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My oldest DD (almost 13) has some slightly noticeable armpit hair. She thus far isn’t interested in shaving but asked about it today because she realized that with summer coming, people may notice / see. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool feminist and I couldn’t care less if she never shaved. BUT we live in the Deep South and I expect there will be comments. How do I advise her? I warned her that people may make comments. What are some come backs?  Is it worth it?  I offered to show her how to shave today but she’s afraid it will make her hair grow darker / thicker (which seems likely). Thoughts? Advice? BTDT?

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I shave in the summer (comfort) and don't in winter. One dd shaves year round, one dd never shaves. It doesn't really matter - she should just do what she feels comfortable with. 

Re comments - gosh, no idea. I've never met anyone rude enough to comment! Would 'none of your business' suffice? 

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I have 3 daughters (teen and young adults.) They've done it all-full shaving, seasonal shaving, no shaving.  No one has ever commented.

I have a hard time imagining caring about the opinion of a person who would make a comment about someone else's body hair.  Who even does that? It's hard to wrap my brain around caring about another person's shaving practices. Are there really people that small minded, petty, and willing to out themselves by commenting out loud on it?

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1 minute ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

I have 3 daughters (teen and young adults.) They've done it all-full shaving, seasonal shaving, no shaving.  No one has ever commented.

I have a hard time imagining caring about the opinion of a person who would make a comment about someone else's body hair.  Who even does that? It's hard to wrap my brain around caring about another person's shaving practices. Are there really people that small minded, petty, and willing to out themselves by commenting out loud on it?

Other 13 year old girls would not be unlikely to do so.  I'm pretty dyed in the wool feminist, but I have advised my kids to shave their armpits if they are swimming because of the social pressure.  

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Just now, Terabith said:

Other 13 year old girls would not be unlikely to do so.  I'm pretty dyed in the wool feminist, but I have advised my kids to shave their armpits if they are swimming because of the social pressure.  

We must come from very different social circles.  When mine were that age there were some who shaved and others who didn't, so it wasn't really something girls commented on.  

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It is a myth that hair grows back thicker or darker after shaving. I've read it can sometimes appear that way because the tip of the hair can become a little frayed, like a snipped thread. That's never been my experience, though, and I'm a dark-haired and fairly hairy person. 🙂

I'd just let her do what she wants. I wouldn't even dignify comments with anything other than, "Wow, really?" or "Hey, that's really not your business. Can you pass the bean dip?" 

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For the record, nothing you do above the skin can change how the hair grows in. It can SEEM darker/thicker because if you don't shave your leg hair, eventually the sun may lighten it a bit, and the end of the hair is tapered a bit. When you shave it, you see the blunt end grow out which looks thicker, and it has no chance to be sun bleached at all to lighten it. 

That said, personally I only shave pits once or twice a week - it isn't like a man shaving their face. It isn't a big time commitment. If she wanted to shave before camp, then not bother again, that would work. 

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Youngest has never shaved. Not even in high school when swimming was required for PE. No one has ever said a word. I would let her do what she wants and would be a bit surprised if someone said anything to her. I did warn mine that someone might but it never happened.

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What I told my DD is, most girls shave eventually.  It is generally the norm.  Some people might make comments or laugh about it if you don't. You definitely don't have to, but be aware that there are kids who might say mean and hurtful comments and you might find that embarrassing.  

 

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I’ve heard recently that body hair norms for girls are changing and a lot more girls aren’t shaving. Though I’m also in the camp where I would share what is most typical, but leave it totally up to dd what she wants to do. My kids have always used electric razors, fwiw, which is pretty foolproof. One doesn’t shave at all now though. 

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How I’ve dealt with it (as a woman who shaves almost entire because of perceived social pressure and hates it) is to say before camp : “Hey, you’re getting to the age where lots of girls shave their legs and armpits and at camp someone might notice and make fun of you don’t. Here’s the equipment, you can use it if you want. If you don’t that’s fine too.”

i mean, sure if someone says something to make fun of you it says more about them than you, but it’s hard for a 13 year old to really feel that deep down, you know. But I do not want to perpetuate the very pressure I resent, so I’ve never encouraged body hair removal, just made supplies available if she wanted. And I never wanted her to be blindsided by the fact that some people might notice and comment.  I was blindsided by a few things like that that I felt my mom could have prepared me better for.

