Helping girls hate everything about their bodies earlier every year 79


I remember when I was a young girl in high school I hated so many things about myself. I hated my thick glasses that made me look like I was wearing Coke bottles on my face. I hated my hair because, although hairdressers loved its thickness, for me it just made it hard to do anything nice with it because at that age I possessed an ineptitude with anything that could be called styling; as a result, I had bushy hair. I didn’t hate my entire body but I wondered why I couldn’t have a little more cleavage, dammit. I was self-conscious about my teeth because my incisors were more prominent than the rest of them (actually, I’m still self-conscious about that).

In other words, I was a fairly typical teenage girl. Just about the only problem I didn’t have was an eating disorder because I was always thin. But I had all those other things, plus a horrible sense of fashion, an uncertainty about makeup (though that never stopped me from wearing it, which was probably unfortunate, what with all that blue eyeshadow and metallic pink lipstick that was “in” back then), and a burning need – like so many girls that age – to fit in, to cave to peer pressure, to follow all the trends so I could be as “cool” as everyone else.

I know this is one of the things lying ahead of me as the mother of two girls, having two beautiful girls who should have all the self-confidence in the world and who may not, no matter how much we both try to instill it in them. Look at the world around young girls – they see women on TV and in movies who are the size of a toothpick and they talk to magazines about what diet they follow or how many hours they work with a personal trainer. People call Jennifer Love Hewitt, a girl with a very normal and nice body (and awesome rack) fat after seeing her in an unflattering pose in a bikini when she was in a private moment – fat. FAT. If people think she’s fat just because she isn’t a stick figure with a bobble head, what do you suppose young girls think? Every few years, an article is released mentioning that eating disorders are hitting girls younger and younger. It’s disgusting.

And THEN I read this article called Why 10 is too young for your first Brazilian where it mentions that Nair released a special line of hair removal products which is ranged at girls age 10 to 15. Why? Why are girls as young as ten being encouraged to use a chemical to melt the hair off their legs and bikini lines? But that’s not the worst part.

Now an Australian website, girl.com.au has a big feature about Brazilian waxes – and in case you don’t know what that is, it’s when hot wax is used to rip off every inch of hair from a woman’s private region. Every hair. And the site is read by girls in the age nine to 14 range. On top of that, the site promotes the Brazilian with this phrase: “Nobody really likes hair in their private regions and it has a childlike appeal.”

IT HAS A CHILDLIKE APPEAL?

Jesus Christ. Is this what the media is teaching our girls? That no matter how much we tell them they’re beautiful, smart, funny, brilliant, wonderful, perfect, incredible, they’re never going to be anything unless they’re thinner, completely hairless for the sake of appealing to some sort of misogynist world, everything an advertiser says they need to be? Take your nine-year-old, toss her a bottle of Nair, give her a belly shirt and some spike heels, and there you go.

You know what? When I was nine, I was wearing jeans and flannel shirts that were dirty because I was out in the backyard, digging up dirt with my Tonka Trucks. I thought boys were cute but I was too busy riding my bike just a little further than I was really allowed to bother dressing myself up for one. I liked to put on my grandmother’s bright red lipstick, pale face powder, and clip-on sparkly earrings for fun, but then I washed it off so I could run outside to play hide and seek or a rousing game of tag.

I don’t want my daughters to live any differently. I want them to play and laugh and be the goddamn children that they are, not some miniature version of a sexed-up woman as described by magazines, and television shows, and websites that don’t see anything wrong with pushing a Brazilian wax job on pre-pubescent girls. For God’s sake, the article incredulously mentions fashion magazines “for five and six-year-olds that tell them how to look hot and find a boyfriend. There are pole-dancing classes for children.” What?! Since when is this all normal? Since when is childhood no longer a special and precious time that should be enjoyed and is now ignored in favor of little children acting like they’re on the latest “Girls Gone Wild” video?

The end of the article says this:

Encourage them to be children, just for a little while longer. And don’t worry. They’ll have plenty of time to learn to hate themselves when they get older.

And it makes me cry because what type of future are our young girls facing?

I’m angry. Are you angry? Then speak up.

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79 thoughts on “Helping girls hate everything about their bodies earlier every year

  • rebecca

    it’s highly ridiculous that such things are marketed at young girls. for four years i worked in Outside School Hours Care with kids from the age of 4.5 to 13. i was HORRIFIED one day when i had discovered a 10 year old wearing a g-string. you couldn’t miss it through the almost see-through skirt.

    my sisters are 12 and 13 and one of them is starting to be peer pressured and wants to do the wrong things. her 15 year old friend has a ‘sex tape’ from when she was 13.

    this world and it’s parents are seriously misguiding the new generation, and that’s just sad.

  • Heidi

    That’s absolutely *appalling*.

    Makes me glad, a little, that I have a boy and therefore have to think about this sort of thing less, although boys are starting to get targeted for appearance-related marketing more and more too.

    The number of little girls I see wearing scarily inappropriate clothing for their age is startling! Way to brainwash them into thinking appearance is their only true value from the beginning.

    Mind you, it doesn’t stop with little girls. I saw a segment on the news this morning with middle-aged (40+) women talking about how they HAD to have botox, etc. or they wouldn’t have men turning to whistle at them anymore. Uh, hello?! That’s a measure of personal value?!

