This morning I waxed my legs. Apologies for this information, but it must have been the first time I’d done this in front of my daughters as they found the process extremely interesting.
MG: What are you doing? What are you using? Does it hurt? You’ve missed some. Can I help?
DG: Why you hurt yourself mummy?
So I try to explain. I like to have smooth legs. But that makes me think, why do I like this? The only reason is because having started to shave/wax/whatever you generally have to continue. The only reason is because our culture deems it preferable for females to be hairless in some areas. What do I tell my daughters?
So far, I’m sticking with I prefer smooth legs (true enough). I dye my hair because I prefer to look my age rather than the ten years older my grey streaks make me look. I occasionally wear make-up because it hides my rosacea, although as I’ve never really been a girly girl I don’t wear make-up particularly often either. But what about my daughters?
Is it better to avoid all ‘beautification’ to show them it’s unnecessary, or better to have some kind of ‘beauty routine’ so they see it day-to-day and don’t just pick things up from peers and magazines as they grow? MG has wanted to use nail varnishes and lipsticks from before she was four, it’s just a play thing but do I say no way or let her experiment in a controlled manner? DG is almost three, she’ll start to follow suit soon.
I want my daughters to have good self-esteem and not fall into gender stereotypes just because they’re stereotypes. I want them to be themselves and be happy in who they are. Reading this article on sexism from The Alpha Parent makes me so sad. Life can be hard enough, without children being segregated by gender from birth, especially from an organisation that is supposed to be about learning. What happened to the adverts I remember from years ago which promoted the fact they had no fashion dolls or war toys?
I have daughters, there are a different set of issues with boys but still the same problems of marketing and media image. I think it’s just sinking in how hard the next fifteen years of parenting are going to get, and I thought the last five years were hard 😆