Peter H Brown Clinical Psychologist

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Too Sexy Too Soon! PART I – Should Girls As Young As 9 Be Taken To Get Their Legs Waxed?

Video still of an children's fashion shoot image which was released as part of a report into the sexualisation of children.

There has been an increasing amount of concern amongst health professionals regarding the rise of “tweenage” culture, the target marketing of pre-adolescent children, particularly girls, with clothing and cultural images that seem to be pushing them towards adulthood way too early. The following newspaper articles from this weekend’s newspapers highlight this disturbing trend, and offer up some food for thought for parents.

Source for both articles: news.com.au

PARENTS are sending girls as young as nine to have painful beauty treatments.

Beauticians say that young children are being brought into salons by parents to undergo painful hair removal treatments.

NSW Community Services Minister Linda Burney criticised the paractice, and although she stopped short of calling it abuse, she said that mothers should not force their daughters to mature too quickly.

“Most people would be pretty aghast that girls as young as nine would feel that they need to have their legs waxed,” Ms Burney said.

“It raises the broader issue of children growing up too quickly and brings up the issue of sexualisation of children. Children should be allowed to be children and not feel they need to emulate what they see in gossip magazines and the advertising industry.”

Too young, too painful

She warned that the sexualisation of young girls through such beauty treatments could lead to depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

Parents needed to use common sense in deciding when the right time was to allow their child to wax, but there was also an onus on the beauty industry, although regulation was not the answer, she said.

“At the end of the day, it is really on the proprietor to make a particular decision about whether they will allow that client in the salon,” Ms Burney said.

Bullied

Ms Burney said that there may be exceptional circumstances, for example, if a child was being teased or bullied because they were particularly hairy.

Child sexualisation expert and humanities and social science lecturer at Charles Sturt University, Emma Rush, said she was “disturbed” parents were taking young children to have the procedure.

“It might seem like a nice thing to do for a little girl, but not at that age. Mid-teens, sure. Children aged nine or younger have not got the cognitive (capacity). They don’t have the need for it. There is the question of whether they are ready to cope with the attention that can attract,” Dr Rush said.

She said girls in primary schools were now exhibiting depression, anxiety and eating disorders, which had all been strongly linked to sexualisation.

“Parents also need to think about the message that this is sending to their children,” she said.

“It is very limiting for a child how much focus there is on looks.”

She said children should never be pressured to undergo such beauty treatments and discouraged from starting them until at least 14.

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Leg waxes for nine year olds?

Alison Godfrey

Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 11:17am

THE Sunday Telegraph this weekend reported that parents were forcing girls as young as nine to get leg waxes.

In the article NSW Community Services Minister Linda Burney said mothers should not force their daughters to mature too quickly.

“Most people would be pretty aghast that girls as young as nine would feel that they need to have their legs waxed,” Ms Burney said.

“It raises the broader issue of children growing up too quickly and brings up the issue of sexualisation of children. Children should be allowed to be children and not feel they need to emulate what they see in gossip magazines and the advertising industry.”

She warned that the sexualisation of young girls through such beauty treatments could lead to depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

Firstly I was horrified, then I wondered – are they really forcing them? Or are nine-year-old girls asking their parents if they can shave their legs and mums are taking them to the salon instead? Are mums just buckling to pester power?

Either way, it does raise the issue of sexualisation of young children. The story about leg waxing follows a run of other stories of inappropriate products aimed at children. Take a look at this padded bra for seven-year-olds which a UK retailer was forced to remove from sale after The Sun called the bra a “paedo (pedophile) bikini”.

Last month, Professor Newman, the president of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrist said she had seen four-year-olds who wanted to go on diets. She said the overt sexualisation of society was pushing teenage concerns about body image, “sexiness” and of being a “worthwhile individual” well into a child’s first years of life.

If you need any more proof of the issue – there’s this article about Noah Cyrus, Mylie’s 10-year-old sister selling fishnet stockings and knee high dominatrix boots.

Last week I was shopping for clothes for my soon to be born baby girl. I was shocked by the by the rock star style mini-skirts and leather jackets in Best and Less. I just wanted something cute, simple, elegant and baby like. What girl under one wears black leather and studs? What are they thinking?

But then, we should also be asking what are the parents thinking? Because ultimately it is the parents that agree to buy these items for children. It is parents who say yes, rather than no.

Yesterday I made my husband turn off Video Hits because CJ was watching a scantily clad woman gyrating to hip hop music. It made me uncomfortable. It wasn’t appropriate for a two-year-old. I can only imagine the conversations that must generate in families with older children.

When my baby girl is born in, hopefully just over 10 weeks, I know that I will probably be even more protective with her. And leg waxing will have to wait until I am ready for it.

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April 20, 2010 - Posted by | Adolescence, Books, Bullying, Child Behavior, Eating Disorder, Girls, Parenting, research, Sex & Sexuality, Social Psychology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. […] Soon! PART ll – Are Sexual Images Are Now An Inescapable Part Of Children’s Lives? See Part I of this Post HERE A billboard for a brothel on a school […]

    Pingback by Too Sexy Too Soon! PART ll – Are Sexual Images Are Now An Inescapable Part Of Children’s Lives? « Peter H Brown Clinical Psychologist | April 21, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] Too Sexy Too Soon! PART I – Should Girls As Young As 9 Be Taken To Get Their Legs Waxed? (peterhbrown.wordpress.com) […]

    Pingback by “My Kid Wouldn’t Go There”: Teens & Teen Sexuality « Peter H Brown Clinical Psychologist | May 5, 2010 | Reply

  3. […] Too Sexy Too Soon! PART I – Should Girls As Young As 9 Be Taken To Get Their Legs Waxed? (peterhbrown.wordpress.com) […]

    Pingback by TV For Toddlers: “The Wiggles” Or The Wobbles? « Peter H Brown Clinical Psychologist | May 8, 2010 | Reply

  4. No girl is required to have hairless legs! If her legs are hairy then leave them hairy! Girls’ hairy legs can be beautiful!

    Therefore, girls, don’t mow it, let it grow, and let it show!

    Comment by Jim | May 13, 2010 | Reply

  5. Hi
    I am interested in going to your seminar in Duncraig on 25th August. Can you please send me the details.

    Thanks

    Michelle Ricketts

    Comment by Michelle Ricketts | August 10, 2010 | Reply

  6. Girls, leave your legs be! Hair is beautiful!

    Comment by James E McGrath | August 13, 2010 | Reply


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