19 Aug
Help, My Daughter is Freakishly Hairy!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My ten-year-old daughter is tall and gorgeous with lovely olive skin and glowing green eyes. She’s also freakishly hairy. There is hair e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. Her armpits, her legs, her fou-fou girly bits. Everywhere. What’s the best way to napalm this hair situation without making her feel self-conscious about it? I also don’t want to have to shave her daily to keep it at bay. But I can’t get an arm wax for my ten year old for goodness sake. Help!

Signed,
The Mother of Sasquatch

________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Mother of Sasquatch,

Hello, long lost relative! I’m so excited to find you! I, too, am tall, gorgeous with lovely olive skin and glowing green eyes. Did I also mention that I have black hair? I do, a LOT of it. Lots and lots of extra thick, curly, black hair.

I’ve been this way since the tender age of ten, just like your daughter. Wait, let me take that back. I was actually born hairy and my mother loves to regale people with the story of my hairy baby back. (That’s okay, when she’s old and decrepit, I’ll enjoy regaling everyone with the stories of playing hide-and-seek with her dentures.)

It was around age 10 that I became self-conscious of my Sasquatch heritage. Fourth grade turdhead boys began teasing me over my hairy arms and legs. It was horrible because I was just coming to an age where I began to care what boys thought, and there they were, making fun of something I couldn’t control.

In a torrent of tears, I begged my mother to allow me to shave, but she was torn. Fourth grade seemed awfully young to begin shaving and she said we couldn’t afford a new weed whacker. I persisted! I really wanted Ricky to be my boyfriend and no one, not even a cute boy with white trash parents, was going to ask a Planet of the Apes reject to be their girlfriend.

My mother relented and I am so glad she did. If your daughter is bothered by her hairiness, I suggest you do the same. And none of this “shave her daily” talk, as if you would do it for her. While I know teenage GPS implantations are just around the helicopter parenting corner, some of us parents have to keep the sanity for the rest of society. Instruct your daughter in the womanly art of shaving and, if she’s as motivated as I was at that age, she’ll be shaving independently in no time.

Signed,
Heather, TMH

27 Responses to “Help, My Daughter is Freakishly Hairy!”

08.19.10#1

Comment by Janine.

It is a little disturbing that you haven’t even mentioned the notion that your daughter seems to be reaching puberty just a little on the early side…maybe this is a medical condition you should discuss with her doctor at her next checkup rather than worrying about whether or not you should get her to the salon for a Brazilian?

Provided she is healthy, I’d suggest this radical notion: get over it. Clearly it bothers YOU but you’ve given us no indication that it bothers HER. Your obsession with her hair is only going to make her freak out about it. How about you wait for her to come to you? If she asks you, THEN you can start to develop a weedwhackin’ regime.

And on an even more radical note let me just share this tidbit: there are grown women out there, who don’t mind looking like grown women. Believe it or not, not everyone feels the need to be as hairless as a prepubescent boy and hang out on the Jersey Shore. There are even healthy, heterosexual men who don’t care how hairy your “armpits, legs and frou frou girly bits” are–they just want to get close enough to enjoy them.

Our culture has begun sexualizing young girls so early, and is so obsessed with the notion of eternal(hairless)youth… maybe you could turn your concern to ways to help your daughter understand what it will mean to be a strong, adult woman. One who has a healthy sense of self-care. The rest of the world will pick her to pieces soon enough; tell her everything that’s “wrong” with how she looks and how she dresses and what she says. You, her mom, will have to be the one who lets her know that she’s beautiful no matter what.

But when she turns 30 and starts growing a beard–then you may want to make her that salon appointment.

Heather Reply:

Hmm, I guess I was born into puberty, since I was hairy from birth.

Marinka, TMH Reply:

There’s nothing that I love more than a judgmental comment filled with hysterical extrapolation.

Brittany Reply:

Yikes, that’s a little bit harsh. Ten doesn’t seem all that young to be hitting puberty. I had plenty of friends starting their periods and growing boobs by about that time, and that was 20 years ago. Maybe YOU could learn to be a little bit nicer.

Bekah Reply:

Wow, I guess I was born into puberty too because my nickname, before I left the nursery wing of the hospital, was The Grape Ape because I was a lovely purple shade and had hairy arms, back and shoulders.

thepsychobabble Reply:

um, yeah, hi. Average age of onset of puberty? 10-ish.
Some reach it as early as 7-8.
So is it likely she should be concerned about it? Not really.
But thanks for the long-winded hysterical judgment!
Kisses,
Jen ThePsychobabble

The Mom Reply:

Well, you’re very rude. She isn’t reaching puberty early. At least not according to her doctor but maybe you have more information from your vast internet knowledge. Also, I’m not interested in doing a Brazilian wax as that sounds painful for both of us.

