When I told my friend that I was writing about pubic hair today, she said ‘babe, no. It’s the last frontier.’ It got me thinking, is our down there ‘do still so taboo? 80’s big ‘fro, nineties landing strip, noughties nothing.. your down there style says a lot about you. And society I reckon. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the majority of women are as hairless as barbie dolls; we could argue that this is a response to the feminisation of the workforce and public spaces. Men are afraid of our power; infantilizing our vaginas, making them bare and vulnerable, could be a way of reclaiming that power and being in control again. Or, we could suggest that pornified bodies have projected the message that pubic hair is wrong; pornography, music videos, catwalks.. the women sashaying around in barely there bits of fabric clearly show the world that they are rocking a Hollywood, thus sending out a message that to be sexy, is to be hairless.
I have read countless articles about pubic hair; is it a feminist issue? Is going au naturale the only way to stay real in a world of hairless femmes? At one point, you couldn’t open a magazine without some mention of what’s going on under our knickers but then it disappeared. It seemed that the chapter on pubes was closed for the time being. Then BAM. It’s back. Cameron Diaz recently spoke about never having her foxy fur lasered off. We have Caitlin Moran expressing the virtues of lying in a hammock, running your fingers through your hairy muff and don’t even get me started on those American Apparel mannequins. It seems that we are once more entering into a discourse over how we should be pruning our lady gardens.
After some extensive research (whatsapping my favourite girls and asking about their pube preferences, thus securing my position as the group pervert) it seems that the jury is still out. Half of us are rocking a whole lot of nothing for various reasons; ‘it feels better,’ ‘it looks better,’ ‘he likes it.’ Whereas the other half are wearing their lady fur with pride; ‘I’m a woman, the hair stays,’ ‘I don’t want to look like a child.’ A couple have made a half way journey and left a strip but waxed the rest off. Unlike the ‘pob’ or ‘the Rachel,’ it seems that there is no one size fits all style to be wearing in regards to our rug.
I worry about the sexualised side of it; just watching the music channel for an hour and I have seen Rihanna’s and Ciara’s vaginas more times than my own. I worry that young boys will be accessing porn, watching these videos and then expecting the girls they fool around with to be that hairless. What kind of pressure is this on teenage girls? To be ashamed of your female fur? I am totally up for doing whatever you want with your body; it’s yours, after all. But. I don’t want girls waxing the lot off in search of some idealised, patriarchal view on sexuality.
It seems that men are getting in on the action, although not to the same extent. Speaking to my male shaped pals, the consensus seems to be ‘I shave it off to make my cock look bigger.’ Lovely. So, we have women waxing because they feel obligated to live up to the pornified ideals we worship, whereas men are in it for the kudos and macho points that, for some reason, comes with having a big piece.
Despite my personal preferences, I do agree with the idea that being hair free is perhaps a way of men securing power. I’ve heard horror stories about Tinder dates where the guy has been shocked to discover pubic hair, stories about boyfriends asking their girls to shave because they prefer it, and one friend saying that her husband refused to go down on her because he ‘hated her pubes.’ One argument, put forward by Samantha Jones in SATC is the element of time. We are potentially harder to please sexually, so maybe having some pubic hair getting in the way down there is just a way of slowing down the journey to the big O? Or maybe it’s something more sinister; maybe men are afraid of the progress we’ve made in terms of tackling inequality and this mission to rid of us the symbol of womanhood is a way of slapping us in the face? A way of letting us know that we are still the ones putting in the work and making the sacrifices; in this case, our body hair.
It’s not just limited to our knicker lines. Armpit hair, leg hair – it seems that you can’t be ‘feminine’ and furry. Look at the scandal a celeb makes when they reveal some armpit fuzz. You’d think they admitted to blowing up puppies in their down time the amount of column inches it generates. Men are allowed to be hairy; it’s masculine, rugged, sexy. Me with beards are having a moment and a guy who shaves his legs, ironically raises some eyebrows. And yet, here we are. Plucking ourselves bald, lathering up the shaving foam, booking ourselves in for hideously painful waxes. Is this progress?
What do you think?