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Daughter's facial, arms and legs hair
1 (a madar)
My daughter is in elementary school and she wants her facial hair to be removed!
One of her classmates had asked her once why she had facial hair and she replied because she was Iranian (right answer) and that the hair will go away as she grows up (wrong answer, unfortunately). She shared the conversation with me and wanted to make sure the hair will go away when she grows up. I explained to her that there are many methods to remove it and there will be many more methods as she grows up (I have heard about laser). lately, she asked again about how she could remove the hair on her legs! I told her it is as beautiful as peach fuzz (kork-e holu) but I am not sure if she was convinced. If I want her to continue talking to me, I think I should acknowledge her worries rather than constantly denying them.
I am sure that my daughter is not the only Iranian girl with this problem. I wonder how other parents talk to their daughters about it. My concern is that I want my daughter to have high self-esteem and be proud of herself and not try to have Barbie look. At the same time, I don't want these little things make her feel bad about herself. I am not sure which one helps her self-esteem better: keeping her look and believing that it is beautiful, or changing it to what others think is beautiful. of course I tell her that there are many other factors in life that are more important than beauty (Hezaran nokteh meebayad be gheyr az hosn-e zeebayee)
I must say that I want to have a good relation with my daughter and I don't want to be too surprised by her. That is, I want to be close to her and know when she decides to change her look in any way and not be surprised after she has done something about it. I would like to help her choose the best way and healthiest method. so, while I don't want to push her in this regard, I don't want to fall behind her, either. that is why I am asking you now when she is young about what is the right age interval to do things about this problem, and what are the things that can be done (keep raising self-esteem, removing hair,...)?
I will be happy to hear your comments and experiences.
2 (a mother)
Salom, aziz
You bet that other Iranian or half Iranian girls (like mine) ask the same question!
You've made me just remember a recent conversation with my 7-year-old daughter. Out of the blue, she asked me if she could shave her legs. Shaaaaave??!! Excuse me, honey, what did you say? (You can imagine the surprise I got). Well, I asked her why she wanted to do that and she said that she got more hair than her friends. I told her that when I was a little girl same thing happened to me and she objected saying she didn't believe it as she thought she takes more on her dad side (which is wright) that neither me nor granma (as she sees) don't have hair in the legs or arms.
Well I try to confort her as she was getting more upset the more we talked about it. Then I asked what was the reason she thought it was not good to have hair in her arms and when she answer that because her friends seemed not to have it. Then I pointed to her that YES, there is one person, (and I try to make it like a guessing game to get her out of her mood), HER VERY DEAREST FRIEND and I mentioned the name. And indeed, her polish/hungarian descendent little friend had (and I showed her one day without stearing at her). she realized that because of the lighter skin and "blondish" colour of her friend, that she didn't see it before.
I told her that as proud of all the things we (including her and asking her to mention the things she thought about it) feel about our mix heritage (I didn't mention Iranian or Spanish, I just left it like that without pointing out) the hair was coming with it (ja, ja, yes we laughed together about it).
She smile back to me and then we walked together and I told her that now she could see. There is nothing wrong with having hair on your legs or arms (as a girl). That when she is grown like mommy (????!!!!), we can think about doing something but that now as a little girl and with so many attributes God has giving her (emphazising her how talented she was in this, that or the other one) she shouldn't worry about the hair in her legs. She ended up happy after that and didn't ask any more.
I will definetely like to hear from other parents with similar situations as well. I was caught by surprise when she said what she said on the first place. Any one else to share?
Khodafeez shoma,
3 (a pedar)
We'd the same experience with our older daughter, and exactly the same conversation and felt afterward that
she is not content with our talk, but at least we were happy to share our view and talk with her. I think the rest would evolve on her own terms, and that's where we'd decided to leave it to her, so she comes to accept all of herself although different(darker and having more hair). Also, very normal for them to be carious(at this age) about it.
4 (a madar)
My father is dark and hairy, but I, alas, take after my mother, who's a redhead with light skin. When I was growing up and living in Iran or hanging out with my Iranian cousins in America, I felt miserably inadequate because I was so pale and practically needed a magnifying glass to pick out the blonde hair on my legs and arms. In my early teen years, I wanted to shave, too, desperately -- not because I needed to get rid of the hair, but because I so very much wanted to pretend that I HAD all that soft, thick, black, tickly MOO that all my favorite people had. So what's it all about? Not hair, really. Being different from the majority? Probably. And that's something we all need to learn to live with and be comfortable with: ourselves.
As for removing hair: well, in a perfect world, we wouldn't spend all this time worrying about it. But in a perfect world, we wouldn't care about brushing the hair on our heads even. It's not a perfect world. I say we try to teach our children that physical beauty is in the eye, not in the heart and if nobody could see what we looked like (or we couldn't see what they looked like), we'd like or dislike one another for a whole different set of reasons. So, if I had a daughter (I have a hairy son instead), I'd let her make the decision to have the hair waxed or not. One session on the waxing table may change her mind. Ouch.