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2 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

My oldest DD (almost 13) has some slightly noticeable armpit hair. She thus far isn’t interested in shaving but asked about it today because she realized that with summer coming, people may notice / see. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool feminist and I couldn’t care less if she never shaved. BUT we live in the Deep South and I expect there will be comments. How do I advise her? I warned her that people may make comments. What are some come backs?  Is it worth it?  I offered to show her how to shave today but she’s afraid it will make her hair grow darker / thicker (which seems likely). Thoughts? Advice? BTDT?

Let her do whatever she wants. If she has asked about it, show her how to do it and let her decide. It's a cultural practice, that's it. Some may choose to do it, some not. IME, most teens & women in the US shave armpits and legs, particularly in the summer months, but again, it's cultural.  I've never connected shaving or not shaving to feminism. Giving her the information/instruction she is asking for and letting her decide is consistent with my understanding of feminism.

Shaving doesn't make your hair grow back darker or thicker, that's a myth.

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Well, if she wants to remove the hair I would recommend an epilator over shaving. Lasts longer and it actually discourages regrowth (not that shaving would make it grow back thicker, of course). 

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Girls and boys have commented on girls’ body and facial hair where I live, and not in a casual or friendly way.

I will never forget the friend of my parents with her bush of armpit hair who was convinced I was staring at it (....I wasn’t, she just happened to lift her arm up while I was looking in her direction) and felt the need to tell me she didn’t shave, as if that wasn’t obvious. It was so weird. 

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10 hours ago, MercyA said:

It is a myth that hair grows back thicker or darker after shaving. I've read it can sometimes appear that way because the tip of the hair can become a little frayed, like a snipped thread. That's never been my experience, though, and I'm a dark-haired and fairly hairy person. 🙂

I'd just let her do what she wants. I wouldn't even dignify comments with anything other than, "Wow, really?" or "Hey, that's really not your business. Can you pass the bean dip?" 

It’s because of your remarks in past thread that I decided to shave my face and it is totally fine. I have no bad outcomes and can even shave for a few months, then get lazy and not, without consequence. 

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I expect how likely or unlikely a young teen is to be mocked or ridiculed for not shaving will vary in the US by how liberal or conservative the dominant culture is. 

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54 minutes ago, Quill said:

I expect how likely or unlikely a young teen is to be mocked or ridiculed for not shaving will vary in the US by how liberal or conservative the dominant culture is. 

That’s not been my experience. We live in one the most conservative places I’ve ever been in at the moment, and for our dc’s high school experience. No one here has ever said a word to youngest for not shaving. The young people here today just don’t seem to think shaving is any kind of an issue anymore. 

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

It’s because of your remarks in past thread that I decided to shave my face and it is totally fine. I have no bad outcomes and can even shave for a few months, then get lazy and not, without consequence. 

Right? That is exactly what I was thinking of.

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10 hours ago, bibiche said:

Well, if she wants to remove the hair I would recommend an epilator over shaving. Lasts longer and it actually discourages regrowth (not that shaving would make it grow back thicker, of course). 

Except an epilator is actually painful.  Most people would rather deal with it more frequently and be painless. Giving a young girl a way to pull the hair out of her armpits by the root seems like torture to me. Yikes. 

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I'm seconding NO EPILATOR unless it's for a teen who is super motivated and willing to deal with pain.  I love my epilator, but NO WAY would I let my girls use one unless they had already been shaving for a while, knew they liked the look, and had spot tested with an epilator to know what they were getting into... 

 

For a girl on the fence, I would actually get a women's electric shaver.  No chance of nicks or ingrowns, no shaving cream, easy to quickly shave without a shower if, in the moment, she decides she'd like to.  Yes, the hair grows back a tiny bit faster than a razor, but that makes it even less of a long-term commitment.  

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48 minutes ago, Sunshine State Sue said:

In Europe, only prostitutes shave.  (My sister once told me this) Are you a prostitute?

Love this.. unfortunately,  not true. Many US customs eventually make it across the pond. 

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3 hours ago, Quill said:

I expect how likely or unlikely a young teen is to be mocked or ridiculed for not shaving will vary in the US by how liberal or conservative the dominant culture is. 

Eh, I don't know about that. 

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It is curious to me that arm pit shaving is a discussion. I am in So Cal. Seems we shave/trim everything around here. Been a long time since I've seen a bush at the gym  on anyone under 50..

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I wouldn't think comments would be the issue, but rather gossip behind her back or subtle exclusion by her peers. Of course, that would also depend on the social and cultural environment around her.

Shaving your armpits is just so easy and fast and requires no products or anything. Which is not to say that one has to do it. I didn't shave mine through much of my teen years and I still go back to not shaving them sometimes. But also, it's not much hassle to do so in that sense it has never felt to me like I was compromising my time to some outside standard of beauty or something.

