Feminism

Waxing Children – Bannatyne vs Mumsnet

When is an acceptable age to allow your daughter to wax? And would you take her to a salon to have this done?

Tricky question, and one I have been pondering this morning since reading on Twitter that Duncan Bannatyne has taken umbrage at the comments made by Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts, about his spa offering waxing to 13 year old girls.

Linking to the article in the Daily Star, Bannatyne posted

 

I am disgusted to see Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts saying mothers should not have individual choice of how to bring up daughters

 

What Justine actually said was

 

You’d hope there’d be a longer period of grace for girls to be girls and not obsess about being hairless

 

And I agree with her. We should not be encouraging our children to wax their legs at 13 years old. We should not be taking them to salons or spas to get waxes, as if it were as normal as going to the dentist.

 

 

I am not saying that if my daughter were to be unusually hairy, that I would refuse permission for her to remove the hairs, be it waxing or shaving. I am not saying that no child under the age of 16 years should be forbidden to do this. Most teenage girls do not need to remove their body hair. I can only remember one or two girls in our school who were particularly hairy.

There is a difference though, between accepting it as a necessary act if a child is upset about it, and promoting waxing as a service to girls who should not be worrying about a little bit of fluff on their legs.

It bothers me that girls are not allowed to be girls, that they are increasingly shoved towards adulthood. That we as a society are encouraging girls to concentrate on their appearance. That their role models are models and singers whose whole career is built up on looking good. How many unattractive women singers are there in the charts at the moment? And if Britney, Rhianna or Lily Allen are photographed looking anything but perfect, the tabloids tear them apart.

Last year I saw an advert in Geneva for a children’s spa.

I laughed and thought, “Only in Geneva!” Not laughing now. Now we have salons in UK offering similar deals. To children who should not be worrying about their appearance yet.

Our girls have the rest of their lives to be adults, let us let them enjoy being children for a little longer.

 

 

 

**UPDATE**

According to Mumsnet, this was the full quote she gave the Star – obviously they ‘forgot’ to include the bit about pre-teens, not teens:

 

“It’s a great shame – and a growing problem – that pre-teens are wasting time and money or more likely their parents’ hard-earned cash removing their perfectly normal body hair. You’d hope that there would be a longer period of grace for girls to just be girls and not obsess about being hairless.” 

 

7 Comments

  • A Modern Military Mother

    It’s so tricky. I was a hairy girl and started shaving my legs at 13. Hormonal, vulnerable and fancying boys – I would have welcomed waxing over shaving it is better to start early and much more effective.

    As much as I agree with the sentiments the reality is that hirsute is not cool – to address this we need to start with the fashion industry and the women’s media industry that promote Aphrodite culture – it’s cool to be smooth but really it needs to be funky to be furry….bottom line is that men don’t fancy fancy furry ladies and women don’t fancy furry fellas.

    • mmelindor

      It is easier to teach girls to wax than it is to teach them that they don’t have to be hairless to be cool. And to stop bullying. So we are taking the easy way out.

  • angie80uk

    If the child find it necessary to doll themselves up, we should at least convince them that it wasn’t necessary, and that they are naturally beautiful. They should be confident with who they are, not with what the society (especially men!) think they should be. I understand we can’t change the society, but at least let them enjoy their childhood instead of making them face the harsh world so soon.

    Just yesterday I saw a facebook stylish kid competition (which starts from 0 months old baby to 9 years old child). One pic showed a little girl in bikinis, posing like she’s a model. I found that really upsetting and wondered what were her parents thinking!

    Wasn’t there a 9 years old supermodel in France that caused an uproar as well?

    • mmelindor

      Beauty competitions for babies are weird, aren’t they? So far removed from the Bonny Baby comps when I was younger. Most of them seem to be about how many Facebook and Twitter friends the parents have who can be persuaded into voting. I read recently that there are websites where you can pay for votes. Nuts.

      And yes, dolled up children in bikinis is particularly gruesome.

  • Wylye Girl

    My daughter just turned 14. She’s blonde haired, not in the slightest bit hirsute, not interested particularly in boys or fashion but she’s been shaving her legs since she was 12 with no encouragement from anyone. It was her choice. To be honest I think there is far worse things girls could be doing to themselves than a bit of waxing.

  • Little Me

    I started waxing my legs at about 16 on my mum’s suggestion. If a girl’s going to shave anyway she may as well go fora wax.

    However I would NEVER encourage a girl (or woman for that matter) to get (ahem) other body parts waxed – Brazilians etc. I have heard of teenagers getting this done and I think it is really sad.

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