We Need To Talk About Pubic Hair

To have it, or not to have it? As a teenager I didn’t know what to do with mine. Do I shave it? Do I wax it? Do I braid it? I feel like adolescence should come with a manual, a How To on everything from pubes to periods to kissing with tongue.

Let me be clear: I have no problem with a full muff, a half muff, a no muff or some pubic topiary. If you want to vajazzle your downstairs, I’ve got no beef. It seems like a bit of a palaver but to each their own. I’ve talked to a number of friends and fellow bloggers on this particular topic, all of whom agree that whatever women choose to do is fine. The trouble is, wider society doesn’t agree – there is enormous pressure on the shoulders of those who opt to keep their pubic hair. The overriding message from the media is that it is unsightly and unsexy. (Not all media. Teletubbies has no clear position.)

I was watching an episode of The Graham Norton Show a few months ago, with guests Cameron Diaz, Rod Stewart and Sarah Millican. Cameron Diaz began sharing an anecdote about her friend “who is obsessed with having a 70s bush”. Upon learning that this friend of Diaz was married, Rod Stewart expressed surprise. Obviously what a woman chooses to do with a few square inches of hair between her legs is more important than every other facet of her being put together, amirite, Rod?

Cameron Diaz goes on to tell the story of how she and a couple of friends pinned this woman down to remove her pubic hair – her pubic hair that she was comfortable with, but which her “friends” were so horrified by that they decided they needed to intervene. There is so much wrong with this, not the least of which is that this story was being told as a humorous talk show anecdote.

Then there’s my most recently binged TV series, Game of Thrones. Having watched all 22 episodes so far, I noticed something pretty striking about the nude scenes in Game of Thrones: a consistent lack of pubic hair. That’s not all that odd when you’re talking about 21st century lady gardens, but considering that the setting for Game of Thrones is a medieval fantasy land, when did they get time to Veet? As much as they may have had access to some methods of hair removal, some of these characters are wildlings. Wildlings live up to the name. Natalia Tena’s Osha looks like she may never have combed the hair on her head and yet I’m supposed to believe that she had time to get her pubes removed?

Natalia Tena herself has commented on this aspect of the show:

 “I’m a bit annoyed because I asked them whether they were gonna go lower [than the waist], not that I have a problem with that – showing my minge, but my character would definitely have a lot of muff. I asked them, ‘Give me a month in advance, I’ll grow it.’ And I remember, on the day I was like, ‘Do you want me to wear a merkin?’ Like, they’ve got some… I think it’s a bit unrealistic that she’s shaved.”

 It seems that even when having pubic hair would be more believable for the character, producers opt against it. Even with the actress fighting for the historical accuracy of it, they reject the suggestion. What’s most worrying is that while watching Game of Thrones, I’ve seen many characters come to gory, nasty ends. The show isn’t afraid to turn viewers off their dinner. So why is something that is perfectly natural, that everyone knows exists, considered too unsightly for even this show? Is it that important that all the women conform to 21st century standards of beauty to such an extent that accuracy is betrayed? It implies that having pubic hair is so unattractive that we should all be pretending it doesn’t grow at all. But it does. It’s yet another way in which the media perpetuates messages of body hating. It doesn’t even allow for the possibility that a woman might wish to keep it through personal preference before word reaches them that, nope, society does not approve the full bush.

At what point did pubic hair removal go from being a rarity to base level expectation? Can’t we feel the same way about vaginas as we do about cats: the standard editions come with a full coat of fur and there’s occasionally some novelty bald ones. If I’m going to wax it all off, I at least want that to be impressive.

I find the idea of minimal pubic hair as more sexual to be a little troubling, myself. Being that only pre-pubescent girls are naturally hairless down there, is it not a little weird that men want my vagina to resemble that of a child? I understand that for oral sex it might be more comfortable for the partner, but in terms of overall comfort, is it really more comfortable to be hairless? It keeps me warm, for a start. The process of hair removal in that particular area is more physically uncomfortable than simply leaving it. It seems to me that pubic hair removal is more about what men have been conditioned to find aesthetically pleasing, over and above anybody’s comfort.

As I’ve grown older, I think I’ve begun to recognise the importance of self. I think pubic hair is fine if you want it, fine if you don’t. It’s important that all choices are recognised and accepted. That said, there is enormous pressure on women from society to remove at least some pubic hair, and it seems unlikely that if that pressure were taken away a woman would choose to spend her precious pounds having hair ripped from intimate parts of her body. I wish I had known as a very stressy teen that not every woman is Brazilian waxing and that I have every right to style my vagina however I so wish. If I want to dreadlock my lady mane, that is my business. If only that had been communicated to me sooner. We need to talk about this more. So, what up Game of Thrones, how about some variety? How about a little open-mindedness?

Ladies, young and old, be proud of your vagina – no matter which choice you make. But, please, make sure it’s the choice you are comfortable with. If that means leaving it alone, so be it, and to hell with societal pressure.

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17 Comments

  1. Sally

     /  April 11, 2013

    HERE, HERE!

    Reply
  2. abbey

     /  April 11, 2013

    Could not agree more!!

    Reply
  3. cassey

     /  April 11, 2013

    I agree 100%. Because in the end, men will sleep with women no matter what they’ve got going on hair-wise. The human race is not going to cease to exist if we all let our pubic hair grow out. Biology trumps Cosmo, ladies.

    Reply
  4. Unfortunately, many men put serious pressure on women to shave, married or not. I know women with (male) partners who will refuse to have sex unless they are freshly shaven. No stubble! No hair at all, that’s GROSS. So these strong, wonderful women make appointments to have their hair ripped out to please the men. Its disgusting.

