When pubic hair becomes a lifestyle choice

<i></i>

It seems the Brazilian is over with its less appreciated cousin, the fur coat, back in the game. With proud bushes sprouting up everywhere from American Apparel to Lena Dunham's Girls to photographic projects and even Cameron Diaz’s debut book, the free-and-easy look is de jour once more.

I can’t remember the first time I endured the torture of a bikini wax. I imagine I blocked the experience from my memory as a means of warding off PTSD.

Because no matter what your pubic stylist tells you, it does not become less painful with time. The hair does not grow back thinner and finer, as if with enough visits you’ll suddenly find that it all disappears in a puff of smoke. You do not get “four to six weeks” of respite until wispy fuzz begins to appear on the common. Your pubes will not return as a fine layer of powdered snow on a gentle ground cast glistening under the stillness of a winter’s starry sky.

Artist Petra Collins was deleted from Instagram because of this image of a model with, shock, pubic hair. Image via dailydot.com

Artist Petra Collins was deleted from Instagram because of this image of a model with, shock, pubic hair. Image via dailydot.com

If you’re lucky, you’ll get four to six days of hairlessness that, while temporarily smooth, makes your downstairs look like a plucked spatchcock.

But look, that’s just my experience. And far be it from me to advise other women against it. Hair, or the lack thereof, is a personal choice. Strip yourself bare or go full wilderness - whatever makes you happy. It’s your spatchcock, after all.

And so while I personally embrace news that the Brazilian torture industry is on its way out, I’m less enthusiastic about the reasons why. Unfortunately, attempts to reinstate the popularity of hair while redefining it as fashionable are just as silly as previous attempts to make it Verboten - especially when that advocacy is coming from companies whose ultimate goal is to make money.

Sure, American Apparel’s creative director sounds good when she says, “everybody’s got it all backward. Pubic hair isn’t a trend, removing it is. It’s like everybody’s suddenly acting like having hair is a new idea.”

Isn’t that refreshingly progressive? I mean, doesn’t that just sound like American Apparel is the kind of au naturale company that loves women and supports their natural bodies? And wouldn’t those natural bodies just look so great in the ‘semitransparent mesh lingerie’ American Apparel are selling for Valentine’s Day? It’s not as if American Apparel has had a heinous history of sexualising women’s bodies, or being dictatorial about the limited expressions of beauty demanded in their retail staff.

The problem with taking a fairly mundane activity - in this case, removing or growing hair that naturally appears on your pubic area in varying levels of ferocity - and fetishising a particular expression of it is that it still forces women to operate in the shame economy that is the beauty industry.

Instead of allowing them to live in their bodies as they see fit, free of judgment from others, their choices are still up for discussion by people with exactly zero to do with them.

Now we have well respected, progressive comics like Rob Delaney saying he was ‘horrified’ when he first saw a bald vagina - as if the contemplation of women’s bodies by men has been a field sorely underrepresented.

Meanwhile, the natural look is now being lauded as the domain of ‘eco- and health-minded women’, with Angela Kia Kim (owner of Savor Spa in the West Village) telling the New York Times, ‘the grown look certainly suits a girl who is more au naturel’. Because how you treat your pubic hair is clearly a reflection on your depth and values as a human being - especially when accompanied by the kind of class privilege that can see you afford regular visits to an upmarket New York spa.

In or out, proud or shrouded, I don’t care. It’s just hair and what you choose to do with it has no reflection on your worth as a person. As long as that choice is being informed by your desires and no one else’s, who cares whether or not you like to lay naked in the wind or hide your light under a bushel?

60 comments

  • Nothing to be said really . Its a case of hair today gone tomorrow . Or in this case the other way round .

    Commenter
    Paul v Walters
    Location
    Bali
    Date and time
    February 04, 2014, 8:19AM
    • I really don't care what everyone else does with their pubes. What I REALLY can't stand is men that deliver ultimatums about pubic hair free zones or worse say that it is 'cleaner'. I have had both and I never felt 'cleaner' without hair because I was never dirty to begin with! What a bunch of BS. I guess I'm a jerk free zone so I didn't have to suffer these fools very long and as you said Clem- It's your spatchcock!!

      Commenter
      Boogiewoogie
      Date and time
      February 04, 2014, 8:34AM
      • It's the fault of men that you slather hot wax on your pubes and get them pulled out by the roots? About time women took a bit of personal responsibility for their own decisions.

        Commenter
        Laki (a man)
        Location
        Melb
        Date and time
        February 04, 2014, 12:13PM
      • A guy I used to date told me he wanted me to get a Brazilian. I told him I would go the second he booked a double appointment to get himself a "back, crack and sack" at the same time. Last I ever heard of it ;)

        Commenter
        Red Pony
        Date and time
        February 04, 2014, 1:02PM
    • The beauty industry certainly is a 'shame economy'. But how has this been allowed to develop? Through the exploitation of weakness in women? Why is there not the same degree of beauty industry for men? I know there is growing resistance to fat shaming and encouragement of women to stop hating their bodies, but at the same time, cosmetic surgery such as breast enlargement continues to grow.

      Middle aged female friends of mine embraced the brazilian (so they told me) or at least, the landing strip. But this wasn't done to please themselves, because there is no pleasure in it, only pain, as you point out. Who was it for? Men. And is pubic hair now back because sufficient men want to see women's genitals appearing like they belong to a post-pubescent woman?

      What is it with women and their bodies.

      Commenter
      rudy
      Date and time
      February 04, 2014, 8:45AM
      • Please, for the love of cunnilingus, don't throw away the scissors, razors and wax.

        Commenter
        ArnB
        Location
        Funky Town
        Date and time
        February 04, 2014, 8:54AM
        • So, does this mean you wax off ALL of your pubic hair before expecting to get a BJ from your lady friend?

          Commenter
          Red Pony
          Date and time
          February 04, 2014, 3:02PM
        • Shearing equipment is totally unnecessary for the enjoyment of said culinary delight. If you're that fussy about it, you don't deserve the opportunity.

          Commenter
          alto
          Date and time
          February 04, 2014, 3:11PM
      • Speaking as a straight guy, I love the 'natural' look. Please don't do anything bizarre ladies. Your cute hair down there makes you sexier, more enticing as well as somehow more feminine and lovely. Stay as sweet as mother nature made you...please!

        Commenter
        Lushan
        Date and time
        February 04, 2014, 9:10AM
        • Can we stop turning perfectly healthy men and women into pre-teens with all this waxing? PLEASE? Adults have some body hair......

          Commenter
          shemp
          Location
          melb
          Date and time
          February 04, 2014, 9:16AM

          More comments

          Comments are now closed