Safe space blogging: The hair removal issue

Sometimes parenting teenagers isn’t about the big stuff. Sometimes as parents we don’t know the answers to the small questions either. This week’s Safe space blogging post is from a mum in exactly that position.

My daughter is 13, so I have been parenting a girl for 13 years. I should know a lot about girls. Certainly more than someone who has, for example, a 6 year old daughter. But I have two older boys and it’s always felt like I’m playing catch-up with parenting my daughter. Even though I was a girl myself, the difference seem a bit of a mystery to me. (And there really are differences between boys and girls, whatever some people would like to believe.)

I first noticed my daughter had hair under her armpits last summer. And then it disappeared. I guessed she must have trimmed it with scissors.

Her legs were a little bit hairy, but she had far less hairs than I’d had as a child and her hairs were fair, whereas my own had been black. She never seemed bothered about them and I was quite proud of her for that. Shaving legs is one of life’s great hassles, so if she didn’t need to do it, why should she?

A few weeks ago, I noticed the armpit hairs were back. My husband noticed them too and said I should speak to her about it – in a nice way and just to offer to let her use my razor. As it happened, I’d had the same thoughts myself, but I’d concluded I wouldn’t speak to her because I didn’t want to be pushing society’s norms onto her at such a young age.

I know that women in their late teens and 20s have everything removed – because I’ve seen them on TV, on the internet and in magazines. But I don’t know about younger girls. I’m aware there is a bit of movement for being more natural and maybe not removing as much hair, or any hair at all.

I didn’t want to be the one to tell my daughter that hair on your body is somehow ‘wrong’ or that society will judge you for having it. Body hair is a personal choice – some people remove all of it, some people remove some of it, some people only remove it in summer and some people don’t remove any of it.

But a couple of days later, I didn’t need to think about it any more, because my daughter messaged me to ask if it would be OK if she started shaving her legs and armpits. In a house full of men, she finds texting can be a useful way to ask me about more personal things she doesn’t feel comfortable with them overhearing. Of course I said that was absolutely fine and said that she could borrow my razor.

I thought it was very sweet that she had asked me. I just nicked my dad’s razor when I was about her age and cut my legs. Then lied to my mum about the cuts, even though she knew perfectly well where they had come from. Teenagers do tend to think their parents were born yesterday.

Hair removal for teenage girls is only a small issue, but it’s one of those things you never think of having to deal with when you have a baby. I would be interested to hear in the comments what others’ experiences have been with teenage daughters and hair removal.

Hair removal, The hair removal issue, Razor, Teenagers, Girls, Parenting

I offer my blog as a safe space for parents of 10 to 25 year olds to blog openly, honestly and anonymously about parenting older children and young adults. Find out more about it here. If you would like to share a post, please get in touch at mumofthreeworld@gmail.com 

Safe space blogging, Anonymous blogging, Blogging for parents of teenagers

Author: Sarah Mummy

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8 Comments

  1. I remember my second born daughter coming to me when she was about 11, crying her eyes out. She had come to tell me she had done something bad and I was not to shout at her. She told me she had used my razor to shave her legs as they were to hairy. She was very dark haired so they did show up, she was quite a hairy child all over with hair on her back etc.
    I reassured her this was ok and offered her a razor of her own but she did not want one in case her older sister asked why we needed another one.
    Her body matured quicker than her older sister and she started her periods first, I do remember an argument with the older daughter asking me why her younger sister had got her periods before she did!!!

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    • Oh dear, that’s not the sort of argument you would expect, but siblings really can argue about anything! It’s nice that you offered to buy her a razor at such a young age when she felt that she needed it.

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  2. My teen hated the dark hairs on her legs and when she was 11 I got her an electric Lady Shaver. She used it once and hasn’t bothered since with it. lol She never wears skirts and realises that her hairs don’t show up as much as she thought anyway. She does shave her armpits though, usually with my razor.
    My 11 year old has hairs under her armpits and has said she doesn’t want to shave it she is happy with it and good on her. x

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    • That’s interesting to hear and a really good attitude from both of them! Shaving legs is such a hassle, so I like your eldest’s style. If you don’t show your legs, why would you shave them?

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  3. It’s a difficult one isn’t it? I previously thought I’d just mention it to them as they got older that they could shave their legs if they wanted to. But these days I’m more aware of that message about not having to and that it’s your decision. I’d worry that I’d influence them to feel they should do it if I said anything, so now I think I’ll just wait for them to come to me.
    Nat.x

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    • It is a difficult one and I think that sounds like the right thing to do. I would hate the thought of a child being picked on at school because they hadn’t shaved their legs, but I think it has to be their decision to do it for themselves. I love that Kim’s daughter tried it and decided not to bother again! x

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  4. No-one spoke to me about it and I’m still haunted about being teased during pe. Their words were VERY unkind.

    It’s good that this girl is aware and come forward and spoke to her about it. Personally I would discuss different hair removal ways, about how different people do different things and buy her her own products

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    • I’m so sorry to hear that. Kids can be really nasty sometimes. The only problem I had was a younger male cousin teasing me about my hairy armpits. Needless to say, I nicked my dad’s razor after that!
      I think for young girls shaving is definitely the easiest way to start. They can then decide if they want to try anything else when they’re a bit older.

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