I’m also not interested in sexualizing her – what a ridiculous thing to say – but I am interested in doing all I can to keep her from being made fun of. To make sure she is confident. To make sure that the, “Jeez! Look at her armpits!” never happens at the pool again. Yes, again.

Does it bother me? When someone makes fun of my child? Yes. Does it bother her? Yes. Is it about her appearance or her self-confidence? Obviously it’s about her appearance. Ha! Got you.

So I was asking, in a lighthearted manner, for some advice about the best way to tackle the issue. Shaving? Waxing? Nair? Real advice.

So don’t be so silly and try to make this some bigger issue.

greg Reply:

Janine,
I am a man and I am the father of a little girl. I found this page by doing a search for attitudes towards daughters’ body hair. While I do not think that 10 is too early to begin puberty, I completely agree with everything else you wrote! I hope you will read this.

The mom who wrote the letter describes her daughter as “freakishly hairy” and insults the poor girl by calling her Sasquatch. This is COMPLETELY appalling to see a mother so degrading and insulting to her own daughter on the Internet! Especially when having body hair is how God made her daughter! There is nothing “freakish” about it, unless the girl has some abnormal hormonal imbalance or something (which I doubt). Any young girl would be devastated if she knew her own mom was saying such cruel things about her!

Yet everyone thinks you are the jerk, attacks you and calls you a “feminist whack job” when the mom is the one with the bad attitude and needs to get over it and stop damaging her daughter’s self-esteem. I can only imagine the shame and guilt she is already giving her daughter by her poor attitude and how it will affect her daughter’s self consciousness and developing sexuality. This is sick! She claims that she is offended when others make fun of her daughter’s underarm hair, yet she makes fun of her own daughter on this website. This is upsetting and offensive.

And yes, I am a guy who actually enjoys a woman with body hair. My wife doesn’t shave her legs, armpits, or bush and she’s completely beautiful. The only reason why women and men have such terrible views of a woman’s body hair and consider it “disgusting” and “unclean” is because of the attitudes like this mom and others who have responded on this page have programmed them into this thinking. They are the ones who are to blame for this revulsion to the natural state of a woman’s body and claim it isn’t “feminine.” They are the ones who damage their daughters, and their daughters grow up to perpetuate it with their own daughters.

Instead of indoctrinating our daughter into shaving, my wife and I will tell our girl that she has a choice in the matter and to build up her self-esteem to stand up against peer pressure and challenge the notions of femininity that our toxic society has placed on our daughters. We would encourage her to not shave if she chooses not to, and to be her moral support.

Nearly a hundred years ago, some brilliant marketers figured out that they could sell razors to women if they could convince women that body hair is unsightly and that they needed to shave their bodies like the prostitutes did at the time. Our notion of a woman’s body has degraded ever since then, and now within the past 20 years (thanks to the Internet pornography explosion), a woman is now ridiculed if she decides to leave her pubic hair alone. Nothing is sacred for a woman’s body anymore. We place expectations on young girls that they must be adult and yet hairless, skinny yet busty… is there any wonder why girls today suffer from such abysmal self-esteems?

The standard of femininity has been pushed closer and closer to that of prostitutes and strippers. Now we have mothers making their daughters getting disgusting Brazilian wax jobs and companies are making thongs and padded bras for pre-adolescents. Even though you took heat for what you made a stand for, I want to let you know that I at least support you and I congratulate you for making the stand.

08.19.10#2

Comment by dusty earth mother.

Let the kid shave, for the love of God. I was also that 10-year old (except not tall or olive-skinned or lovely) and my heinous nickname was “Hairy Shari” because my arm hair was carpet-worthy. Shave! Shave! Shave! (Can I tell I feel passionately about this?)

08.19.10#3

Comment by From Belgium.

I whish my mother had taught me the finner arts of female grooming. Unfortunatly, my mom did not believe in grooming the hairy parts.
Don’t worry, she will either come to you or consult Cosmo. When she asks the ‘can I shave’ question, show her and teach her to wax her eyebrows/upper lip as well, it can be painfull when she has to find out be herself.

08.19.10#4

Comment by Teresa.