    Reply
  5. lookitsjulia

     /  April 12, 2013

    This is fantastic, thank you!

    Reply
  6. Dany

     /  May 19, 2013

    “I think it is fine if you want it, fine if you don’t.”

    I’m just going to write an essay on why it is the worst thing since Pearl Harbor though. Don’t mind me.

    Reply
  7. Mary

     /  May 30, 2013

    Great article! But I feel the need to comment to account for diversity. As a lesbian, Pubic hair has never been a source of discomfort during sex. It’s rather poignant that it seems to be, yet again, men dictating to women how their own bodies should look. Besides, how absurd would it be for individuals to demand men to shave their beards for kissing?

    Reply
  8. Hannah

     /  June 25, 2013

    I don’t see what the big deal is. Me and my boyfriend are the opposite of what you’re talking about here, I have pubic hair and he doesn’t. I asked him to have it permanently removed and he did it to make me happy. It is not as if I would dump him if he refused.

    How is it any worse than the million other things that people do for each other in a relationship? If a girl can’t stand up for herself if she really wants to keep her pubes, maybe she’s not ready for a relationship at all.

    Reply
    • Chris

       /  November 27, 2013

      I’m in the same situation as you Hannah. My girlfriend has pubic hair and I’m completely bare because she asked me to remove it. As long as it’s not forced upon your partner I can’t see the problem either, it’s just one of the things to make the other happy, and I’m looking into laser removal now.

      Reply
  9. Joanna

     /  December 3, 2013

    What a great post, you sound like a strong minded person and i couldn’t agree more, society expects that woman to be totally hairless or have as little pubic hair as possable has gone too far.

    Reply
  10. Joey

     /  December 9, 2013

    I was shocked and grossed-out the first time I heard someone (a liberal man-hater type) state; it is men who want woman shaved so as to make them look like “little girls”. To think this person’s thought process worked this way, making such sick assumptions, was more discussing than the theory itself!

    As a vagetarian, I can say that thought has never crossed my mind and has actually ruined the whole idea for me. To think there are people that think in those terms only is worrying. I have never met anyone who prefers a shone triangle even suggest it’s for the “pre-pube” association. I don’t think they are keeping it a dark secret either, as they have other reasonable, less offensive arguments for the shaved look.

    Some men (and woman) want their female friends to be clean downtown, but usually I find it’s the woman owner herself who seems to prefer it- and for her own reasons. At least that’s my experience…. and it’s too bad. Because I LOVE THE MUFF!

    There is nothing sexier and more beautifully female than a furry triangle. Natural is OK- in fact; even a sprawling patch can be naturally erotic…for me, and other I know. Some woman I know get very excited by the passion a man has for her such naturally feminine growth.

    But trimmed up just enough to keep the triangular shape and blend with smoothly shaved legs is my fave. Trimmed down in volume is nice too- not that it matters what I like- it’s up to the wearer. Oh, and lets not get into the leg shaving debate here.

    Yes- I LUFF THE MUFF! So much so, I hate and am so bored seeing the bald “pussy” (oxymoron), that it is becoming a turn-off. (just like tattoos have become a “fashion”- it may say something more about the persons desire to fit-in with the crowd) Just please understand that as a Vagetarian, there is nothing more heart-warming than having a nose buried in the soft tangled tuffs of a brunette bundle. Not only does it NOT interfere with lovemaking, but also the natural scent the hair retains helps fuel the fire. (No watermelon or soap scents please!)

    Join me with other men and woman who prefer their lovers (and those who insist on flashing the gash) to BRING BACK THE MUFF!!!

    G.J.

    PS- Ask me about how a woman’s unshaved armpits are the next most un-talked about sexual trigger for those who LOVE the MUFF…for obvious “similar looks” reasons. But as a major source of pheromones, is it any wonder they can be highly erogenous too?

    PPS- I am NOT European.

    Reply
  11. it´s a “fashion” thing, hairstyles come and go…

    Reply
  12. Karin

     /  May 7, 2014

    i encourage all females to stop shaving/waxing and grow out theit pubic hair to a full natural bush. i did this 2012 and it was a great liberation.

    Reply
    • Hannah

       /  July 9, 2014

      If it was a great liberation, then you definitely did the right thing. Personally I’ve never shaved my pubic hair. But you do understand that the vast majority of women (and men) that shave do it because they want to themselves and don’t think it is any hassle at all. So they won’t feel liberated by growing out their bush.

      It’s obvious of course, but sometimes I get a vibe that some feminists actually think that most women are forced to shave against their will, and find themselves in it.

      Reply
  13. I’m a man, and I really think that only a certain immature subset of men insist upon a woman shaving it all off, so women shouldn’t think that all men think this way. Most men appreciate the beauty of what grows naturally. That said, grooming is nice, too. It sends a message that a woman thinks about taking care of herself. Having pubic hair is a turn-on, in my opinion. It draws the eye to it, and when a woman stands with her legs together, it even looks a bit like an arrow pointing down, to what is hidden beneath. During oral sex, it retains the mixed scent of sweat and arousal. When your nose is right in it, it is probably the most powerful aphrodisiac I can think of. It is like a drug that goes right to a man’s brain and heightens his arousal even further. Leave the hair!

    My wife and I both have similar grooming rituals. She shaves up to the bikini line so nothing sticks out the sides of her panties, but after that, we both use a beard trimmer on our hair. We let it grow wherever it grows, but we keep it short. The result is a neat look, but it also feels nice against our faces and allows labia to show through on a woman, and a man’s penis to look a bit larger.

    Reply

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