  • Laura

    That is UNBELIEVABLE. I can’t believe they were even allowed to publish that. “They’ll have plenty of time to learn to hate themselves”????!!!! That’s appalling! For heaven’s sake, I wasn’t even allowed to shave my legs until I was fifteen. And how can they be encouraging children to be children for a little longer, and even MENTION a Brazillian in the same article? They’re hoping to accomplish that by removing evidence of puberty? My God, who can we write to in order to express our outrage?

  • SparklieSunShine

    This is so sick. I can’t believe the things they are trying to push on young girls and trying to make them seem normal.

    I think waxing is strange enough for adults. Childlike? Disgusting!

    It makes me sad and worried for the children I will have one day.

    It’s horrible enough that pedophilia is such a HUGE problem without all of this garbage being fed to children to make them sexual. It seems to feed into it.

    It just makes me so upset and disheartened to hear about stuff like this.

  • Kristyn

    I am at a loss for words this is so disgusting! When my youngest niece turne 3 or 4 I went to Target to get a cute little shorts outfit for her. I had to dig through practically every rack before i could find a pair that would not come up the the bottom of her butt cheeks. Why do 3 & 4 years old have to wear daisy dukes?

  • bigcitymama

    So disgusting. And the wholre brazilian thing….. there is something seriously wrong with the idea that “prepubescent” is the sexual ideal. I don’t envy mothers of girls in this day and age.

  • Rational Jenn

    Holy crap. “Childlike appeal”–that’s the phrase I just can’t stop staring at.

    My daughter is not yet 3 years old and already I feel like I have to figure out strategies so she can enjoy her childhood. Already it’s difficult to find long pants with a regular waistband–they are all low on the waist, as if she’s not wearing a diaper but a thong. And now a Brazilian wax is just 7 or 8 years away for her!

    Wow.

  • Mar

    Thank you so much for sharing. I agree whole heartedly and as the mother of 2 girls I hope to teach them to love who they are and to be confident. No easy task in today’s world.

  • Jae

    That’s absolutely horrific. I have a 6 1/2 year old DD and I am sickened that stuff like that even exists for such young girls! Raising a little girl with healthy self-esteem in this day and age is obviously, hard.

  • Jen B

    Wow… wow…

    I just hope and pray that all this will be a thing of the past by the time my (future) children are old enough to read. Well actually I’d prefer yesterday, but I’ll take asap.

    Do you mind if I link to this post, and quote you?

    wow….

  • andrea from the fishbowl

    Ugh. That’s disgusting.
    But I have a remedy! We have to do everything we can to teach our girls to be strong, self-confident and independent people who like themselves the way they are. And leading by example!

    I think if we can do this they are less likely to cave to a trend… like wearing a g-string under white shorts that has the word BOOTYLICIOUS written across the ass.

    *sigh*

    (great post btw)

  • Suzanne

    Right on! I hope everyone who reads this writes something about the topic as well because the only way we have the tiniest chance of winning this battle is by standing up and loudly saying, “I don’t accept this.”

  • Richard L Walker

    You are preaching to the choir. Let your kids hear you complain about what needs to be complained about. I did it for smoking, drinking, drugs, cliques, people who build themselves up by putting others down, peer pressure … everything … and there was anger, frustration and emotion in my voice. “I can’t believe these articles or these people are suggesting …” They listen. At the very least they will know what you like and what you don’t like. Cover the topics several times before that magic age when they give you that look “You know so little how do you manage to even get out of bed in the morning?” You still have to be consistent, but it doesn’t get easier after that.

  • Shadhe

    I only have one question…. WHY?
    Why in the name of all things holy would someone do that?? Have they no children??
    When i was a kid, i was drawing and writing and getting pushed around by bullies… heck, i’m still a kid, i’m only 18, but this baffles even me…
    It’s a stupid thing to suggest that even a GROWN WOMAN has to remove all hair down there, it’s a freaking personal choice!!!! But a child???
    …. why….
    why can’t we be part of a society that nurtures the future in intelligence, art, wisdom, and the kind of beauty that shines through a million veils… why are we nurturing sluts? Is this evolutions cruel little joke on survival of the species…?
    …why?…

  • mercedes

    Wow. This makes me sick and angry. I felt the same way a couple days ago when I found an article -targeted to women- about brazilian waxing, in which the writer actually used the quote “If you want to sell the house, you have to mow the lawn” (is it possible to get any wronger than that?) as an encouragement for getting the, uhm, procedure done. Now I see this is being marketed to little girls too; I guess it’s like this so they don’t need the extra “encouragement” when they’re older.
    This sucks.

  • Susanne

    This is absolutely atrocious. It is for reasons like these that my mother would never allow my sisters or I to subscribe to magazines like 17, or the such. I’m glad she’s raised the three of us to believe that women are beautiful no matter what, and that we don’t need to aim to look like Hollywood movie stars. We are all comfortable in our bodies. We all take pride in our appearance, but none of us wish to become underweight.
    I can see it happening to younger and younger girls, though. During the summers I work at a day camp, and I’m appalled at the clothing some of these young girls (between 6 and 12) will wear. As well, the ideas they have about bodies! I have to take a step back, and while I try to shift them away from that, there’s nothing I say that makes a lasting impact.
    The focus of the media on making younger and younger girls feel conscious about their bodies, and even uncomfortable in their own skin, is appalling. At 18, I’m still a long way from thinking of having children, but if I ever have girls, I’m going to do everything I can to make them see advertisements aren’t always beautiful. They themselves are beautiful, and all the Brazilian waxes they get and no matter how many meals they starve themselves of won’t change the person they are.

