How soon is too soon to wax your daughter's bikini line/eyebrows/upper lip/other not totally hairless body parts? We've discussed the issue on the site multiple times over the past few years, but we still haven't come up with a solid answer because it's different for everyone. For example, when I was in 8th grade, I was extremely insecure about having what I thought were hairy arms. My mom was hesitant about introducing me to wax until an asshole kid in my grade commented on them and she took pity on me. It's easy to eschew unrealistic beauty standards until some brat asks your daughter why she has a mustache.
But I think we can all agree that it's a whole other issue for a salon to aggressively market waxing services to very young girls under the guise of concern, as Uni K Wax Center is doing this month in honor of Fourth of July. (I must have missed class the day we talked about how the Patriots fought for the right to remain hairless during the American Revolution?)
During most of July, girls 15 and under (boys aren't allowed, obviously; let them celebrate their pubey goatees) get 50% off at Uni K salons so they can enjoy their first waxing experience "and find it NATURAL, SAFE and PLEASANT." Ooh, check out that disconcertingly young, tanned and hairless girl jumping up into the cloudless sky!
"There has been tremendous debate about when a girl should begin waxing," reads a recent post on the salon's "Clothing Optional" blog. (Perhaps not the most appropriate title for a blog discussing the bodies of prepubescent girls?) "There are of course the extreme stories that make the most headlines and these are usually cases of parents being overzealous with beauty pageants. Uni K Wax has a different take on this. Why should we focus on all of the negative stuff when there are so many positive things that can come from getting waxed?"
Uni K's rationale/sales pitch (that's obviously what this is all about; get 'em while they're young and you have a wax-dependent customer for life) is that girls are maturing at an earlier age and it's up to parents to "guide them through the changes in their bodies," not by discussing the way our culture oversexualizes young girls but by ripping their hair off their nubile young skin. "One of the things as parents we are particularly concerned with is that our kids are comfortable and confident," says Noemi Grupenmager, the founder of Uni K Wax Centers. "Unfortunately, as many women can attest to, young girls can be mean. Boys can also be cruel. The prevention of bullying in schools has taken center stage and waxing can be used to help. There is no reason for a young girl to feel embarrassed at PE or in the pool. What we do at Uni K Wax Centers is make it easy and comfortable for young girls and teens to go through the process, and letting them know that what they are doing is completely safe. This is particularly important to young teens who are feeling the need to have their first bikini wax or 'tweens' who are having their first waxing experience."
She's right, of course: kids are cruel (I'm still self-conscious about the hair on my arms to this day) and the teenage years are rough. Should you turn your daughter into a martyr to protest our fucked up culture when you could also just let her wax her unibrow? When is she old enough to decide for herself? I'm not sure. But I do know that pushing parents and their daughters into waxing as early as possible by presenting them with Lolita-esque advertisements and insincere promises that the experience will be "SAFE" and "PLEASANT" isn't the way to go.