Sunday, March 25, 2012

How many thirteen year old girls does it take...

Lulu: So… A thirteen-year-old writes to Cherie because she shaved her pubes and now she has a doctor's appointment and her mom will find out:

Hey, Cherie!
I am age 13. I've never written to you before, and I never thought I would, but I don't know whom to ask. This question is a little personal. OK, here goes. Well, we get the Playboy channel at my house, and my little sister and I were watching it. It turned out every girl I saw on the program shaved down there and no one had any hair. My little sister, who is 7, even said they looked like her down there.
Well, recently, my friends and I had a sleep over, so we started watching adult stuff on my TV, and once again, I noticed none of the girls had hair down there! So then my friends and I decided it would be cool if we all shaved. So we all shaved down there, and at the time, it was funny and stuff, and we looked really cool afterwards. 
So here is my big problem. I am going to be a camp-counselor-in-training this summer, and my mom just told me I have to go have a physical before she can send in all the paperwork, and my physical is in two days! My mom will be in the doctor's office with me when I have my physical. She will see that I don't have any hair down there, and she will throw a hissy fit you will be able to hear in California. She is very, very overprotective. I tried to get the appointment changed so my hair could grow back in (Then I would just shave it again because even though it kind of itches, it looks so cool, and now I think hair down there is gross.), but my mom said no way, she had to wait three weeks to get this appointment. I'm not kidding, she is going to go ballistic. Help!
Lulu: And Cherie responds:

Hey, Hair Free!
Wanna hear something funny? 'K. When I was your age, the exact same thing happened to me, except it was about shaving my legs. Let us pause for a moment of silence as to not how far we have come but how low we have sunk.
Hair Free, you are not going to be turning hair-free cartwheels over my answer. And actually, neither is your mom. The first question that comes to mind is: With a 7- and 13-year-old in the house, why doesn't your mom block stuff like the Playboy channel from the TV? It's very easy to do, and yet for some unfathomable reason, most parents don't do it. Option No. 2 would be to only have TVs, like computers, in public places in your house until you are in high school.
That way your mom knows what you are watching and can discuss it with you.
This is exactly the kind of social pressure on young women that Dr. Mary Pipher talks about in her seminal book, "Reviving Ophelia." You didn't think "hair down there" was "gross" until you watched the Playboy channel. Trust me when I tell you that the Playboy channel is not representative of what is "cool" or is anything you should aspire to. They are women acting out roles, not being themselves. I bet you and your friends hate "fake" people, right? Right. It's like the most common teen dis. "She is so fake." Well, Playboy is not only so fake, but it's fake and putting on a fake show for guys. That is so much grosser than hair down there. 
To wax or not to wax it a question appropriate to someone much older than you. No way outta this one, girlfriend. Just tell your mom the truth. Fortunately, when it comes to something such as "hair down there," it grows back. And I'm guessing you and your mom would benefit from some one-on-one bonding time, anyway. I hope she reads this.

Lulu: Well, she's unrealistic if she thinks a kid is going to ask her mom to block the playboy channel.

Ashley: To say the least. And why is it taken as a given that her mom will be staring at her vagina during a physical? Is that normal??

Lulu: It seems to me that 13 is old enough to say,  "Mom, I don't want you in the room with me". Or, "I need my privacy".  My mom didn't come into the doctor's exam room with me when I was that age.

Ashley: Yeah, and actually, I can't remember having to remove my underwear  until they started doing pelvic exams.

Lulu: That's true. They don't usually do pelvics until you're like 16+, right? But if she's worried about it, I think she can ask her mom not to come in; I think a doctor/nurse would support that, since they like you to feel that you can be honest with them. In the bigger picture, I agree that if you look to the playboy channel for a model of how people can or should act, you'll get a skewed, unrealistic view. Everyone being shaved on playboy doesn't mean everyone is shaved in real life, but it's a personal choice... if you want to shave, why not?

Ashley: I don't particularly see a giant problem with it, either. Nor with the playboy channel in general - it's one of many influences.

Lulu: It seems to me that telling someone they shouldn't shave because it's tacky is just as bad as telling someone they should because it's sexy. It's all subjective, might as well do what makes you happy.

Ashley: Yeah, and I don't buy the "you didn't think it was gross until you watched the playboy channel" argument. I didn't think all sorts of things were gross as a child, but childhood innocence isn't gospel, or we'd all be picking our noses constantly.

Lulu: Kids who are looking for info about what sex is like need to know that porn is fiction, not documentary, but if you see something in fiction that inspires your fashion sense, that seems okay to me, like wanting Katniss's hairstyle or something.

Ashley: True! Of all the things she could have learned, that's probably the most harmless. If she thought she had to be super skinny or something, or wanted to change things that are impossible to change without major surgery, I’d be more with Cherie. If she were like, no one will love me unless I grow another foot and a half!

Lulu: Right.

Ashley: (in height, not in actual feet)
(3.5 feet would be awkward)
(i imagine)

 Lulu: Even if she gave as her reason for wanting to be shaved that guys would like it, that would be concerning. But she just says it looks cool (to her).

Ashley: And to her friends. Who all shaved as a group?

Lulu: Yeah, I don't get that. Did they go into the bathroom one at a time or did they just do it in a big room? With like bowls of soapy water?

Ashley: I’m not sure of the mechanics myself. Maybe I should watch the playboy channel?


  1. Everyone shutup, young girls should all learn that the Playboy channel is the place to go for role models.

    This girl does seem to have some weird issues with her personal boundaries or lack thereof. As already covered it seems strange that group vagshaving is an exercise. Stranger to me is watching porn with your 7 year old sister. Stop doing that! Stop doing that immediately!

    You know what, let's take age out of this. Never watch porn with any member of your family. This is a strange thing to do. Are the girls on the Playboy channel watching porn with THEIR families? I didn't think so! Role model'd.

  2. She seems to be watching porn EXCLUSIVELY for role models (and maybe shock value) and not because it has any kind of erotic value for her--it's less "Ooh, hot" and more "Ew, what??"--so it's less weird than it otherwise could be that she's watching with friends and siblings. But yeah, that's a good life lesson generally.