10 is not early. I was ten when I got my first period, so was my Mom, my niece, etc.

My best friend was 15 so it can really vary.

08.19.10#5

Comment by Charity.

Yeah, 10 is not early. I was 11 when I got my first period and getting hairy enough to be a little self conscious about it before that.

I’d say if the hair is bothering her then by all means give her some guidance in that area. I wouldn’t push it if she’s not concerned by it, though.

08.19.10#6

Comment by Erin I'm Gonna Kill Him.

As the girl who had to raise her hand alongside ‘Tomboy Tiff’ when asked at 12 years old, ‘Who DOESN’T shave yet?” by the school nurse, I say let the kid shave. I was shamed into doing it that night where it would have felt more natural to have done it earlier like my non-militant lesbian classmates.

PS – I don’t think the first writer was totally off base. Kids are nearing puberty faster and my own pediatrician believes it’s to do with the hormones in food and can be reversed with an organic diet. Something everyone could think about if they can afford to do it. But I’m also not sure body hair and sex have to go hand in hand. If the kid were asking for a brazilian, I’d say “too much Kardashian watching”, but wanting the parts of your body that are always on display to be groomed doesn’t seem sexual to me.

Where are my Sally Hansen strips??

08.19.10#7

Comment by Dre (formerly Sweet_Life).

I had some really, really hairy legs when I was 10. My lovely older sister would even sing “Dude look like a lady” when I walked in the room.

Being 10, I didn’t know what to do other than wear pants in the 110 degree heat. My mom finally suggested that I shave – and she got me an electric razor so that I could learn to do it safely and easily.

I think it saved me from an awful lot of self esteem issues as I developed.

08.19.10#8

Comment by StephanieG.

My daughter is freakishly hairy at six, and I know the time will come that we’ll have to have the shaving talk. Thanks, Dre, for the electric razor suggestion!

Hopefully, Janine, my daughter will not be freakishly judgmental or a feminist whack job like you seem to be.

I’m a proud to be an every-day-leg-shaver and to sport a lovely lasered brazilian. My kid can do the same someday if she wishes, or I’ll help her braid her armpit hair.

Either way, I can assure you I won’t be sexualizing my first grader, and that she will grow up to be a strong, beautiful woman, hairy like her dad, or smooth and lovely like her mom. Whatever choice she makes, I hope she knows it’s ok to choose the other choice, even though it might not be for her.

08.20.10#9

Comment by Louise.

Another option is take her to a salon to get her legs waxed – this is what my mum did for me when I was about your daughters age. Although it’s painful at first you soon get used to it, and it means you don’t have to shave every day and that the hair will grow back finer. 10 years later I only have to shave every couple of weeks!

08.20.10#10

Comment by vodka tonic.

There are plenty of furry 10 year old girls out there. There are even 8 year old girls out there. Capitalize on this market, before Wanda corners it!
http://www.wandaskincare.com/waxing-teens.htm

08.20.10#11

Comment by Elizabeth.

Are kids getting hairier these days? I remember everyone starting to shave when I was 12ish, but when I went home this weekend to visit my teen sister, she said that she’s been doing laser hair removal for a while now (and is not a hairy kid by any means), and has accompanied her friend for Brazilian treatments. What’s next?

08.20.10#12

Comment by April.

Let’s just go ahead and squash the ZOMG GIRLS ARE DEVELOPING TOO EARLY THESE DAYS fear-mongering crap. Girls are not developing earlier these days. Some girls hit puberty at 8 and some not until they are 17. This is the way it has always been. Puberty is not something to fear or try to delay and the more we do the more anxiety we give young girls over the changes in their bodies. It’s a normal, natural process.

Now, to the letter writer. I have a dark-skinned girl that has always been hairy. I have often wondered when she will become self-conscious of it and just how I would deal with it. I’ve always been very body positive with my children and have hopefully taught them that there is nothing wrong with their bodies the way they are, rather thin or chubby, light or dark skinned, naturally light, fine body hair or covered in it. My 2 girls are on different ends of each of those spectrums and they are both very confident, assured little girls. When the one with the hair asks me if she can start shaving, we will have a discussion about it and if it is really important to her, then it’s up to me to teach her and then let her do it on her own as she sees fit. That’s my 2 cents.

One more thing, I see “freakishly hairy” being tossed around a lot here. Suggestion: stop and think about what you are saying/writing before attaching judgmental labels like “freakish” to something that is completely normal for a lot of girls and women that might be listening to/reading your words.

