Would you make your 7 year old daughter wear deodorant?

Can a 7-year-old wear deodorant?  That’s the question raised in the latest eyebrow-raising  Mail on Sunday story about a woman who makes her 7-year-old daughter wear deodorant to school because she is very active and gets a bit sweaty [here].

Woman applying deodorant but can a 7-year-old wear deodorant?
source: www.ehow.com

Despite the reason for this vigilance to her daughter’s personal hygiene being to prevent the poor child being bullied, her mother has chosen to share her daughter’s perspiration problems with the media, thus ensuring that all anonymity is forfeit and, in my view, vastly increasing the likelihood that the girl will be subject to negative comments.

I always assumed that perspiration problems didn’t really begin until puberty but no, the loyal commentators on Daily Mail.co.uk are adamant that children can get a bit whiffy prior to anything hormonal happening. Presumably, they live in areas where soap is as rare as hen’s teeth and giving a child a nightly bath is an infringement of their human rights.

Can a 7-year-old wear deodorant? Caitlin will be 7 in November and aside from encouraging her to wash, the thought of introducing products like deodorant hasn’t even crossed my mind.

Using deodorant whilst innocuous enough in itself (assuming you use a paraben free one) is the potential tip of an iceberg of personal grooming which, apart from being expensive raises a number of feminist questions.

Why should we wax?  Why should we have to look like a plucked chicken with skin smoother than a basted Christmas bird?

It’s a matter of personal choice of course and I think what rankles most about this story is the fact that the little girl is having her personal choice taken away and is being pushed down a route which is likely to encompass more grooming that a Made in Chelsea v TOWIE showdown.

For heaven’s sake let kids be kids.  They’ll hit puberty soon enough and, in all likelihood earlier than in my generation. Plenty of time to start giving them complexes about sweating and looking like Chewbacca (although that may just be me) when Mother Nature actually arrives.

Yet another case, I’m thinking, of a mother projecting her issues onto her child. But I do have sympathy with the mother in question because at the nub of this story is the very real fear we all carry each day of our child being bullied and how best to prevent it.

If there’s one thing I have learned, smothering yourself in organic deodorant isn’t going to prevent it.

Can a 7-year-old wear deodorant? Yes.  Should they?  If twice daily washing and a fresh shirt each morning isn’t dealing with the problem then yes – but more importantly if it is a problem for the child – and not just the parent.

Big Brother IS a Popularity Contest Toya!

Big Brother is a guilty pleasure of mine, along with Candy Crush Saga, Sprite (the Chinese have declared it to be the definitive hang-over cure – the drink that is, not the mythical pixie like creatures), Kendal Mint Cake (although the teeth can’t take it any more) and peanut butter. That’s the good thing about being an old bird. You can be as irrational with your foibles as you like and not even worry about defending them. Were such a thing required, in my defence I will say that keeping up with the kids is very important when your kids are nearly 7 and nearly 5. Sort of.

Toya Washington, Big Brother
Big Brother’s “raging” Toya Washington.  Source:  Channel5.com

In deference to the husband’s loathing of all reality based TV I am dutifully sitting through the World Cup and actually quite enjoying it. It may be because I don’t understand the game but it seems really slooooooow compared to rugby. All that hair gel and hamming. Those coloured trainers – my eyes! Anyway, I digress as usual.

Last night I sat somewhat stunned as Toya, 50% of this week’s “Big Brother Power Couple” and missing some 75% of her mental faculties turned into a screaming banshee of the highest premenstrual order when called a very rude word by Ash – a man who would probably check his appearance in a mirror for five minutes before leaving a burning building. Actually the ‘boy band’ gang of Ash, Marlon and Winston (bull dog by name and brain size) are rather unpleasant. The first two have bemoaned the fact that there are no ‘sluts’ in this year’s house and express viewpoints about women better suited to the 1970s. But boy did Toya go on. And on. And on.

