Sunday, December 9, 2012

50 Shades of the Pink Fibro

It's been a long time since I've written about pubic hair. Partly because it seems to have been a long time since anyone had any - or so some sections of the media would have us believe - and partly because my days at CLEO are long behind me. But today as I was tweeting lazily with some of my favourite Twitter folk, I happened to ask Mrs Woog at Woogsworld to set me a topic for today's post.

Her response?


There was a time when such a brief would have been part of my daily life. Those were the days in which I was writing everything from scripts for Role Plays for the Bedroom (sealed section), to road-testing faux leather Catwoman outfits complete with cat-o-nine tails and underpants with far too little fabric, to ultimate guides to blow jobs, to (one of my personal faves...) 'Your Vagina: What's normal, What's not', to ... well, you get the idea. My mum was very proud.

At the time, it was fun and silly and we figured it was allowing women to get in touch with the playful side of their sexuality. Or something. Then 50 Shades of Grey came out and every woman I know went to pieces at the things they'd 'learned' from the book, and I wondered where they'd all been for the past 25 years. I'm pretty sure that, between them, CLEO and Cosmo covered off a lot of that territory, though they may have drawn the line at 'Paddle Your Way to Pleasure' or 'Paint Your Room Red: the ultimate guide to BDSM'. Then again, I haven't seen a sealed section in a while, so I could be wrong about that...

Anyhoo. Where was I? Oh yes, pubic hair. When I was doing some preliminary research for an excellent book idea* once, I had the opportunity to discuss the whole Brazilian wax concept with a marketing expert. He said to me, "Ask any woman why she does it and she'll tell you it's 'cleaner' and 'more comfortable'? She'd never admit that it was all about Social Identity, about being part of a group." I tested his theory. He was right. Every woman I asked gave the same response. Even when I said 'But... the pain?', I was assured that 'it got better the more you did it'.

So somewhere along the line, we all became part of the Porn Star social group and the 'Hello boys, how do you like me so far?' approach to pubic beauty became the norm.

Personally, I have no problem with it. Anyone who wishes to take it all off should do so with impunity. Given that denim shorts are now riding somewhere around the ribcage, I can see where a pubic hair might ruin the line, so to speak. Where I do object to it, however, is in the example to young women. And younger girls.

I read somewhere that there are men in the early 20s who've never experienced the joy of fishing a stray pube from their teeth. Because they've never seen a stray pube. Ever. Warning bells begin to ring loudly at this point.

Then, in conversation with my delightful beauty therapist, comes the news that mothers are taking their teenage daughters - under 16 - to salons for Brazilians. Um, seriously. How many pubes do you even have at that age? My delightful beauty therapist will not perform Brazilians on girls that young, but there are, apparently, many that will.

Okay, it's hair, it grows back. I get that. But we are setting precedents, saying that pubic hair is Not Okay. Why is something that, generally speaking, is seen by few people in your life anyway Not Okay? Do I want my boys growing up in a world where pubic hair on woman is Not Okay? Er, no, I'm not okay with that.

Being a journalist, I went looking for a reason for pubic hair. Surely, it's not just there to set up 'Collar and Cuffs' jokes? I needed an expert. There's always an expert. I even managed to find a few for the infamous Hairy Armpits story.

Over at Salon.com, there's a whole article about how waxing (and particularly shaving, which makes my eyes cross when I consider it within the frame of a Brazilian) creates opportunity for infection (take that 'cleaner'!) and that it provides 'cushioning' from friction (take that 'comfortable'). There are also thoughts on how the pubes trap pheromones, making us sexually attractive to others.  

I still believe that Brazilians are a matter of choice. Whether a woman deafforests her Map of Tassie is entirely her own business. But I also believe that young women need to be aware that it's not the only choice.

In fact, I foresee a future in which those thick, luxuriant bushes of the 1970s make a comeback. If only for the shock factor alone.

*Excellent book idea not entirely abandoned

photo credit: fatboyke (Luc) via photopin cc

20 comments:

  1. I was *thinking* about asking the Twittersphere for an idea of what to write about today (having a bad bout of blogger's-block this week) and... Boy.... Am I glad I didn't.

    That said, I'm going to buck the trend and say, in black and white, that I don't wax. Not anymore. Never again. I understand the appeal of a bikini wax or even a light trim - hey, no one wants that stray pubic hair on the edge of their bathers (or in the teeth) - but a full wax that, by design, makes a grown woman look like a pre-pubescent GIRL? Um... Nay.

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  2. I've never even had my legs waxed let alone anywhere else. But then, I'm a bogan. Correction, a hairy bogan.

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  3. How is a Brazillian 'more comfortable', FFS? Not even just the doing of it (which, as we all know is the most comfortable experience a woman can have), but the regrowth - the itchy fucking regrowth - necessary to go back for another comfortable wax job? Not comforablle. Not even close. x

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  4. I just saw your pillow cases in your 'follow up blog post' (sidebar). I have those exact pillow cases. And Max and Noah are independently both allocated to play trombone next year.