  • hannah

    Wait a moment. If you read carefully, you’ll find that the article “Why 10 is too young for your first Brazilian” is actually just as incensed as we are about the Baby Brazilian issue. See the fifth or sixth paragraph down where she says:
    “There are countless reasons to be angry about this piece of misogyny dressed up as big-sisterly advice.”

    She’s on OUR side. It’s a well-written and expertly-researched piece of writing where she cites many instances of ridiculous behaviour by the fashion and beauty industry.

    And the last line “And don’t worry. They’ll have plenty of time to learn to hate themselves when they get older.” ?

    That’s IRONY.

  • Wendy

    Girls 9-14…. reading about having childlike appeal … great — “Honey stay away from that pervert down the street…. he likes little girls….but don’t let yourself turn into an adult woman complete with body because then you won’t be appealing”

  • Marla

    Followed this over from A Peek Inside the Fishbowl, and am just about to go and read more – but I wanted to chime in and say to those who’ve also noticed that places like Old Navy have pants with only a four inch rise for toddlers, and short shorts for little girls – if you complain at the register, they’ll give you, attached to your receipt, a link to go online and fill out a questionnaire and complain about it. It also has a discount attached , which you can use, as I do to buy my daughter’s pants from the boy’s section.

    Tangentially, I don’t buy Dove’s campaign about little girls being bombarded by images that will help them hate their bodies. After all, they’re owned by Unilever, and : http://caitlinecox.wordpress.com/2007/06/15/oh-the-web-woven-by-unilever/

  • mercedes

    (Sorry if I go sort of off topic now)
    Marla: Dove’s “real beauty” campaign is just publicity. After all, they sell (at least where I live) deodorants that make your armpits look “prettier”. I’m 18 and I have never, EVER met anyone who felt self-conscious about her armpits. What kind of weird issues is Dove trying to create?

  • Pam

    Parents need to step up NOW and challenge other parents to do the same. Stop parenting in a vacuum — seek counsel, find out what other parents are thinking and doing and WHY — stop being so easily frightened and realize that you have more power in your child’s life for good than the world has for evil. Exercise your power in love with wisdom. Might I suggest an excellent read on this topic: “A Return To Modesty” by Wendy Shalit.

  • Cattie

    All right, so I totally looked like you in high school! Bushy hair, glasses, adorable beaver teeth and all, except I was FAT, haha, so there you go – I know how it goes!

    I grew up with terrible self-esteem, but I’ll tell you one thing from experience. No matter what anyone says, I believe that one’s self image and sense of self worth comes more from the parents than from media and society. It might seem like it is not making much of a difference when you tell your daughter she is pretty, but it is. Trust me. It is a psychological fact that the opinions of our parents, whether we like it or not, are strangely and intensely valuable to us, if only subconsciously. If you make it your mission to raise girls who know they are lovely because their mother tells them every day, that will mean more in the long run than a thousand fashion magazines. It gets buried in the heart.

  • Stacy Reed

    I have two daughters, one is 14, the other is soon to be 13. The youngest one has eczema that causes her eyes to look red, chapped and wrinkly, especially in the winter so she is going through a really hard time with her physical appearance this year. What’s really sad is how mean the other girls can be in middle school. It really gets her feeling pretty deflated. It’s painful for me to see, because I remember what it was like to feel like the ugly duckling when I was her age.

    I tell my girls all the time that they are pretty, but you know, when I was their age, I didn’t believe my mom when she said nice things like that about me. Mom’s are supposed to say things like that so it doesn’t count.

    Now that I’m a mom, I know that saying it often certainly doesn’t hurt. And I also know my mom meant it when she said it. I AM beautiful. I hope my kids recognize their true inner-beauty at a much younger age than I did.

  • glassgrrl

    Thank you for writing this. My daughter is 8 years old, about to be 9. She is pretty innocent and i intend to keep her that way. it is horrifying that parents not only allow this but encourage it and even bring it on their child. Children are becoming “prostitots” as a colorful friend calls them and the parents nothing but pimps. pushing makeup, sexy clothes, boyfriends, and so many other things on girls that are still young innocent children. WHY???? it is very frightening to know my child will be going to school with girls who will be into oral sex in 6th grade, multiple partner sex by high school. what the hell is happening to society? parents seem to want to be friends with their children rather than parents. well, it just doesn’t work. nobody likes to be told what to do. certainly i don’t. but for God’s sake, children need a little no in their lives. give them the privilege of being a child for that oh so short time in their lives. before it’s too late.

    thank you for writing this and thank you to whoever gave you a thumbs up so that i found you on stumble.

  • Modern Day Old School Mom

    YES! I agree with glassgrrl: Say “NO” more, and practicing things like boundaries, what is age-appropriate, and what is ‘ladylike’. Slutty, and cheap are just that: slutty and cheap (and completely appropriate in certain adult situations which hopefully don’t include children in any way.)

