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Shaving guide for young girls pulled after criticism

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 31 May 2011, 17:59

Published: 31 May 2011 15:01 GMT+02:00
Updated: 31 May 2011 17:59 GMT+02:00

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Following the storm of criticism on the company website, parental forums and Facebook, the firm decided to close the online guide on Tuesday.

The guide was published on the website of Gillette's Venus shaving products, offering eight tips to assist mums of young girls who are at an age when shaving their legs, arms and other body parts becomes an issue.

For mums concerned that their daughters are too young to shave, Gillette Venus offered the following advice:

"We don't want our children to grow up too fast, but because puberty is controlled by hormones and not fashion trends, it is fairly certain that if she really wants to shave, then it may be time."

Gillette's guide continued to argue that "there is no correct age to start shaving".

"If you give your daughter information early over how to shave then it can help her to decide if she is ready or not."

Anna Lasses, who leads Stockholm youth organisation Stockholms Ungdom and is a mother to a young daughter, questioned whether the guide left scope for young girls to make this choice.

"The campaign just feels so extremely old-fashioned and really odd. Nowhere does it raise the issue of whether women and girls should shave or not."

Lasses accepted that Gillette is a company which is keen to sell its products, and questioned whether the firm is the best source for advice on the issue.

"If such a guide is going to exist then it should cover the issue that there is an expectation. They claim that there it is 'up to the individual' to decide, but instead of if, they question only when," she told The Local.

"Furthermore, one can question why there is any need to talk to one's children about shaving - it is pretty obvious how you use a shaver," she said.

Gillette's guide, entitled "what mums need to know" was specifically directed at mums and girls. Elsewhere on its website the firm does offer a guide for male consumers of shaving products, but it is more of a technical nature and does not offer any specific advice for boys or tips for their parents.

One of the tips addressed the issue of how often a young girl, should shave.

"Young girls do not shave as often as adults because their hair is finer and grows slower. Talk to her... It's about helping her to develop self-confidence - let her find a routine that works for her."

Anna Lasses argued that the guide only serves to further reinforce accepted mainstream norms of beauty in society.

"If you wear a short skirt or shorts, then you should shave. That is how she is encouraged to feel," she said.

Story continues below…

The guide did however address the issue of peer group pressure.

"Remind your daughter that it is her body and her choice, she should start to shave when she considers it the right time for her."

Anna Rudels at Proctor & Gamble, who owns the Gillette brand, told The Local on Tuesday that the firm has decided to remove the content from their website in response to the criticism.

"It has obviously not worked as it should. This has not been very good and we have listened to the negative feedback," she said.

"The purpose of the site is to be informative and give consumers tips for shaving - we are not encouraging anybody to shave."

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:16 May 31, 2011 by heu
13:21 May 31, 2011 by DavidtheNorseman
Women who wish to remain single and/or look generally unkempt are perfectly entitled to avoid shaving. This protest is about organizations looking for a purpose/cause.
13:50 May 31, 2011 by luke123
Am I missing something ?

Has shaving now become a harmful and controversial issue, and worthy of public concern and newspaper headlines ?
14:23 May 31, 2011 by Luke R D
Oh well, maybe if they start shaving young they won't have to call the police for aggressive beavers later on in life ;-)
14:46 May 31, 2011 by byke
Just went out and bought the wife some extra blades while shopping.

I may not support the high costs of blades in general, but the premise of this argument that such text puts unduly pressure on women is absolute BS.

Why would any female even be on a shaving site if it wasn't because they were interested in shaving related content.

Again, this is just another example of a women with issues looking to pick a fight in the guise of feminism.
14:53 May 31, 2011 by Rishonim
Swedish mums will object to their 13 year old learning about shaving, yet they keep quiet when the same 13 year old bring home her 17 year old boyfriend to spend the night.
15:49 May 31, 2011 by BrittInSweden
"Furthermore, one can question why there is any need to talk to one's children about shaving - it is pretty obvious how you use a shaver," she said.

Even more obvious how to use a razor.
16:19 May 31, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Is Sweden stupid Germany now? I thought only German women were proud of their arm pit and leg and arm hair. If I wanted to breed with a monkey I would seduce a mandrill.
16:51 May 31, 2011 by wenddiver
Wow, why do you figure Betty Grable is a more popular than Chewbaca in Pin-Ups? Maybe Betty Page's legs would look better with some matted black hair on them. This kind ofF eminist=Crazy woman with poor hygeine.

