The Uproar Over One Mom And Her Daughter's Bikini Wax

When one writer wrote about her teen daughter's bikini wax in British Vogue, it caused an uproar. Are your family's intimate grooming habits an oversharing bridge too far?

To be fair, the piece isn't controversial only because Rachel Johnson involves her daughter's pubes: rather, the excrutiating, painful level of waxing detail has many cringing — and it doesn't help that the author is sister of the Mayor of London. Quickly, some critics have described it as inappropriate and disrespectful. From the daughter's perspective, writes the Telegraph's Bryony Gordon, the piece is enough "to raise whatever hairs haven't been removed in a swish Mayfair salon." The Daily Mail even made the issue a point/counterpoint, asking, "Is it wrong for a mother to write about her teenage daughter's intimate waxing?" The never-restrained Liz Jones took the "Yes" position (although it should be said her condemnation quickly turns into a bizarre personal rant that reveals Johnson gave her a bad review then tried to make a lunch date or something.) Writes Jones, "A Brazilian wax involves a level of intimacy that only a gynaecologist should have. And Rachel Johnson has ­chosen to spew about it in the pages of Vogue."

The Daily Mail's "counterpoint" to Jones comes from a woman who proceeds to defend the original article by talking about her own 15-year-old's shaved vadge (which she glimpses in the tub) so she clearly doesn't share these reservations. Oh, and "Two weeks on and I still haven't broached it with her. I'm certain she knows that I know, but I'm too embarrassed to bring it up." Well, now she does.

My own issue with Johnson's piece — provided she OK'd it with her daughter, unlike Madam Mail — is that she misses a chance to have an interesting discussion about younger and younger girls conforming to the expensive, painful and porn-inspired grooming ritual. When she initially learns her daughter has had the Brazilian, Johnson bemoans that such young women are submitting to, as she puts it, "a pornographic aesthetic; an aesthetic that was persuading generations of girls and women that their own bodies, in their natural state, were, in some way, dirty and needed fixing up."

However, this is quickly abandoned after "I talked to friends all over the world. To my surprise I found that most of my peers, on every continent - even English mothers my age - confessed to keeping themselves 'tidy'." Then she goes for the wax herself, and ultimately concludes, rather inanely, "It's all right for young women, single ladies, Hollywood actresses, gay men and maybe even for my own daughter. But for me? I don't know if I can be bothered - especially if my man's not" — neatly stripping the exploration of any whiff of empowerment. (Then again, this is Vogue.)

London Mayor's Sister Gives Details Of Her Brazilian Bikini Wax [SiFy]
Is It Wrong For A Mother To Write About Her Teenage Daughter's Intimate Waxing?
[Daily Mail]
Every Woman Can Rely On Her Mum To Shame Her In Public [Telegraph]

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