    “Pretty is as pretty does,” was one of my mother’s mantras. (The other was – still is – “Remember who you are and what you represent.”) I hated that. I still do, but through the years – albeit very conservative and white collar years – I came to learn and see the difference between “good” girls and “bad” girls. I was definately a “good” girl but with “bad” girl longings… and at 44 I still have some of those longings; the difference is that I know how to pay homage to my adult, inner tart and when it’s appropriate (and when it’s not) to let her reign. AND The Tart never compromises the intelligent and female person I am.

    You can’t simultaneously raise your daughters to be externally stimulated and expect them to be internally satisfied. Uh no. They need to FEEL good waaaaaaaay before they can LOOK good and that’s your job: teach them to LOVE themselves as they are. Get dressed up and take them to tea, or make a party and wear your best at home. Let them get head-to-toe filthy dirty in the garage, park or garden. Teach them how to use a pocket knife, ride a bike, climb a tree: none of those things are gender specific: they’re fun, they’re skills and they’re necessary to self-satisfaction way more than keeping up with other girls who believe “pretty and popular” are the keys to success. They’re only partial, if that much.

    Live the example for your daughters: Get dirty, have fun, love yourself from the inside out.

  • suzala

    Here’s the mantras at my house: Sticks and stones will break my bones, and It doesn’t matter what other people think, if you think you look like the bomb, that’s all that counts. Besides, you don’t want to look like everyone else, you are special.

    AT 4.5 years old, my daughter came home from pre-school and told me the click of girls in her class had told her that she was not dressed fashionably. I was so angry. I thought she wouldn’t have to deal with this until at least 4-5th grade.
    For years we have been going over those mantras, and it took a second to wipe away what those girls had said. She looked in the mirror and smiled. My son continues to wear the bright salmon( almost pink) shirt i got him , it is his favorite color, inspite of the fact that the boys on the 2nd grade bus taunted him. Self assurance and self respect is the best gift that you can give your children. If you embody these ideas the rest is easy. Too many parents want their kids to full fill their own social climbing desires, they want their kids to have everything and rarely think about saying no. For many it is the fear of not being cool, themselves. It is all about how things look. That of course extends to what kind of car I drive, where my kids go to camp, why 6 year olds wear the same $120 dollar boots that their moms wear.
    It’s time that everyone took a look at how self indulgent their children have become, how they talk to their parents without so much as a scold. I fear greatly for the future. My only solace is that my kids will know where they belong. sz

  • Lisa

    Great post Sherry. Unfortunately not the first time I’ve come across concepts like that:( Sometimes I’m relieved I only have boys. Love the new look of the blog, by the way.

  • Lynda

    This is the sort of thing you get when censorship ends. There are too many people banging on about rights, without the responsibly it entails, that allows this sort of thing to happen. It’s horrifying.

  • eva

    I agree that the role-models that mothers offer are more influential than opinions in some article or advertorial.

    As long as moms use make-up, wear strings, shave or wax their hairs in whatever location, young girls want to do the same. They like to try out ‘being grown up’. And they will try to copy their mothers as closely as they can. It’s natural.

    So why do women use make-up, wear strings, and remove hairs, if they consider themselves ‘beautiful exactly the way they are’? The message to the daughters is muddled.
    The mother’s behavior clashes with the mother’s words. Psychologists have discovered that behavior is more powerful than words.

    Don’t take offence at the article promoting Brazilian wax; it’s a silly piece; most children, even young children will recognize it as such. You can ask your daughters about it.

    I suggest however to take a look at yourself.
    What does your behavior promote?

  • Kortnee

    Wow. I’m an 18 year old -girl-. Key word there. I’m still a kid. This is ridiculous. I was not self conscious about my looks in middle school, because when I was 16 I was still playing Barbie’s while other girls explained to me what a blow job was and why they were doing it to their boyfriends. When I got to high school and saw girls my age dressing the way that freshmen girls dress, I realized I was different and that maybe I should act that way too. That worked for about 6 months before I realized it just wasn’t me. I recently graduated, and my senior year, it was absolutely atrocious the way the freshmen dressed. I thought it was bad when -I- was a freshman, it became 200 times worse. I haven’t been in college long, but it seems to be a problem young ladies are going to be facing for a while. The pressure put on girls is absolutely ridiculous. I want a guy to like me for who I am, not based solely on my appearance. And I’ve found that if you wait long enough, you’re going to find someone who likes you the way you are. >_> I rambled.

  • Harpy Lady

    There was also a girl at my daughter’s school wearing a thong. What is wrong with people?

    Not to mention that if I go shopping, at say Walmart, I will find padded bras in the section for very young girls . What on earth does a young girl need a padded bra for?

    We need to teach our daughters respect. Respect for themselves and their bodies.

  • Gabriella

    I’m only 16 years old, and I completely agree with this article. I’m a sophmore in high school and I’m always being frowned upon for not wearing the latest fashion or not wearing make-up how they teach in magazines.

    Personally, I think it’s utterly ridiculous how distorted everyones image of “perfection” is. Models and movie stars aren’t perfect, they only look like this because they have the money to “perfect” the flaws they see in themselves and are afraid to let others see them too.

    Girls will be girls, and it’ll take a lot of work to make childhood the way it was when my parents were growing up. What the world is coming to, I’d rather not see.

