‘My eyelashes catch my sweat’ — How women responded to a photograph of my eleven year old daughter…
Kristie De Garis

Let me preface this by saying that I understand where you’re trying to go with this. And I do agree that peer pressure is awful, particularly when it affects body image. It’s good that you and your daughter have an open dialogue on this and that her attitude to her body is more positive as a result.


I’m a little uncomfortable with this story. Not with the hair, mind you — hair is fine, of course: I have it too, I shave some of it, I let some of it grow, it’s my hair and my business. What I’m uncomfortable with is using an 11-year-old’s body to make a political point, both at home and in public. You say she gave her permission, but you’re her mother and you’re effectively barring her from shaving her body hair (which is something she wants, and would probably do on the sly if you hadn’t forbidden her to do so: how is that different from being forced to shave?) Maybe she felt she couldn’t say no to this? Have you considered the idea that maybe her friends might read this, and she might be teased in school?

I’m fine with personal essays, and if this had been about your own body hair I would have applauded it. I’m a little less convinced that a child should be the focus of her mother’s political discourse.

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