I will not tell my daughters when to shave their legs

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images 

When I was about 14-years-old I was hanging out with a group of new friends.

We were having a fun time when one of them noticed my hairy legs. You see, they were competitive swimmers and they didn't have any hair on their body, aside from their chlorinated hair on their head.

I remember feeling so embarrassed. I know other girls shaved their legs and underarms, but I was a pretty late bloomer and things like that weren't important to me.

As they giggled at my hairs I decided right then and there that as soon as I got home I'd get the razor out and shave my legs. I also decided pretty soon after that moment, that perhaps they wouldn't be my new friends after all.

The whole experience was mortifying for me and it's something I've never forgotten. It was awful to feel different from the 'cool kids' and I felt pressurised to change something about myself that, prior to their taunts, didn't worry me.

I decided when I had kids I'd make sure they'd never have a similar experience. I was going to gently encourage them to consider hair removal at the appropriate age and help them through the tricky time period. I didn't want them to go through what I did – I didn't want them to be publicly shamed by their peers.

However, since I've actually had kids I've changed my mind entirely.

Obviously, I don't want them to be teased or made to feel uncomfortable, but it's also not my place to make them think they need to change their body for me, or anyone else. It's entirely up to them.

When, and if, they decide their body hair is annoying or unsettling for them and they come to me for help, I'll point them in the right direction. I'll show them how to use a razor or take them to a beauty salon to get their hair removed. And if they decide to take matters into their own hands or decide to never de-hair then that's also their decision.

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It's really none of my business and I refuse to start them on the body shaming roller coaster. Young women have enough going on without worrying about their physical appearance.

Luckily, this generation of girls are a different breed to when I was younger. They're more self assured, less judgmental and most of the time they couldn't care less about what's expected of them. It's cooler to embrace their differences, be quirky and stand out from the crowd. It's a badge of honour to question social norms.

They're also a lot more confident about their bodies. They're more focused on other things and it's not my place to barge in and tell them differently.

I wish I was more like them, because they're a cool bunch of independent, and free thinking young women who care about much bigger issues. And that's an awesome way to be. So, when it comes to something as meaningless as hair removal, I'll leave them to it.