  • Danielle

    I am 19 and i remember being told in 5th grade that i should shave my legs like all the other girls. Did I? No.

    I still have friends now who criticize the way that i look. Do i care? No.

    We need to teach this to the future generation: no matter what society says, it really doesn’t matter what other people think, and you should be your own person. It makes me sick that there are children out there that think otherwise.

    Oh, and my male friends in high school always had a color of the day: the number of thongs they were able to see sticking out of girls pants that were the same color….even they thought it was repulsive.

  • RegressLess

    As a father of a two-year-old girl, I’m pretty worried. My thoughts are that society will likely impact my children in many undesired ways. So the only thing we can do as parents is prepare them for it the best we can. Talk your kids’ ears off, elaborate without being asked to, and ask questions to make sure they understand. Sure, after a while their eyes will start rolling, but you can rest assured no guilt can be lain on you. My wife and I both find little significance in any beauty that you can buy (a.k.a. pseudo-beauty) and focus on the details of our lives that are of actual significance. It has been made clear that society’s focus on vanity has destroyed our self-confidence. Then we are told depression is a disorder, we are not normal, and we may need medication for the rest of our lives–medication that has caused people to kill themselves and others. Our society is propagating it’s own destruction by making us feel insignificant, ugly, and powerless. I hope that one day we discover the great person that lies dormant within each of us. On that day, will will never again have to fear losing liberties, poisoning the planet and ourselves, segregating, subjugating, and hating ourselves. Everyone is beautiful, but when you focus mostly on the beauty outside you lose a lot of what’s inside. As a former single man, I’ll tell you that I had a less respectful attraction to less conservative women. Let that be a tip to all ladies. If you want to find a man who wants more than sex, don’t dress like a tramp! Most importantly, have an opinion–BE YOU instead of what you read or see on TV. All of that crap is only opinions, none of which are yours. Good luck to all you other parents out there. Never forget the significance of your role and of what parenthood is rather than what it isn’t.

  • Carrie

    Lovely sentiment, commenter! Your concise eloquence has moved me to think about the deeper issues involved with the subject, inspiring me to change the way I think, behave, and and relate toward society as a whole. Thank you, thank you so much for making me (and all who read your words of wisdom!) a better person than I was five minutes ago.

  • TildeSee

    I was disgusted through most of the article, but that last bit left me, quite literally slack-jawed. I stood here, staring at the screen, my jaw hanging loose, wanting to shout to the high heavens, “What the [expletive deleted]?”

    Screw that. My children are going to learn to love themselves, and I’m going to make damn sure of it.

    ~C

  • Madeleine

    First off, great post – though it seems that the irony in the original article may have been missed/ignored. What it comes down to, though, is that the society that we live in can’t be trusted to teach young women to love themselves. I truly believe that it does come from your parents, and I can only back that up with myself as an example.

    My mother always had weight fluctuations, but she was a fairly steady size 12 until she got pregnant with me. She gained about 70 pounds with me, and never really managed to lose it after I was born. My father left her when I was 7 partly because of her weight, which he admitted to me about a year ago (I’m 30 now). Knowing that made me hate the alcoholic bastard just a little bit more.

    Once it was just me and mom, she started trying one crash diet after another. Some worked temporarily, others didn’t; she always gained it all back, and she was morbidly obese when she passed away 12 years ago.

    So how did this affect me? The short answer is this: when I look back at her life, I know that at her thinnest during my lifetime, she was a size 10/12 (a size bigger than what I currently wear). So when I talk about her her at that size, I refer to her as skinny. But me, being a size smaller? I still have a hard time not considering myself fat. You may ask why, and I give you…my father.

    Case in point: I recently lost 25 pounds, and my father’s been telling me how great I look, and how it’s nice to finally see my cheekbones. He tells me it’ll be no problem finding a man now that I’m thinner and prettier (!!), and he tells me I should get cracking so I don’t end up being a geriatric pregnancy like my mom (she was 32). He’s also SO much more affectionate with me now (ie hugs, kisses on the cheek). He NEVER did stuff like that when I was heavier. He makes me sick.

  • Ange

    When I was young during the summers my family took my brother and I out to a cabin for most of the summer, leaving friends and typical city life behind. It scares me to think of how children never get to experience that sort of thing and are being forced to group up and never know how to play! And brazillians for young girls? Why on earth should anyone care what hair is “down there” at least until sexually active.. which in my opinion should not be happening at ages 9-12. (or much much later!!!)

  • dervla

    i’m impressed at the amount of sound strong parents here-this is reassuring! I’ve gotta echo the ideas we all need to guide girls(and boys!)thru ‘experiment and explore’ with this world-lots of very different experiences-climbing trees rather than social climbing-helping out with allsorts of DIY, pets, housework, lotsa play-keep kids physical/accomplishing little ‘big’ new things every week. keeps them outlooking/creative/unafraid and capable. and if as older teens they eventually want to rip their hair off then let it be. by then they’ve a better idea of who they are. you’ve done all you can!