Good luck to all those lucky parents of mamani hairy children,
5 (a daughter)
I am neither a pedar nor a madar, but a hairy dokhtar! Though my mom is blond and Finnish, I inherited the hairy tendencies of my Iranian father. I am 20 now, but I do remember being teased quite a lot for having wall-to-wall carpeting for eyebrows (this incited much amazement among my American classmates) and hairy underarms. I started waxing my upper lip at age 13. I am glad that I started waxing when I did. I think that once a young women reaches about 12 (when most of my American friends were allowed to shave), her parents should support her in what she chooses in terms of hair removal. Unfortunately kids can be kind of cruel with regards to hairiness. Good luck!
Khodah hafez.
6 (a web visitor)
I LIVE NEXT DOOR TO AN IRANIAN MOTHER WITH 2 DAUGHTERS AGE 14 AND 17,VERY NICE PEOPLE. THE DAUGTERS ARE VERY HAIRY YOU CAN SEE THEY GT IT FROM THEIR MOTHER.NONE OF THEM SHAVE THEIR LEGS. THE MOTHERS ' LEGS ARE CARPETED WITH HAIR. BOTH DAUGHTERS HAVE HAIRY LEGS. I'M A WHITE MALE ,35,WHO HAS NO HAIR ON MY LEGS UNFORTUNATELY. ONCE IN A WHILE THEY CAME TO SWIM IN MY POOL. FROM MY POINT OF VIEW THAT WAS EMBARRASSING. ALL 3 IN BATHING SUITS AND THATS WHEN YOU COULD TELL HOW HAIRY THEIR LEGS WERE WHEN THEY WERE NEXT TO MINE. I'M USED TO A WOMAN SHAVING HER LEGS SO SHE DOESN'T HAVE HAIRIER LEGS THAN ME WHICH I REALIZE IT'S HARD TO GET EVEY SINGLE HAIR OFF . THE 17 YEAR OLD PUT HER LEG NEXT TO MINE AND SAID I NEVER SEE A MAN WITH BALD LEGS. I SAID I NEVER SAW A GIRL WITH SUCH HAIRY LEGS. MAYBE YOU SHOULD SHAVE THEM I SAID.SHE SAID SHE LIKES THE WAY THEY LOOK AND SAID I WOULD RATHER HAVE MY HAIRY LEGS THEN YOUR BALD LEGS THEY LOOK BETTER.I TOLD HER THEY LOOK BETTER ON A GUY BECAUSE THEY SUPPOSE TO BE HAIRY. SHE LAUGHED AND SAID IF I SHAVE MY LEGS,THEY WOULD BE FEMININE ,BABY SMOOTH LIKE YOUR LEGS. IF I DON.T SHAVE I HAVE MASCULINE LEGS. SO RIGHT NOW ALL 3 OF US HAVE MORE MASCULINE LEGS THAN YOU. MY MOTHER,SISTER,AND ME CAN ALL SHAVE OUR LEGS,AND WE'LL HAVE SO CALLED FEMININE LEGS,BUT YOU'LL BE STUCK WITH YOUR FEMININE LEGS YOUR LEGS DO LOOK FUNNY FOR A GUY.YOU ARE THE FIRST GUY I EVER SAW THAT HAD NOT ONE HAIR ON HIS LEGS . IF WOMAN DIDN'T SHAVE THEY WOULD ALL BE HAIRIER THAN YOU.TO .I WOULD SAY YOUR JEALOUS OF OUR LEGS .AREN'T YOU. I COULDN'T DENY IT . I SAID YES.I WILL NEVER ASK A FEMALE TO SHAVE HER LEGS AGAIN. THIS STORY IS THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN.WOMAN SAY HOW BAD THEY HAVE TO SHAVE THESE 3 ARE PROUD OF THERE HAIRINESS AND IT'S HARD FOR A GUY TO HAVE HAIRLESS LEGS. WITH WINTER HERE I'M WONDERING IF THEY SHOULD COME OVER NEXT YEAR.IT'S VERY HARD WHEN THEY TEASE YOU.
7 (a madar)
Thank you very much for sharing this interesting story with us. I envy the mother who (single-handedly?) brought up daughters with such strong awareness and self-esteem so that they can defy the fashion "norms". Her job is specially admirable in this society where the media are bombarding us with standard definitions of feminine "beauty"...
I wish she could give us some clues in child raising!
many thanks again,
8 (a web visitor)
I am a 17 year old college student. My mother's family is of Iranian descent (from Shiraz).
For a long period of my life, "being hairy" has also bothered me. This started when I would get teased from classmates, starting around the age of 12. It was mostly boys, who would say something like, "Your arms are hairier than mine". This was the greatest embarrassment that I thought I had. I never wore T-shirts and open back shirts. When I was 14, I started waxing my arms. Now I still shave my arms, and of course legs and underarms, but don't mind wearing open-back shirts at all. I have also said that this is because "I am Persian". I don't care anymore. I "grew out of it" and have accepted myself (but still shave my arms). I feel alright on the terms that I have, but can see how it is difficult for younger teenage girls to deal with. But I truly believe that it is because of the majority anglo-saxon people that we feel uncomfortable with ourselves. When someone says now that I "have a lot of hair", I say, "yea". And that's the end of it for me. I can also the advantages: I had enough eyebrow to work with and shape, and they look great. I also have full, thick hair on my head, and long black lashes that many "white" girls have been envious of.
So I don't have any "real issues" with this topic anymore.
Please send your replies and/or opinions regarding this subject to madar-pedar@surya.eecs.berkeley.edu.

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