The question that most worried Dolly Doctor in all her years of advising teen girls.

For more than two decades Dr Melissa Kang answered teenagers’ questions about puberty, sex and relationships as Dolly magazine’s Dolly Doctor.

But one question “concerned” the GP and youth sexual health PhD holder more than any other.

In a recent episode of ABC’s mini-documentary series Throwback, Dr Kang shared that she began to notice a worrying trend among her readers’ questions.

“[There were common] themes around puberty… and worrying if you’re attractive or not. Those kinds of things really stayed the same over the years.”

“The thing that I noticed that really changed, there were more and more questions about how to remove pubic hair.”

Dr Kang said what worried her most about these queries was the motivation behind the girls’ quest to remove their pubic hair.

“I guess what concerned me about that a lot of the time was girls who were saying, ‘I’ve got to get rid of my pubic hair because I won’t be attractive to my hypothetical boyfriend’. Often they were hypothetical.”

Melissa Kang also spoke about her own experiences growing up in the short episode. Post continues.

Video via Throwback

Dr Kang told the ABC that correlated with a rise in questions about vaginas and vulvas and how they should look.

“On the one hand, that’s fantastic, that they felt comfortable looking without any sense of shame,” she said.

“But the negative side was they were worried or ashamed that their genitals weren’t attractive enough, in the same way that girls previously worried about their height or their hair or something like that.”

The NSW-based public health professor told the ABC program that she always tried to “read between the lines” and address whatever the teen was really worrying about as well as the question they asked.

She said that because most of the questions were handwritten – in letters, she still keeps to this day – she felt as if she was “talking to a real person” instead of typed text on a screen.

Of course, since even before the end of Dolly Doctor in 2016, teens turned to that same typed text on a screen to get their answers about sex and growing up.

“I guess what I think might have been lost is a sense of a personal relationship,” Dr Kang reflected. “It was a way to hear the voices of young girls that was absolutely unique and now I really, really do miss it.”


So do we, Dolly Doctor.

You can watch this and other episodes in the Throwback: Our Childhoods Revisited series on ABC iView.

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