  • Heidi

    This post just made me so sad.
    I found this quote on jennyphillips.com:

    “There is a certain type of beauty that
    is created with liquids, creams, powders,
    hot metal, designer clothes and
    accessories, excessive dieting and
    exercise and computer manipulation.
    We see hundreds of images around
    us everywhere in the world today.
    We should keep our bodies clean and
    beautiful just like the temples around
    the world. But Our thoughts and
    desires can become so focused on
    becoming physically beautiful,
    that we can miss the true purpose
    of this life.
    There is an incredible beauty in a girl
    that cares more about becoming like
    Christ. When that is the focus of a
    girl’s life, you can see it in her eyes,
    and in the way she carries herself.
    Outward beauty can kindle only
    the eye. But a beauty that comes
    from a pure and faithful life can
    hold love eternally.”

  • Alisha

    how disgusting. the pressure that is put on women today is *unbelieveable*. I remember at 15 wanting to cut OFF the fat roll on my stomach. I was about 20 lbs overweight and thought I was the most disgusting thing. All the obsession around food, and now I’ve got a problem. I am over 100lbs overweight. These girls will end up on one side or the other- eating disorders or obesity. This just appalls me that there are two types of women in the eyes of men and the media: anorexic or fat.

  • Jess

    As a former gawky teenager obsessed with fitting in and looking “cool” and now the mother of a toddler boy, it hurts my heart to read blogs like the one above! I hurt for the little girls out there who are desperate to be anything but who they are, and hurt for the boys who grow up in a culture that tells them it’s okay to objectify the opposite sex.

    But I do know that as a parent I do have the power to teach my child differently. Although the media is everywhere, learning is seeded at home.

    Thank you Sherry for the well written blog above!

  • Samantha

    You’ve worded your outrage far better than I can dream of for myself. I’m a 20 year old single college student, but when I look at kids now and think about what I cared about when I was ten only a decade ago I don’t understand how I can coexist with those children now, and I truly fear for the future of my own children. As much as I know that I want kids one day, I may refrain from starting a family out of pure fear for the world my children would grow up in… I would rather they not exist than put them through such a childhood.
    It isn’t a childhood, it’s conditioning and training to hate themselves and never find out who they really are as opposed to who the media and society tells them to be.
    I’m sincerely scared for the future of humanity if this is the path we’re taking our children down.

  • Granola

    My husband asked me not to shave when we were still dating. I’m one of the hairy ones out there, and life is good.

    Children do sometimes play at sex, but dear GOD let them play at it the way kids will. I played doctor, I played with myself, (at three and up) and I was not a sexed up child- The trick is to keep your kids safe from sick adults. What does child-like appeal mean to nine year olds? Hell, what does it mean to older women? What are the men we’re catering to, pedophiles? Dear Lord. Who needs to get waxed there, anyway? Unless your a porn star or your man asks for it, and if he does, he better get one too –

    yegads people. Little girls are not for sex.

  • Crimson Wife

    While I agree that Brazilian waxes are inappropriate for teenagers and completely and utterly so for preteens, can we please stop bashing the choices of *ADULT* women? I’ve never had a Brazilian (way too chicken) but I’ve heard through the grapevine that it can enhance the physical pleasure of intimacy. It isn’t necessarily about looking good for a man so quit judging those who get them…

  • Rebecca P.

    About the Brazilian wax thing, doesn’t it seem pedophilic at all? I mean, hairless? What’s the oldest age a person is still hairless? 13? Why would you want to revert back to that?

    It’s not a censorship issue. It’s a capitalist one. Companies are just trying to sell more stuff. And if they need to sell their morals and sell hair removal products to little girls in order to make money, they’re going to. What else would you expect from them?

    I’m almost 16, and I see the way a lot of girls dress at my school. Bras showing in backless and/or sheer shirts, thongs, high heels, mini-skirts, and their a stark contrast to my thermal-jean-converse-clad make-up-less self. I don’t get it, I don’t understand why they do it. But I guess they do, or think they do. Maybe they want attention, maybe their conditioned, I don’t know, but most of them turn to sex and fashion and other such things. Personally, I’d rather have an interesting opinion or witty/scathing comment, but I guess that’s just me.

  • kaylar

    When I read articles like this, I become so angry…and I wonder
    what happened to all those radical feminists who made me feel
    good about myself. I was a nerd who played on the boy’s team
    because I was that good. Then I learned, at fourteen how uncool I was.

    I went through the ‘diet’ scene..(I weighed like a hundred pounds but I felt I too fat) the makeup scene, and the going
    out to go out with boys I found repulsive and if I had kissed
    them I’d throw up…but hey! I had a DATE! I got to be absolutely artificial with my dyed hair, pasted on eye lashes,
    half pound of makeup on my face, wired bra, with shaved
    underarms and legs, and perfumed, so that I neither looked nor smelled like me.
    But ah, 19 and feminism was in, and I could wash my face,
    put on my jeans and tee shirt, and be ME!

    And I have been me, and then…gave birth to a Barbie Doll.
    That’s right.
    The very pretty girl with no brains?
    That’s my daughter.
    How it looks, not what it is.

    she became, (barf) a model. Fortunately, she was too
    short to get to be a high fashion one, and met a boy,
    and started to stuff her face, so that she’s a nice fat
    married soon to be mother, living one of those lives
    where she can spend hours discussing a french tip to
    her nails.

    And here I am, me.