    Families are freaky business.
    x

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  5. Is it really any different to women choosing to shave their legs or armpits? I'm pretty sure the same infection/pheromones argument could be raised for under the arms yet I don't see many women leaving that hair to grow free. It's definitely personal choice, and although uncomfortable for the 20 minutes of the *ahem* procedure, is a far better choice than shaving or worse still doing nothing at all in my experience.

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  6. Funny thing is whilst a Brazilian implies the whole lot off when you go they do ask if you want anything left down there.. I have actually been lasered (and not the whole hog)... more painful than waxing but 6 goes and never a stray pubic hair out the swimmers again!.
    That was 10 years ago and back then there were girls coming in for the whole lot off, Now THAT freaked me.. imagine being 60+ with no hair down there!

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    1. Ha ha Tessa - I go the everything off thing but while I have considered getting the bikini line lasered, the thought of EVERYTHING lasered is a bit too permanent. And yes, I too thought "imagine being 60 with nothing down there!)

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  7. I completely agree that what a grown woman does with her map of Tassie is entirely her own business but I do worry that it seems to be yet another norm or requirement for the young girls. And in exposing the bits, to view, it has to be contributing to the new trend for young girls to have surgery on their labia. I kid you not, there are women (and again, more worryingly, girls as young as 16) having surgery on their labia to make them 'prettier'. God give me strength. How far can the mania for uniformity go?

    Sorry, I know this was probably supposed to be a bit more light-heated than this, but when I saw that doco I was so saddened and horrified and it seems it is a lasting impression. By all means, change your clothes and hair and even pierce things if you want. But surgery on something only a few people will ever see seems a level of paranoia about looks that's gone well beyond a joke.

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    1. I saw the same doco and was equally horrified, as were all my girlfriends when we discussed these issues during dinner one night. The social pressures leading young girls and women to resort to surgery are the same ones leading so many to the Brazilian - overexposure of young men to pornography on the internet, social media and social pressure to match the "ideal" sexuality. Parents have a lot of work ahead of them to counteract these new "ideals", for sure!!

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    2. How does one actually know that one's labia isn't pretty? What is the benchmark for a good-looking va-ja-ja? x

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  8. I completely agree, it sets a bad precedent for young girls to be getting brazilians. Growing pubes is a right of passage for becoming an adult, and if they hold on to their shiny vagineys well into adulthood like some kind of security blanket, I think it's bound to lead to problems later on (in terms of expectations ... when do you embrace your pubes? When you're 40? 50? 60?). Let go kiddies, embrace your inner tigress. Likewise for young men.
    In the wise words of Bing Crosby, let it grow, let it grow, let it grow. Or something.

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  9. I wrote about this once and unearthed some research suggesting its popularity is due to increased cultural pressures. I've had to reconsider my own "hairstyle" lest I influence my own kids. I am so far from okay with waxing an 11 year old.

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  10. I'm not a fan of the Brazilian trend for a couple of reasons - some which you've outlined so articulately here! - but the main reason being that I find it a little creepy that many lads have a preference for no hair on a lady, which borders on a pre-pubescent sexual association (yep, paedophila). I think that would not a healthy norm for our culture. A full lady is natural earthy woman - which SHOULD be the most sexiest site of all. :)

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  11. Oh I love this!
    I think that I would use the word 'tidy' to describe my preferance. I mean who wants to worry about if their pubes are hanging out? But I have always known that it isn't 'cleaner' that pubic hair actually helps prevent things getting in. I guess like a wool jumper?
    I also agree with the comments from readers about how it does link too closely to paedophila. I think it gives the feeling of a "girls" body vs. a womans, and a girls body isn't something that should be sexualised at all for any reason.
    I too worry about the world my boys may be growing up in. I don't think it's just men that objectify us, but we do it to ourselves too.

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  12. I didn't realise pubic hair had become so taboo!
    I agree that I think it is creepy that many guys prefer no hair on a lady.

    I always thought it was womanly to have pubic hair - isn't it?
    I am extremely womanly, thank you very much.
    And I will not be taking my daughter for a brazilian at the age of 16!

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  13. I too am concerned about what all this brazillian pressure says to our young girls, it's not ok for them to think it's wrong to have pubic hair but the pressure is now not only on them but our young teenage boys! More and more beautiful young teenage boys I know are rushing to shave/wax chests, legs, butts!

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  14. Urgh I am not ok with the no pubes on women thing becoming so much the norm. I couldn't agree more with the commenter Imelda who makes the connection to labioplasty.So awful. Go the hair, it protects your precious sensitive bits. I tidy up the creeping pubes that run halfway down my legs but I wish I was brave enough to let it all hang out. Maybe I will start to.

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    Replies
    1. Not sure if labioplasty is even a thing but you know what I mean.

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  15. I ventured to Germany when I was 17 where girls and boys were equally hairy. I haven't looked back. So glad I am not 'on the scene' these days. I reckon I would shock a few of those pube virgins :-) x

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