Don't stop at not shaving, let cheese grow in your toes,let your eyebrows grow together, don't use deoderant, or tooth paste Chewbaca.
17:17 May 31, 2011 by redfish
If there was a site advising fathers on when their sons wanted to shave, and telling them how to teach them, there wouldn't be a controversy at all.

I do think some men are overly obsessed with having their women hairless, but then again, certain styles of dress women choose to wear (slip dresses) look rather funny and odd if you don't shave. So I think comes down to the fact that its a popular lifestyle choice for women, not simply something forced on them from the manocentric maleocracy and its power over the mainstream norms of beauty.
21:51 May 31, 2011 by Valdemaratterdag
Lest we forget, this is advertising from a razor manufacturer: Gillette. Of course they want people to shave as early and as often as possible. This is no different from McDonalds pushing "happy meals" and having a clown as the company mascot to entice children to eat as much of their salty, fatty, unhealthy food as possible.
22:03 May 31, 2011 by swedejane
"The campaign just feels so extremely old-fashioned and really odd. Nowhere does it raise the issue of whether women and girls should shave or not."

So hairy armpits and a huge bush are suddenly in fashion? Where is this woman from?
22:07 May 31, 2011 by jomamas
So men shaving is ok, but women shaving is bad?

Once again, Sweden proves it is the land of irresponsible and insane people.
22:20 May 31, 2011 by dizzymoe33
I think there should have been tips on that website for Men to learn how to properly Manscape especially since so many want the Women to shave. Here in the States it is a right of passage for both parents to teach their children this task. Some start earlier than others because of puberty but really it bowls down to being comfortable in how to use a razor properly.
23:26 May 31, 2011 by StuartM
Good to see people fighting this patriarchal attempt to bully girls into complying with fascist beauty standards invented by men. Most men don't remove the majority of their body hair so there is quite clearly a sexist double standard in existence which Gillette is quite happy to reinforce and profit out of. All these capitalist scum care about is making money and they don't care how many young women are harmed in the process and made to feel miserable and depressed through low self-esteem.
00:26 June 1, 2011 by MichiganLady
Well, I wouldn't go so far as StuartM (your opinion is fine!), but redfish has a point: wanting VERY young girls to start shaving so they can look like even YOUNGER girls is a sick trend among many men, and that part of problem some have with the ad I can understand.

But having said...yeh, why would you BE on the site if you weren't looking for info on how to shave? Common sense. Educate your kids, that includes how to take all this confusing and ridiculous advertising with a grain of salt.
18:59 June 1, 2011 by soultraveler3
I dislike the double standard when it comes to acceptance of body hair in men and women. There are still many parts of the world where women aren't considered freaks / nasty for keeping the hair they were born with, it's just considered normal, as it should be.

However, girls probably aren't going to this website for advice on how to shave if they weren't already interested in it.
19:23 June 1, 2011 by Uncle

"There are still many parts of the world where women aren't considered freaks / nasty for keeping the hair they were born with"

Are these the parts of the world where a usual accessory of women is a bag on their faces and therefore they can allow their nose hair to mix with their moustache? Or those parts where a woman is given to a husband as a slave at the age when puberty is still irrelevant and therefore it is not required to compete on the "husband market"? Oh, I wish I was in one of these advanced places...

What I don't get, is why this butch irritated by the fact that it is given that women should shave themselves?

Why not be irritated at soap companies that propagate washing? Why would they force us to wash? How about these nasty toilet paper commercials that tell us to use their product? And if I like to naturally use a bush outside? What then? Am I an outcast by default then? Oh, the horrors of the modern culture...
05:56 June 2, 2011 by volvoman9
Nature gave you a garden lady... let it grow.
11:26 June 2, 2011 by soultraveler3

Get a life.

Trying to compare shaving (something western society decided was aesthetically pleasing ) to using toilet paper and soap is ridiculous. Being unshaven isn't dirty in any way, although you may have to wash certain areas more often since hair gives oils and bacteria a nice place to hang out.

Your racist remark about people with bags on their heads just makes you look like a bigoted idiot.

Some of the middle-eastern women I've met have everything shaved or waxed, other not. That kind of kills your argument.

I've met many women that don't shave. Many from asia, some from central america and some from africa. There's also some european, american and canadian women who go around with fuzzy pits.

None of these women stank or were dirty in any way.

Shaving should be a choice for women just like it is for men.
13:03 June 2, 2011 by Marc the Texan
I honestly don't mind some women who don't shave at all (note: not everyone can pull this off). I've known more German women than Swedish who didn't shave and didn't really need to. So many Swedes and Germans have such fine blonde hair that it's little more than peach fuzz. I like it. Not a turn off at all. I also like the look of women who do not pluck their eyebrows.
17:16 June 2, 2011 by Uncle

I am sorry, the fact that you MET some women from Europe, Asia and Africa who do not shave, means that "There are still many parts of the world where women aren't considered freaks / nasty for keeping the hair they were born with"? Right.