    So all this pretty Barbie Doll crap…it’s from media, it’s
    from peers..and I’m sure if she were ten now, she’d
    beg me for a body wax.

  • Melissa's Cozy Teacup

    My sister has two nieces. I’ve never seen them dress or act like little girls. It’ so sad. The older one was put on birth control pills at 14 or 15 because her ‘boyfriend’ and she were allowed to have sleep overs and the parents didn’t want anything to happen which of course it did because you’re leaving a huge task (remembering to TAKE the pill) to a child who is at the age where her brain is filled with Skittles. This girl ALWAYS dressed like a tramp, much to her parents dismay which I was always confused about because hey, she’s an unemployed kid, where is she getting her clothes? Think about it.
    Then, comes along her younger sister, about five or so years difference in age. Waring fake nails and make up at ten. I couldn’t get my ears pierced until 12. Neither of these girls were ever told no.
    Why is it that some parents can’t say, ‘no’ to their kids even when the kids life is on the line?
    No, you may not dress like a hooker.
    No, you may not have a boy/girl sleep over.
    No, you may not wear make up.
    No, you may not have a cell phone.
    No, because I said so and because I love you.

  • Melissa's Cozy Teacup

    btw there was a similar blog post I read the other day where a mom was lamenting the fact that when her daughter got to the ‘tween’ age, she took her to that section at the dept. store i n the mall and all there was to choose form was hooker clothes. In the ‘tween’ dept.
    Some guy lit into her accusing her of taking her daughter to a strip club to shop for clothes. So there are many who are clueless as to what mothers are facing in the dept. stores. I used to work at one and there are many hooker type clothes out there. It IS hard to find age appropriate clothing for kids so maybe some letter writing is in order? Stop buying and become more vocal as to why you’re not buying and maybe things will change. They’ll only keep making it if people keep buying it.

  • Lily

    So we have the mums and dads saying, ‘enjoy your childhood, don’t grow up too fast’, and friends and the media (grrr) saying ‘be cool, act grown up’. Any wonder they’re confused.

  • Megz

    *Falls off her seat in shock and horror*

    …At least there’s still American Girl. My little sis reads that magazine, and so did I when I was 10. I took a peek in it the other day, and they are still a wholesome magazine for young girls.

    I hope my sis doesn’t have to deal with all this. It’s awful…But I think she’ll last as a kid a little longer. She takes after me, and even at a month from 21 I’m still a kid. ^_^

    “Child-like appeal…” Someone needs my adult sized foot up their @$$…

  • Angela

    Why is it that we never use the term “rape culture” anymore? Are we afraid we’ll sound like dated feminists?

  • MOTHER OF 3

    I SO AGREE. I HAD SUCH LOW SELF ESTEEM AS A TWEEN AND TEEN, AS WELL AS IN MY EARLY 20’S. I WORK VERY HARD TO KEEP MY GIRLS FROM DEALING WITH THE SAME THING, BUT WITH THE MEDIA AND THE WAY THEY PORTRAY WOMEN I FEEL AS IF I AM FIGHTING A LOOSING BATTLE. EITHER WAY I WILL NOT STOP, ANS NITHER SHOULD ANY OTHER PARENT. WE NEED TO TEACH OUR GIRLS TO BE STRONG CONFIDENT WOMEN.

  • Amy

    Thanks for this. I am shocked at the issues affecting young girls today. It is very scary. I wish that more parents would treat their children (girls and boys alike) as children, and not as friends. We have a responsibility to raise them to become capable, thoughtful, responsible adults … not magazine ads!

  • Samantha

    Has anyone put any thought into the biology behind this? Part of the reason we have pubic hair is for pheromones. Pheromones are chemicals that trigger a natural chemical response in other humans. It is one of the reasons why certain people are attracted to some people and not others. It is also part of the natural, biological, evolutionary reason why fathers and daughters ARE NOT attracted to each other.
    Let’s be reasonable here … I have sons so this isn’t an issue for me, but if I had daughters I would encourage them to shave their legs and if they were going to the beach and wanted to shave their bikini lines to be comfortable I would allow that. But a Brazilian? That is absolutely unnecessary at (any!) this age.

  • Ella

    im only 22 this year and the thing is none of this was happening to girls when i was younger, only in the past 7years its become this bad.. i remember till i was 14 still running around in baggy jeans and tshirt climing trees riding my bike etc having a childhood.. and now i see girls 14 or younger wearing mini shirts heels tight tops or dressed as their going out clubbing wtf!! so i totaly agree with you all this is mad having girls and not close behine boys lose their childhood

  • Dee

    Of course I’m angry but mostly it just makes me sad and scared. I am only 26 years old and can only imagine how the world will change for future generations and my future children. I don’t see a point in ranting or raving about it… it just makes me incredibly aware that I will have to do my very best as a parent not only to spread the message of confidence and self-worth but SHOW it through action and treating myself with love & respect. It’s incredibly sad however, it is the way it is and only WE can keep the truth about what really matters alive.
    xxxdee

  • Jan

    Posting late to the game, but I had to respond. Thank God for homeschooling and turning off the TV!! We can choose NOT to let Hollywood/advertisers dictate what our children see and experience, nor let out-of-control teachers show R-rated films to our little ones. Parental control is the issue. Take it back. Go to parentalrights.org to support the constitutional amendment preserving parental rights.