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27 minutes ago, gstharr said:

It is curious to me that arm pit shaving is a discussion. I am in So Cal. Seems we shave/trim everything around here. Been a long time since I've seen a bush at the gym  on anyone under 50..

See, this bothers me though. As someone that gets rashes if I shave in that area, and how long it can take to shave the nooks and crannies involved, and that it reduces one to more juvenile form....and just not a fan at all of that trend. Neaten things up so you can wear a swim suit without it all hanging out, sure. Create a boundary between leg hair and there hair, sure. Remove all of it at great time and/or expense? How did this become a thing?

I can shave my legs in less than a minute probably. No rash. Arm pit in 10 seconds. No issue. But there? Ugh. 

 

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2 hours ago, ktgrok said:

Except an epilator is actually painful.  Most people would rather deal with it more frequently and be painless. Giving a young girl a way to pull the hair out of her armpits by the root seems like torture to me. Yikes. 

If you raise your arm up so the skin is pulled taut it really isn’t terribly painful. Plus baby smooth skin instead of stubble, no cuts, and once every three weeks or so (for me, at least) rather than every day. I’ll take the momentary discomfort over daily maintenance any day.

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4 minutes ago, bibiche said:

If you raise your arm up so the skin is pulled taut it really isn’t terribly painful. Plus baby smooth skin instead of stubble, no cuts, and once every three weeks or so (for me, at least) rather than every day. I’ll take the momentary discomfort over daily maintenance any day.

I think our ideas of painful are different, lol. But I also end up snotty nosed and tears running down my face from eybrow waxing. I can't stand to pluck. 

I also don't shave my pits daily...once or twice a week. And I've never cut my arm pit (yes on my legs a few times). 

Edited by ktgrok
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1 hour ago, bibiche said:

If you raise your arm up so the skin is pulled taut it really isn’t terribly painful. Plus baby smooth skin instead of stubble, no cuts, and once every three weeks or so (for me, at least) rather than every day. I’ll take the momentary discomfort over daily maintenance any day.

Yeah... that's going to vary by person.... wildly.  I'm with @ktgrok.  I DO epilate my pits every 2 weeks and have for over 2 years, I love the result, but it hurts like a badword each and every time.  My legs have adapted much better, pain wise.  

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I just told mine that if she wanted to shave, here and how and what. If she doesn't want to shave, that's fine, too. Her body, her call. 

Youngest prefers to NOT shave (she's 13) and she totally has the body hair for it. But whatever, up to her. 

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Well, here's my next unpopular post of the day.  😆   I think everyone should shave their pits.  Hell, even men should do it.  I do *not* agree with anyone making an ugly comment to someone because they choose not to...    But I admit, I will have to suppress a shudder.     I look at armpit hair and I swear I can smell it. 😆   
 

 

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1 hour ago, WildflowerMom said:

Well, here's my next unpopular post of the day.  😆   I think everyone should shave their pits.  Hell, even men should do it.  I do *not* agree with anyone making an ugly comment to someone because they choose not to...    But I admit, I will have to suppress a shudder.     I look at armpit hair and I swear I can smell it. 😆   
 

 

LOL, I don't mind pit hair, but if you on't shave, I wish people would use something other than solid deodorant. The clumps of white deodorant in the pit hair do skeeve me out. My ex did that. Ick. 

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29 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

LOL, I don't mind pit hair, but if you on't shave, I wish people would use something other than solid deodorant. The clumps of white deodorant in the pit hair do skeeve me out. My ex did that. Ick. 

I hadn't even thought about that!    I've never noticed deodorant clumps in dh's pit hair, but he's not a very hairy guy, body hair wise, and his hair is lighter, so maybe that's why?  

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Just now, WildflowerMom said:

I hadn't even thought about that!    I've never noticed deodorant clumps in dh's pit hair, but he's not a very hairy guy, body hair wise, and his hair is lighter, so maybe that's why?  

maybe my ex was just gross? I've never noticed it in DH's pit hair, and he's hairier....might be the brand/type of deodorant?

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2 hours ago, WildflowerMom said:

Well, here's my next unpopular post of the day.  😆   I think everyone should shave their pits.  Hell, even men should do it.  I do *not* agree with anyone making an ugly comment to someone because they choose not to...    But I admit, I will have to suppress a shudder.     I look at armpit hair and I swear I can smell it. 😆   
 

 

With you 100%.

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