Waxing for Little Girls?

09/07/2010 05:57 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

During our vacation in Sicily last month, I overheard a conversation between several Southern Italian women on the subject of waxing. But it wasn't about their own adult experiences at beauty parlors. It was about having hairy legs when they were young girls.

Yes, young seven or eight-year-old girls, not teenagers.

One of them, the mother of eight-year-old Carlotta, was telling about how her daughter has already sprouted dark fuzz all over her legs and it's highly noticeable. If, on top of that, you consider that Carlotta lives in Northern Europe -- where it is less common for girls to have dark hair growth at such an age -- her mother was asking herself whether she should start taking her to have her legs waxed at a beauty parlor. Crucially, because being different/more developed than her girlfriends was seriously beginning to bother Carlotta.

Another lady immediately shared her story about how, when she was nine or 10, her mother had taken her to have her legs de-fuzzed, for that very same reason. She said she had found it perfectly normal at the time, even though she didn't recall having been made fun of regarding her hairy legs.

Meanwhile, another mom mused about whether it was really necessary to start caring about aesthetics at such a young age. And whether it might not be better to explain (in a variety of ways) that all little girls (and boys) develop at different speeds -- and that there's nothing to be ashamed of.

The friendly discussion made me think back to a post I wrote a while back about a little girl with "Dumbo" ears. In it, I wondered how appropriate it would be to perform plastic surgery on her -- and if so, at what age.

Instinctively, I'd say it's excessive to take such a young girl to have her leg hair removed. But maybe it's a situation that is still too far off (our daughter is only three-years-old) for me to see it in a balanced light. Or, maybe I'm just too old-fashioned.