08.20.10#13

Comment by writingmama04.

Well, the comments on this one have provided just as much humor and mirth as the actual Q&A! Super responses. My 4-year-old blondie has 3 pounds of hair – on her back and upper arms. She acknowledges they are fuzzy. We get some great family bantering out of it actually. A family that laughs at each other can provide for a good skin thickening – worthy of fending off any barbs thrown by mean-spiritied adolescents.

08.21.10#14

Comment by Heather.

My 9 year old wants to shave badly, and truly? She doesn’t have any unruly hair, it’s blond though she tries to convince me otherwise. I’m so afraid she’s going to get ahold of a razor and start shaving. I’ve warned her that it’s going to create thick, dark, prickly hairs aka the dreaded stubble. I really wish my mom had been more proactive with me cause at 11 I started shaving on my own and it’s started 25 years of misery.

I’m not sure what women do for their forearm hair, surely not shave? Wouldn’t that cause stubble? It’s bad enough on legs, I can’t imagine stubbly arms.

Here’s what I did to hopefully quell my girl’s urges and maybe it will work for your daughter (and hopefully won’t cause the dreaded stubble)…Smooth Away! I can’t say it works as well as shaving, but it does “erase” the hair quite a bit.

Another idea is Veet. I don’t think depilatories cause the stubbbly type hair regrowth do they? And the squeegee razor device seems like it would work well.

I also like electric razor idea, atleast for legs.

Hopefully your daughter will find something that works and doesn’t add the problem of stubble. (Can you tell I don’t like stubble?)

08.22.10#15

Comment by qk.

I will keep it short and simple. It sounds like your daughter is showing a mild case of hirsutism, that requires some medical investigation.
I suggest you consult an endocrinologist.
You can read a bit more about hirstutism here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirsutism

greg Reply:

Hirsutism is a real thing, but if this woman’s daughter is reaching puberty at the age of 10, having hair on her armpits, legs, and pubic area—the three areas she mentioned—is where ALL girls grow hair. The mother is most likely exaggerating and freaking out in this way, and is certainly transmitting her own insecurities onto her daughter. Go look at the link you provided. If a girl is developing hair on her chest, face, or back, then it’s hirsutism. If it’s just hair where every single girl is meant to have it, you just have an emotionally immature mom who is insulting her own daughter on the Net. If she truly cared about building her daughter’s self-confidence as she says, she would be nurturing her daughter by instilling a love for her own body and to not care what others say, not instilling a sense that her body is not made right and she’s a freak when in fact she is perfectly normal.

The mother could have merely asked for shaving tips without ridiculing her own daughter and thus projecting her own insecurities onto her daughter and making it obvious to the maintainers of this site and everyone who reads this page.

02.12.12#16

Comment by Smith5000123.

It’s just hair people! Everyone gets it, boys and girls.

@Mother of Sasquatch.
You are an aberrant mother. You called your daughter a freak. Wait to build self-esteem. You should be making her feel better about herself, not calling her an abominable freak of nature for going through something that everyone goes through.

Now that I am done bashing on the OP, here’s my two cents.

>If I have a daughter, I will wait for her to come to me about her hair. If she never says anything, I will approach her and discuss the pros and cons of body hair removal. Then, I will let her decide for herself if she wants to remove her hair or not.

>Pros:
>>Hair removal is the social norm. Everyone else does it, and it is easier to “fit in” if you conform.
>>Smooth skin feels nicer than hair to some people.
>>Hair can absorb odor, causing unpleasant smells.
>>If a girl breaks from the norm, they are easy bait for adolescent jerks, causing possible psychological impact, which may lead to depression or other mental issues. Shaving removes the possibility of body hair being a subject of torment, although encouraging your child can prevent this as well.

>Cons:
>>Irritation is very common. When hair begins to grow back, it causes an unpleasant sensation.
>>Hair cushions high-friction areas, and without it the friction is between two areas of skin, causing discomfort.
>>Hair whisks moisture away from the body, preventing it from pooling. Without this feature, pooling can occur, giving a cozy home for microbes to breed.
>>Shaving can cause razor burn and ingrown hairs.
>>Shaving can create entries for microbes to enter the body, making infection a possibility.

Anyway, to everyone who said “SHAVE! SHAVE! MUST SHAVE!” Clean yourselves up you shallow conformists. It is someone’s choice to shave or not to shave. If you ever try to force someone one way or the other, you are being a jerk. The best approach is to tell them the possible pros/cons and let them decide for themselves.

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