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].
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.