Thanks for responding, I would disagree and say, this isn’t a political point but it’s a story of…
Kristie De Garis
61

I find it nearly comical that someone would treat a discussion about whether a mother should forbid her 11 year old child from acting on a decision that’s based on peer pressure as if it were a political point. It’s societal, sure, but it’s sure as hell not political.

We make exactly these kinds of decisions for our young children every day, especially through the ages of 10–16 when peer pressure can make them do things which are simply batshit to an adult. The dieting analogy is just one option. What if her friends were pressuring her to get a tattoo? A piercing? Have sex? After all, she’ll do it eventually, whether you give her permission or not, right? When my son was a pre-teen he and his friends would agree to swap things like a plastic toy for his PS2, and I had to explain to him, repeatedly, that he was not allowed to trade or sell anything I’d bought him without my expressed permission.

The only reason anyone is trying to behave as if your edict is out of line, is because women removing hair has become such an understood part of our culture, that it’s treated as a foregone conclusion. I’ll bet more than a few comments included a note to the effect of “you’re fighting a losing battle.” So because society has become so accustomed to telling us the “natural” thing for women to do is remove body hair, you are obligated to let your daughter make a decision she’s clearly not ready to make?

Removing your body hair is not natural, nor is it unnatural. I’ll bet men and women before recorded time discovered there were safe ways to scrape hair off of their bodies or faces, and some did so at their leisure. Some felt more comfortable, some didn’t. What’s “natural” for each of us is something we must decide for ourselves. And if your child is not yet in a mindset where they really are deciding for themselves, and they are acting on what they think others expect them to do, your obligation is to say “No.”

And for the record, I also had noticeable armpit hair at 11, and I was scared to death to take a razor to it for several months after it became noticable. From the first time someone at school saw it, I was bullied about it mercilessly. I was in a new school district, where there were a lot of stuck-up well-off kids who liked to pick on poorer kids (like me), and I had no real friends. So this bullying went on for years after I finally gave up and shaved my armpits, and it was pretty damaging. But I wish like hell now that I hadn’t shaved. I’m sure it simply never occurred to my mother to demand action for the bullying instead of encouraging me to shave — I’m only 41 but it was still a very different time. I wish it had occurred to her, I wish I’d learned then to stand up for myself against that kind of pressure. It might have literally changed my life; at the least it might’ve stopped me from some of the bad decisions I made in my teens-twenties.

No one can insulate their child from bullying, but you’re going to teach her a lot more about how to stand up for herself against it, and how to be her own person against pressure to conform, by never accepting “because everyone else is doing it” as a valid reason to do anything. That is LITERALLY Parenting 101.

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