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I Wish People Didn’t Wax Their Daughters

Anna Wintour Bee ShafferAccording to The Times, some New York preteens and teens are finding themselves at the salon for bikini, leg, and armpit waxes before heading off to sleepaway camp. This doesn't seem to be one of the paper's flimsier trends. J. Sisters, a salon in Manhattan, reports that in late May and early June, about 40% of the clients booking hair-removal appointments are younger than 16.

The mothers interviewed for the piece cited several reasons they condoned these treatments.

“It’s about grooming and cleanliness…It seemed like a natural and smart thing to do so she wouldn’t have to worry," said one mother. Painfully ripping a young woman's hair out of its follicles with burning wax is many things, but saying that it's "natural" might be a stretch.

Makeup artist and mother Bobbi Brown chimed in with her own reasoning: "It’s about making sure your child is comfortable. If she’s going to be in a bunk with all these girls, and she feels insecure because she hasn’t taken care of the hair on her lip or her legs, you know what? You do whatever you can do to make her feel good when she gets there.”

Just as a disclaimer: I want the seventies to come back, in terms of body hair. Aesthetically, I think it looks sexy and cool. Politically, well — it floats my boat. I think people have been going overboard with bikini waxes, and I think it's porn-y, and I think the last thing 12-year-old girls should be thinking about is the appearance of their pubic region.

But! I've never been a parent, and I guess I can empathize with the desire to mitigate the bad stuff in the world and give your child some control over her insecurities. Unfortunately, insecurity about your physical attributes isn't actually something that can be fixed with a beauty treatment, because it's not a cosmetic issue, it's an emotional one. And if a little girl feels like she doesn't fit in, a hairless bikini line isn't a fix, it's a gateway to more beauty treatments. If salons sold self-esteem, they'd lose a lot of business.

Image via Flashpoint /