Bras and ear piercing are the topics of the moment with my eight-year-old.
Ear piercing is very subjective, and I’m just not a fan of young girls having it done. Do I think it’s wrong? No. It’s simply my personal preference and one that’s perhaps influenced by the fact that I wasn’t allowed to have my ears pierced until I was 12 – or was it 14? – despite begging and begging my mum. I’m obviously still bitter.
I’ve said she can get it done in the summer holidays before she goes to secondary school. This will make her 11 going on 12. I’ve also been quick to point out that her only female cousin (who she looks up to) was 13 when she got hers done. This seems to have done the trick – for now.
The bra thing might not be so easy to navigate. So far it’s just been talk of x having a ‘bra top’ at school. However, I know thoughts are ticking away in my daughter’s head and it will be mentioned many times to come. I know this because I know her, and I know it was a big, big event when the first girl in my class got changed for PE and had one on. I then distinctly remember my flat-chested best friend at the time going shopping with her mum and getting an actual proper bra; it was an AA bra. I was absolutely seething with jealously despite the fact that I certainly didn’t need one (I was in the late developer camp).
I’m not trying to keep her a baby as long as possible, but she definitely doesn’t need one so it’d be a bit daft, plus I think it’s something of a rite of passage going to get one when you actually do need it.
Obviously some girls do develop a lot faster than others. It actually makes me feel uneasy as I really remember what a peer pressure thing it was and the subtle (and not so subtle) teasing of those that didn’t require anything up top. There was definitely a competitive element. It’s not so much me worried about her wanting a bra top/bra in the near future, it’s more that it signals the time when girls start to get rather too pre-occupied about their bodies and often make uncomplimentary comparisons.
I’m saying all this based on my school experiences; it may have all changed a generation later but I have a sneaky feeling it hasn’t…