Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A hairy concern

Mr Accident will be home soon...*cue mad scramble into the shower and the application of numerous blades and creams to mimic neck down alopecia*

But during the extensive hours it took to render me hairless, I got to thinking. What message am I sending to my daughters by primping for their Daddy? And specifically, my scorched-earth hair removal policy?

By letting them see me prune, am I saying that in order to be considered beautiful (or even socially acceptable) they need to change their appearance and forcibly remove something that grows naturally and unavoidably from their sweet, chubby little bodies? Or worse, that they need to be hairless to keep a man happy (and by extension, that he would somehow be justified finding a "better" model if they don't keep up the maintenance)?

And what if I don't let them watch? Then am I encouraging the idea that everyone is effortlessly hairless except them? That they are somehow abnormal, even compared to their mum?

Should I stop altogether, and submit poor Mr Accident's delicate sensibilities to a whiskery onslaught?

Scary thoughts.

But there has to be a balance. I don't want my girls to be socially outcast for choosing to keep their hair, but I don't want them to feel pressured to remove it, or consider themselves less than perfect if they don't. But in our looks obsessed culture, where society feeds on a steady diet of hairless, airbrushed models and we hold each other and ourselves to generally unattainable physical standards, what am I supposed to tell them?

I do have a plan, however.

I will teach them to be wise, so that they can choose their own path. I will teach them to be witty, so they can defend their choices. And I will teach them to be wonderful, so whatever they choose to do in their lives has true weight and depth, enough that their mother's daft concern about their responses to a razor becomes a trivial issue.

The end.


  1. Little m loves to go to the 'waxing lady' with me.....she is now very good at applying the after waxing moisturiser that the kind 'waxing lady' lets her apply to my legs....but I hadnt ever thought of what message I was sending...thank you...

  2. I must admit that since I've had children I have become a little ambivalent in the body hair department. I'm usually sporting the 'coarse sandpaper' look!

    However, the other day I opened an excel spreadsheet to create a food diary to budge my last 5 kilos of baby weight. I have been a bit of a weight-obsessive most of my life and it struck me all of a sudden about the message I would be sending my daughter if I were calorie counting when she's a vulnerable and impressionable young girl/teen. It certainly gave me food for thought (pardon the pun).

    It's true that as mothers we are so influential in our daughter's lives!

  3. What message are you sending by primping for their Daddy? Perhaps that you place some sort of value and priority on your relationship with their father? That marriage is important and takes a little bit of effort to maintain, in this specific instance, the physical bits. If you didn't let them watch, at this age, would they notice that you are hairless? Sure when they get older, they will ask, then you can explain that all aspects of marriage take a bit of effort. How different, really, is a bit of dilapidation from remaining physically fit? I know that physical fitness is a benefit to you and your children as well as your husband. That suggests that the real issue with dilapidation is that it is done only to please your husband. It is a common modern woman problem. We can do almost anything for anyone else, but doing something for our husbands jeopardizes our self. It makes us fret.

  4. I agree with Rhonda - excellent post. This is a reminder to me that life is not black and white - the good decisions we make are usually rather grey. You have identified a rainbow of different greys and presented them with clarity and wisdom. I look forward to reading more. Thank you.

  5. I love this post. There is a lot of wisdom in it on so many levels.

  6. What a wonderful mom you are! What you wrote at the end is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Amen to your approach. I guess in the end all we can do is give them the tools to take life on in their own way. I'm very open with my girl about all these things and very un-cool (I was the annoying mum who took the "baby bundle"people to task for putting in a mag advertising plastic surgeons to get rid of stretch marks - yes one of those!). As you probably know I shaved for a cure recently and I actually copped a lot of flack from other mothers for doing it (none of whom had ever had to cope with chemo induced baldness or telling their kids they weren't going to be there to see them grow up) and it put the whole beautify thing in persepective. Oh and on a random note when TFG asked me about why I shave my legs (and bum - laws they say the worst things loudly in the supermarket don't they?) I showed her how they don't in some countries...and in south america there is a tribe that shaves off every inch of body hair etc...we talked about cultural norms and personal choices. As for hubby...well he's got so much body hair I often tell him I reckon I'm entitled to some :)

  8. We are always teaching our babies - sometimes we even use words. (Thanks to St. Francis for the idea.)

    The folks who are always lamenting "not enough money" teach their little ones to be poor. The ones who don't like CERTAIN people teach prejudice. The ones who are kind and loving teach... well, you get the idea. My Mom loves 'white' gold - I grew up only wanting 'gold' gold. I love hot tea, my daughter only drinks iced tea (she also likes 'white' gold). We're all doing the best we can. Great post. Thanks to Rhonda for the heads up. (It's Friday, I leave you now to go shave my legs.)

  9. Why 'Mr Accident'? Was it an accidental meeting or is he accident prone? I'm a newcomer here you see :o)