Bikini Waxing for Girls Ages 11-14. Over-Sexualizing? What’s Your Opinion? I’ll Tell You Mine!

Beach bikini wax no worries unwanted hair, counseling teens on pubertyI heard last week on the news that some women were in an uproar about an ad offering a discount to girls ages 11 to 14 for a bikini wax. These women felt they were sexualizing girls at a young age.

As you know, I am a marriage and family therapist and I am also the mother of a seventeen-year-old female. I actually think it’s wonderful that they have improved procedures so that we can safely remove unwanted hair. In our day we spent hours in our bathrooms secretly ridding our bodies of unacceptable hair.

On the news report they interviewed a 14-year-old asking her why she had a bikini wax. She said that she was going to camp for the summer and would be swimming every day. She said that the bikini wax gave her confidence so that she could enjoy and focus on her swimming. To me, that seemed like a very rational and sensible statement. We want her to have that confidence so she can focus on more important things. Presently, it is not uncommon for girls to start menstruating at age 11. Therefore, puberty is forcing us to look at these issues at a younger age.

the business that offered a discount for a bikini wax, upper lip wax, stubborn hair underarm lazering and unibrow waxing etc. commented that unwanted hair can be very shaming and embarrassing for young women. Teasing and bullying is common for girls with unwanted hair. Don’t our kids have enough to deal with? Do they really need to experience the negative emotions about unwanted hair?? Please. Certainly if we lived in a culture that was more accepting of hair we would not have to deal with these kinds of beauty issues; but we don’t.

When I asked my daughter if she thought bikini waxing was sexualizing young women she responded, that is ridiculous. It’s more important that the girl going to camp feels confident that she doesn’t have to worry about unwanted hair when she’s in her swimsuit. That’s my smart girl!

Hearing women in an uproar over the waxing of young girls irked me and seemed ridiculous. Sometimes we get carried away with the over-sexualizing of young girls/women. However, there are many areas where this is true. I just don’t feel that this is one of them.

I’m curious, what’s your opinion on young girls between the ages of 11 and 14 having a bikini wax or other unwanted hair removal procedure? Leave a  comment…

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About Ilissa Banhazl

Ilissa Banhazl is a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist, former grade school teacher and holds a masters degree in reading. She has a private practice in Glendora, CA and lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and three children. She specializes in adult, adolescent, individual, couple, and family relationship counseling as well as eating disorder treatment and recovery. She facilitates a Women’s Support Group in Glendora as well as a Women’s Disordered Eating & Body Image Group. Ilissa authors 3 therapy blogs, Marriage and Family, Eating Disorders and Group Therapy. You can follow her at FB and Twitter. http://www.ilissabanhazlmft.com or http://www.eatingdisordersgroup.com
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5 Responses to Bikini Waxing for Girls Ages 11-14. Over-Sexualizing? What’s Your Opinion? I’ll Tell You Mine!

  1. Roxy says:

    I started body hair removal at age 12. Some 16 years ago.
    I have extremely dark hair, and extremely pale skin (think Adams Family). It is therefore extremely noticeable. I was bullied horribly for it in school, especially when we went swimming! So much so I even started doing my arms.
    My mother, told me how inappropriate it was to remove hair from “that region” and grounded me for it, but everybody else my age had already started doing it. It wasn’t for sexual purposes, it was just for PE and swimming purposes. I had no idea, at that age, what was deemed “sexual”.
    So If places start waxing for younger girls then why is that a problem? They are probably already doing it themselves anyway.
    I also have a daughter, she’s only 7, but if she comes to me when she’s older and says she wants body hair removal, I’d gladly chaperone her, and explain to her the best ways to do it. I’d never scold her for such or say it’s inappropriate. It’s not like anyone is going to know anyway. No one broadcasts such information.
    I understand the over sexualisation fear, I flat out refuse to buy certain products for my daughter because I think she should enjoy being a child, and not a mini-adult. But in my opinion hair removal isn’t a sexual issue at all.

    • Thank you so much for your intelligent comments. I’m sorry your mom responded that way. Perhaps she was uncomfortable with her own sexuality and didn’t know what to do?? I’m curious if it left any lasting effects on you as a woman, if you are comfortable sharing. I can see that your daughter will benefit from your experience. Good for you! Isn’t it great when moms can turn it around like that and break the negative chain of behavior. Your girl is lucky!

      Thanks for sharing and for your opinion. Ilissa Banhazl, MFT

      • Roxy says:

        I think the bullying left more lasting effects on me, than the way my mother reacted. I still absolutely hate body hair, and still even do my arms!
        I’ve never been a “sexual” person though, I have been single for five years but still keep up with what I call “body maintenance”. Hence I know that some people definitely do not do it for sexual purposes. Perhaps some women do, and that’s why they reacted so badly to the advertisement.
        I guess having anything pointed out to you as being “wrong” when you’re a teenager can inadvertently affect you for the rest of your life. I always had self confidence issues anyway, I am currently in recovery from an eating disorder.
        I will back anything, within reason (I’m against procedures like botox, sunbeds, and cosmetic surgery for adolescents that isn’t for reconstructive purposes), that helps give teenagers that extra bit of confidence that they need during such a difficult time.
        I think it can be easy to forget how difficult it can be to go through puberty, especially for girls.

  2. Thanks again for your thoughtful response!

  3. It really is about culture and even here in America. My gf in college told me that where she lived growing up, (on the beach in CA), it was perfectly normal for girls to have hair sticking out of their swim trunks. It is hard for me to relate though because you can tuck it in. I generally just shave along the lines of where my suit will end up (you can even put your swimsuit on and then shave). Waxing if you are on a swim team, I hear is normal because it makes you faster. It is also cleaner. Waxing because you come from a culture that gives you hair with no end in sight, okay. Blonde and you barely see the hair, I don’t think so. One girl does it, they all have to do it. We have to set limits for our girls and talk to them about respecting their bodies. We need to talk to boys about this too. Don’t forget they get made fun of for things in the swimming pool too.

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