I am sure that in Asia, South america and Africa these women enjoy equalities that are nothing compared to the freedom of walking around with a full bush. Wonders.

Nobody said that it is dirty not to shave. It is an accepted social behaviour as it was accepted to let clothes physically rot on your body in the Mongol empire (a fact).

As for the racist remark... I agree it is much more racist and chauvinist to remark stuff than actually putting a bag on a face of a female... I say also that having slaves or child wives is also less awful than to talk about it...

And then of course we can always say about anyone the holy word "racist". Do not like female circumcision? Racist. Do not like child soldiers? Racist. Do not like gay execution? Double racist. Cute.

It gives me special pleasure though when with lack of arguments, people resort to calling names. Brings them immediately to a level of an annoyed 8 y/o.
17:57 June 2, 2011 by StuartM
The removal of body hair actually originated in the Middle East Uncle and in fact according to the Quran both men and women are supposed to remove their pubic and underarm hair as an act of submission to god. So if anything, going by your racist logic, shaving is an Islamic and Southern European practice which has no place in Scandinavia where ideals of beauty have traditionally been much more natural and less restrictive than in those parts of the world where women today have the least rights and freedoms. Until the razor companies around 90 years ago started trying to convince Northern European women that body hair is disgusting and undesirable virtually noone removed it.
19:26 June 2, 2011 by Uncle
Stuart. You just assume my "racism" because it is simple to throw around.

If you actually would bother to READ the above comments, you would see my reaction to the nostalgic moaning of soultraveler, who feels that there are some "other parts of the world" where unshaved women are a normal thing. My question was a mere interest - which parts of the world he meant. Perhaps do you know?

Before the answer, read on about the average women situation in these countries.

As for the origin of body shaving, I just HATE when people babble random stuff.

There is evidence that creme body hair removal was in fashion 4000-3000 B.C. First copper razor was invented in India or Egypt 3000 B.C, whereas advanced razors were invented 1500 BC in Scandianavia.. Egyptians depicted women as hairless long before Islam was invented. In Greece 400 BC, there were methods of burning hair off legs for women.

In Islam shaving body hair IS associated with CLEANLINESSES (specifically armpits and pubes as a part of fitrah. Not legs). That brings me to the question - why SOAP is OK to advertise, but shaving is NOT OK?
22:24 June 2, 2011 by Icarusty
So just because I don't shave my pubic hair for a couple of years the girls scream when they see me naked. I just don't understand it, I thought sex was about LOVEEEEE!
23:43 June 2, 2011 by sentenced-2-sweden
Most blokes will admit the difference between growling one opposed to the other.
02:19 June 3, 2011 by lucia333
Sweden is supposed to be this feminist country...by the opinions I see here Swedish men are bigger pigs than American men. And that is saying something.

I think Sweden is all talk. They will rant and rave about the terrors of beauty standards but practically every woman on their web site is a really young, trim, well-coiffed model. How many Swedish women study the sciences? How many run companies? Almost none. Swedish women seem to be low achievers except in being cute, doing sissy jobs like government work, and staying home with babies.

Stop pretending that you are more advanced than the rest of the world, stupid liars. Sweden is no feminist haven.
03:26 June 3, 2011 by soultraveler3

"It gives me special pleasure though when with lack of arguments, people resort to calling names. Brings them immediately to a level of an annoyed 8 y/o."

Would you include yourself in this then since I'm apparently "butch" ? Didn't realize that, but thanks lol.

I said that you're a bigoted, racist, idiot because after looking at your posts here and in other places on this website it seems pretty clear that's what you are.

You rant about how bad you believe it to be for these women in the parts of the world where they're not expected to shave, how oppressed by men they must be.

Do you not understand that by you saying "What I don't get, is why this butch irritated by the fact that it is given that women should shave themselves?" that you sound sexist and chauvinist?

A quick Google search will show you which areas of the world go unshaven without oppression if you're that interested and want something more specific than mentioned above.

I had to laugh at this. " I just HATE when people babble random stuff." Do you hate it because you do it so often? ;) You have to be one of the top spouters of random, useless crap on this site.

Sorry to everyone else for a long post. I usually don't put much effort in to quoting trolls but it's 3:30 in the morning and I can't sleep.
13:46 July 2, 2011 by cryogenics
priorities, Sweden, priorities!
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