It is undoubtedly unfair but in my experience a woman who ‘loses it’ will always be judged more harshly than a man – irrespective of whether or not she has right on her side. And the speed with which a personal (and professional) reputation can be shattered is scary. I can’t understand why Toya did not think “hang on, these people may be muppets but they all have the power to evict me at some point”. Or, “I could possibly have a short lived media career out of this if I play my cards right” but no, she screamed, she pouted, she stropped. And then, most bizarrely, whilst crying in the Diary Room, she opined that Big Brother wasn’t a ‘popularity contest’.

Now I struggle to see how anyone couldn’t understand that this is EXACTLY what the show is – although it shares a lot with gladiatorial fights in Roman amphi-theatres and the British tradition of pantomime where we all love a villain or villainess. (I suspect Harriet Harman would frown on feminising the word villain but I’ll live with it).

In fact, success in many areas in life revolves around maintaining a high level of popularity. I remember reading a study about the causes of failure of bright, high achieving workers in the corporate arena and the number one reason was having an abrasive personality. To paraphrase the late Helen Gurley Brown (who created Cosmopolitan magazine), you can’t be a selfish, snippy little turtle-bitch and succeed. Losing it in any arena is a luxury – today more than ever.

I fear Toya has signed her own exit visa after last night’s melt-down but she does not seem to have much self awareness. Seriously where do the Big Brother contestants get their almighty egos. Tamara has been sounding off about ‘showergate’ claiming ownership after one kiss which sounded like a sink plunger being prized off a bunged sink. She clearly has her eye on becoming the next Luisa – she of Apprentice fame who has moved from the bakery arena to constantly displaying her wares in a bikini.  

I think I remember reading once about something called feminism. Still, even Gloria Steinem was once a playboy bunny.  And it’s probably not worth losing my temper over……

TV’s On The Blink; Too Much Time To Think

The TV is on the blink.  Yes.  In this multi-channel, digital age where we expect our TVs to do everything bar uncork the vino, ours has stuck two digital fingers up at us and declared it has a weak signal.  On every channel.  Having been scared witless about aerial villains by BBC’s Rogue Traders and not having a cupboard tidy enough to secrete Matt Allwright in, the husband is muttering darkly about “buying a book”.

Television with multicolour screen
Source:  www.businesssearchltd.co.uk

The children are watching “Tommy Zoom” on constant repeat or a solitary episode of “Spongebob Squarepants” on Amazon Prime which seizes the TV every time. It’s either that or the first Addams Family film (curiously reminiscent of the Hobbis household). Worse, tonight is the launch of Big Brother. Yes I know. Call me shallow but I’ve watched it since Series 2 and it’s become a signal that summer is here. It’s not quite the same without Davina’s endless procession of black outfits and her jaunty blokish manner. Nor can I get away with telling the hubby that it’s a “telling psychological experiment” without him snorting and proclaiming my mental faculties to be on the brink of melting away. (A two word rejoinder is all that is needed to put him straight – Top Gear).

Source:  www.bbc.co.uk

I should read a book.  I should broaden my mind and brush up on my very rusty French and German. I could finally learn to play Handel’s “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” on the piano or bake a cake. I could repair the holes in Ieuan’s trousers. My father once tried to encourage my sister and I to take up darning. I think he envisaged a Jane Austen type future for us both involving much stitching of samplers and a bit of French country dancing. whilst marrying a curate and mastering the art of damson jam production. He was a little wide of the mark.

One of the main reasons we had a civil wedding ceremony is that the hubby fears spontaneous combustion should he stand in front of an altar as a rank unbeliever. He has managed numerous carol concerts since without singeing so either he’s right about the absurd nature of the universe (how very Sartre) or God is more forgiving than I previously suspected.

Anyhoo….. I am left trying to get the blessed TV’s “Smart Hub” programmed to play BBC iPlayer and Channel 4OD.  No.  It won’t do ITV or Channel 5 so it really isn’t as smart as it thinks it is.  And while the hubby is reading “aerial adjustment for dummies” I think I’d better have a look on Yell.Com – and make sure we’ve got Rogue Traders’ number.