When the New York Post reported that 14-year-old Glynis Coyne has been getting her legs waxed since she was eight years old, I just gasped. Apparently, I am not up on the trend–hair removal for prepubescent girls! Instead of a trip to the candy store, a growing number of moms choose spa visits. The menu includes leg and bikini waxing and eyebrow shaping.
Honestly, did you ever think about body hair at the age of eight? Who is pointing out the hair and telling children this is a problem? It has to be the parents.
And what about potential side effects of inflammation of the hair follicle and irritation of the skin? I cannot wait to hear what dermatologists think of this.
Hair removal for cosmetic purposes is just one more way to sexualize and objectify young girls, making them even more obsessed about their appearance. And with record rates of eating disorders and body image disturbance, the pressure to have and maintain the perfect body is not relieved.
How does a young girl learn to like her body, flaws and all, when her mother is taking her for “treatments” at the ripe old age of 8? This is beauty obsession gone wild! Children are already bombarded with repeated images of what they are supposed to look like and know they will never measure up. Every day, they face a culture obsessed with cloning Barbie. Children do not need their mothers adding to the problem. They need to know they are unconditionally loved.
To be fair, there is probably a mom or two who thinks waxing is an answer to the problem of mean-spirited classmates who tease girls who physically develop early. More girls are reaching puberty at younger ages. But even these well-meaning moms must rethink how they solve the teasing problem. Hair removal for self-esteem is not an answer. Better to have talks about normal development and physical changes. And kids who tease a girl’s physical development should be disciplined and taught respect.
So any parent who is considering hair removal for their tweener, please rethink this decision. Do not play in to the cultural prescriptions for beauty that only lead to anxiety and obsession. Teach your children that true esteem cannot be found in a hair treatment but in the loving treatment of an accepting parent.