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Woman's Fury Over Husband's 'Hurtful' Advice to 11-Year-Old Daughter Backed


1 week ago 23

How early is too early for girls to start shaving? The Internet is saying it's none of anyone's business.

A Reddit post by u/throwra24543 has ignited debate about gender expectations and body image after a woman shared her frustration over her husband's advice to their 11-year-old daughter.

The mother said she was concerned about her husband's suggestion that their daughter should start shaving, sparking discussions about societal pressures and children's self-esteem.

In the post, the mother describes her husband's suggestion that their daughter should begin shaving, despite the fact that their daughter has shown no interest or insecurity regarding her body hair. And she expressed concern that her husband's comment could plant seeds of insecurity in their daughter's mind and perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes.

A young girl and her parents
A young girl is lectured by her parents. A Reddit post has gone viral for a woman's complaint about her husband's mishandling of body image and gender issues. JackF/Getty Images

"I've raised both of my daughters not to be ashamed of themselves," she wrote. "She should only start shaving when she wants to, not when someone thinks she should be.

"It's bothering me that my husband doesn't think that way, as I think that what he is saying could be harmful to her. There's nothing wrong with her, and nothing that she needs to fix. I also don't want her little sister thinking that she needs to shave as well."

In response to the post, Reddit users offered insights, saying that her husband's words could have long-lasting consequences—some based on personal experience.

"Tell your husband that if he makes his daughter feel ugly, she will assume that all men find her ugly," u/quirky_movie wrote. "My father did something like this when I was in college but about my weight.

"It didn't affect my behavior or personality. Instead, I'm 46 and I have never believed a man who told me he found me attractive after that point, ever...I cannot shake what my dad said."

How should the mother move forward?

Kaytee Gillis, a clinical social worker, told Newsweek that these kinds of comments are not always ill-meaning.

"In my experience, I sometimes see this from parents who mean well, but they just don't know any better," she said. "I have seen parents do this in an attempt to protect their child from [peer] pressure or from being made fun of."

Still, she said the consequences can be harmful, creating body shame for young girls and teaching them that certain natural characteristics, like body hair, are flawed.

Gillis said the mother could opt to have a private conversation with her daughter—but better would be to have her husband address his behavior with his daughter "by acknowledging that he misspoke and that it is none of his business if any girl (or person) shaves their legs."

"He could use this time to share some of his feelings about gender stereotypes and how they have shaped his life," she said. "The point of this discussion would not be to prove someone right or wrong but to have an open discussion about gender stereotypes and body image, which I think is the bigger issue that needs to be addressed."

Based on what the mother has said, it doesn't seem that her husband is under the impression that he did anything wrong to begin with. Even still, he proves Gillis' original theory.

"He didn't think that it was anything hurtful what he said," the mother wrote. "And that he...just wanted the best for her."

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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