd be really quite worried about an 11yo who decided to do that - how many of them have enough pubic hair to feel the need anyway? And who do they think is going to see it? Fair enough to neaten up for swimming if that's an issue.

I don't think I can contemplate it as a "feminism" issue without seeing it as a child protection issue first - what influences has an 11yo been seeing/hearing about to think that's what she should do?

madwomanintheattic · 05/07/2012 17:31

What made you think it was necessary at 11, op?

My 12yo has decided that for aesthetic reasons she will shave her armpits three times a year before dance shows/ competitions. The rest of the time she doesn't, despite understanding that culturally, this is the expectation. I am sure we will discuss it again due to peer pressure etc.

I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that you aren't a troll, tbh, but mostly folk who pop on here to ask about children and shaving and sex get shown the door.

At 11, if it was my child (note, child) I would be heavily discussing her motivations, as it is not in any way appropriate, nor necessary. I would be extremely concerned. Almost as concerned as I am about adult posters who pop on to ask about brazilians for an 11yo.

WidowWadman · 05/07/2012 18:48

I'd leave them to it - it's their body and since shaving or waxing causes no permanent damage it's really up to them whether they want to do it or not.

lastnerve · 05/07/2012 19:01

Fully? Surely that's not appropriate until 16? Isn't a tidy up enough ? Do girls really do that now at 11? I'm obviously a bit out of touch confused. Only have a boy.

God no most people are doing it waay before 16, (I did my gsce's in 2006) just to give an idea I'm not that much removed from 'this generation' . Yes 11 is young but I started my periods at 9/10, boobs developed at 8. by the time I was 14 I was a D so its all relative.

Why would I be a troll?? I shave all off at 11 due to very heavy periods and was told by older peers to just shave it all off. as it was the 'done' thing.

OP posts:
lastnerve · 05/07/2012 19:04

I have never waxed just to clarify, Its from the depilation thread I commented on there.

So the sexualisation of children comes up on practically every thread , but shaving is a no-no?

I had been told by older girl peers to just shave it all off, so I suppose that is negative peer pressure.

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lastnerve · 05/07/2012 19:06

I said 11 + as I was 11 but really any teen age, its unusual to come from my generation to hear such a backlash against it surely that's not hard to understand? Confused

sigh I was hoping for a genuine conversation I got some interesting /good answers on the other thread I should have known I wishing for too much on here, thanks to the people who didn't assume I wasn't a troll.

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EclecticShock · 05/07/2012 20:22

When I was a teenager in the 90's, we only tied up bikini line for swimming. I did shave legs and arm pits though. I guess it's more of a fashion statement now and pressure from peers than actually doing it for sexual reasons? Have to say, I am surprised...but I guess Hollywood and brazillians are all over the media now, they weren't that popular when I was at school and I certainly don't remember them being in media much...even Cosmo.

MsCellophane · 05/07/2012 21:11

Many really young boys and girls shave due to embarassment of going through puberty. Nothing to do with sexulisation. I would say around 14-16, it's more to do with what they think they should be doing and what everyone else is doing.

As the mother of 3 young women and one young man (18-23) so far the younger two girls just tend armpits and legs but not all the time. The older one removes everything all the time and my son shaves underarms and pubic area

The oldest one says she does it as once a month, she prefers it to be gone and if you leave it a few days, it itches but not if you do it daily

They have grown up with me being natural, so I haven't influenced her

What's very interesting, is the amount of men and young boys who are shaving. My sons friends all shave their armpits now, not sure where that comes from and all men I've been with in the last few years (and there have been a fair amount) all shave their pubic area. I haven't seen a hairy single man for a very long time

Opentooffers · 05/07/2012 21:21

Seems a lot young to me. I think the backlash the op is getting on here is due to the fact that the point of Brazillians is to make it nicer for the man when giving oral pleasure, so it does seem odd to do at 11 ?? As you said lastnerve, you acted on advice of older girls, I doubt that girls of your own age in your generation would of suggested it. They may have been having a laugh at you doing it behind your back? Just because you did it so young, does not mean every girl of your generation was doing it at that age, and I doubt they were. You asked about it though, so here is just another opinion that you probably won't agree with.

EclecticShock · 05/07/2012 21:23

I think it's media and peer pressure.

Opentooffers · 05/07/2012 21:26

Yep, most men seem to these days, they will do anything if it makes their nob look bigger - who are they kidding lol !!

lastnerve · 05/07/2012 22:24

They all did it , at least I remember being laughed at for having hair, I didn't even know what oral sex was at 11 Shock it more fashion.

Of course not every girl did it, nor do they now.

but I was not going to be the girl get changed in P.E caught with a pubic hair Shock [faints]

If we had ever had underarm hair we would have been slaughtered too.

was underarm hair allowed back then? it almost seems unthinkable not to shave it.

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EclecticShock · 05/07/2012 22:31

What all the way back in the 90's :), not as far as I can remember. It's interesting though that it's a pressure put upon women by other women and media. Or do you think it has anything to do with what boys expected? I wasn't in my case, didn't have sex till 17... Just did it to fit in and because my mum did I suppose.

lastnerve · 05/07/2012 22:55

No I'm not a 90's teen I got mixed I mean the noughties.

most of my mates didnt untill 16.17.18 , I find the assumption bald eagle = having sex strange.

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EclecticShock · 05/07/2012 22:58

I guess I make the assumption that being bald is related to sexual satisfaction based on my own and my generations experience... Seems different now... More a fashion, peer pressure thing as discussed.

WilsonFrickett · 05/07/2012 23:42

I shaved for about a year when I first had pubic hair because I was scared and embarrassed about it. We shouldn't always suppose a young girl shaving is about sexualisation and / or peer pressure.


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LurkingAndLearningForNow · 06/07/2012 04:21

When I was 13 I started waxing my legs due to 'suddenly noticing.'

At 18 I started (TMI) waxing the majority of nethers due to persistent infections.

I wear 'slutty' undies because they make me feel confident. Lame, I know.

lastnerve · 06/07/2012 10:49

Its only 'slutty' when the world can see those undies and trousers don't cover your bum,

I think why did you bother wearing trousers, surely women haven't collectively lost the ability to use a belt?. or GASP Leggings and thongs #notenougheyebleach.

I know what you mean though you feel like secretly glamorous.

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maybenow · 06/07/2012 22:22

i am blonde and not very hairy... when i was a teen i didn't understand what a 'bikini line' was beause my hair did not peek out of my swimsuit and wouldn't have unless i wore a seriously skimpy string thong (which i wouldn't have, was more a speedo girl Grin)
i veet my legs and underarms about once a week and that's plenty.
i started by stealing my mum's immac at about age 13ish... but that was always just for underarms as they were visible and never occured to me to do my pubic area..

i honestly have NO IDEA how i will approach this with any DD of mine, but given i haven't got any DDs yet it will be at least 2024 (or maybe never) before i have to deal with it and the way things are going everybody will be laser-hair-removed over every inch of their body by then...

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