  • Sarah

    This kind of for lack of a better word stuff really pisses me off. At the age of the girls who are targeted in this article, I was being sexually abused. So I really don’t think it is appropriate to encourage girls to have brazilians at any age, because quite frankly it reminds me of the abuse, and if anyone suggested to my nieces that this is how they should view and treat their bodies and minds, they’d have a fight on their hands. May parents everywhere teach their girls to be strong and help them define a healthy sexuality for themselves.

  • jessica

    i agree…with it all..i’m 22… and i do use the hair removale things…but not till i was about 19. Do people realize how much the world has changed in just …say …3 years or so..

  • Jess

    Guys don’t realize it, but the whole blue-eyed, blonde, thin and free-of-hair ideal that they want is based on subconscious desire for prepubescent girls. Seriously, gentlemen, advance beyond your evolutionary handicaps and learn to appreciate ADULT WOMEN!

  • nvmommyx6

    I praise God we live in the country and have decided to raise our children without that crap!
    I have to say, my (well sprouted) 12 year old daughter and I were shopping a few weeks back and she was looking at a “seventeen” magazine while we were waiting in line, she said “my gosh Mom, look at these girls!”
    I looked and replied with a “ummmmm, uuuhhhhh!!” and she said, “they look like, like….” I said, “sluts?” “YEAH” she said, “and you know whats really wrong Mom, this magazine is supposed to be for girls my age, shame on them!!!”
    OMG, and I said outloud with pride, “THATS MY GIRL!!!”
    This crap they are selling here IS for the boys too….I mean lets face it, by making the 9 year olds out to be sexy, it peer pressures them right into wanting them as much as a grown man would want a grown woman!
    It is bullshit, plain and simple, cut and dry! And we, as their parents should be boycotting such crap from our own children to begin with to make sure they CAN have a childhood!

  • Meredith

    As the mother of a 10 year old girl, my first reaction was horror at the marketing of brazilians and g-strings to young girls. I take comfort in the knowledge that my daughter seems to be very much a young girl at heart, and is still more into make believe than make up. I know that as a parent it is my responsibility to let her enjoy these innocent years for as long as possible.

    However on looking for a nice summer dress for her last week, I too became disheartened. It seems little girls have two choices at the moment – dress like a twenty year old or like a three year old. Finally, I found a pretty dress that my daughter would be happy to wear and I would be happy to see her wear. It cost a fortune. Lucky we are a shorts and t-shirt kind of family, so I only need one good dress for each season or I would go broke.

  • Allison

    My daughter just turned 5 and I can see inklings of a MUCH more mature attitude than I surely would have had at that age. I was a late bloomer too and didn’t even have her until I was 38 so my childhood was much like an earlier poster mentioned with neighbourhood-wide twilight hide and seek games, leaving the house at a dead run just after breakfast with a “We’re Gooooing, Moooom…” as we peeled out the door, and not returning until we heard the airhorn (yes – airhorn…) that signalled that we were to head home for the night at a trot. And we did – right away. Hardly anyone ‘rebelled’ mostly because we were too tired probably. Anyway – I live in fear of all the above…. and more !

    Just ‘stumbled ‘ on this Blog ! Love it !

    Allisons last blog post..Keeping up with the Joneses baby

  • Taja

    My God what is the world coming to. What kind of society do we live in. Children are no longer treated like children but like adults. These magazines and constant stream of images of the so called perfect women are damaging our children. I know first hand the damage caused by unrealistic body images and pressure from my peers to fit this image. I grew up hating myself because I didnt fit the ideal image. I was bulied and belittled by my peers because i was overweight, i didnt wear the right clothes and so forth. It hurt me so much that I developed and eating disorder. Even though I have somewhat recovered I will never really be comfortable in my own skin and i will never have a healthy relationship with food. It destroyed my childhood. It’s time something was done to stop this madness. The media need to take the moral high ground and stop showing pictures of emaciated models and starving teen idols. We need to teach our children that it’s not what’s on the outside that counts but whats inside a person thats important.

  • Aiobhan

    Where are all the men? Where are the fathers, grandfathers, and uncles of these girls? I see predominately women commenting here about what a terrible trend this is, which is obvious and unsurprising, but what do the dads think? What father encourages his 10 year old daughter to want a Brazilian bikini wax or turns a blind eye when his 6 year old asks him how to get a boyfriend?

    Parents can keep their children from following this trend by teaching them (through example, primarily) how to be comfortable as you are. Unfortunately, most people aren’t comfortable. They’re constantly trying to change not to better themselves but to completely remake themselves into someone they believe is more. More beautiful, more successful, more appealing. Whatever.

    This is not the media’s fault. They’re just preying on a societal weakness.

    Aiobhans last blog post..Baked Lemon Pasta A La Pioneer Woman

  • Deborah

    There is this new found “corporate pedophilia” that’s become acceptable in modern culture. Just another instance of society talking out of both sides of its mouth. On one hand the official agenda is to protect children. On the other hand, companies have no problems selling little girls as sex objects, and consumers apparently are more than happy to buy it.

    Personally, this disgusts me. My ex-boyfriend believes that sexual attraction to children is “completely natural.” Lest you wonder why he is my ex. But it would appear that enough people seem to agree with him.

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