Leave me and my 70s-style bush alone
No one should be shamed into shaving
Image Courtesy of virin000, Pixabay
by Parel Wilmering
Until about a year and a half ago, I was, well… proud of my pubes. After the first shock, when my body first started to grow pubic hair, I had tried a few different hairstyles, from having my mons pubis feel like a plucked chicken to doing that thing where you leave a small triangle of hair right above the start of your labia. Finally, I decided that that just wasn’t for me, and I grew it all out, like an early-1970s hippie. At some point, I also grew out my armpit hair and, frankly, I loved the aesthetic: I felt like a strong, independent, free-spirited, bisexual feminist. Until I ended up in bed with a guy who felt a little different about my pubes and I was made to feel so uncomfortable that I shaved them off the next day.
Porn is very often blamed for the bald-genitalia-epidemic, as professional porn stars (both female and male) are pretty much always that - bald. Porn stars, however, are bald simply for the reason that it is easier to film: more detail can be seen when there isn’t a bush blocking the view. It has been argued that since people get off to this kind of porn, they see it as sexy and, in their mind, it becomes the norm. While body image and self-confidence are definitely influenced by porn, I would also like to point out another cause: pressure from either peers or, more often, sexual partners.
The guy I mentioned before only had to say “oh, you don’t shave” in a disappointed voice and that was already enough to make me feel like I was not good enough for him.
We then continued to discuss the subject and he started listing all kinds of reasons why I should shave. He was constantly reminding me that I should do what I want, when that was clearly only the case if what I wanted to do was shave.
One of the things he mentioned was hygiene, and that seems fair. Why would shaving your pubic hair be any different from cutting your nails or taking a shower? Nail growth as well as your body producing oils and sweat are both natural functions, just like the growth of pubic hair. However, you cut your nails because if you don’t, you might hurt your partner. Showering is something you can do together, make it a bit sensual. Have you ever had a sensual mutual shaving session with someone? Has your pubic hair ever physically hurt someone? Besides, it is not true that shaving off your pubes is more hygienic.
According to the NHS, people with vaginas who shave are more likely to get infections, as the pubes are not there to act as a barrier, as well as skin irritation and damage.
Of course, there is still the issue of hairs getting in your mouth, which is not very pleasant either. But even something like that, in a world in which pubic hair is normalised, could become something that is sometimes just part of having sex (just like making out with someone who has a beard is not always as comfortable).
Then there is also the aesthetic aspect of shaving one’s pubic hair. You could say having bald genitalia is the beauty standard now, but beauty standards change. During the early 2000s we really did think that over-plucked brows were gorgeous, and now we don’t. Clark Gable moustaches were once very fashionable, and now they’re not. Hell, people even used to think metre-high grey wigs looked flattering.
Like these trends, removing your pubic hair is simply another thing that’s en vogue.
We can get over it. And we should, because there are many reasons why people do not like to remove their pubic hair.
Regardless of these reasons, we should not shame people into doing something they are not comfortable with. This is not to say that you should stop removing your pubes immediately after you finish reading this article if you don’t want to. If you want to shave, for whatever reason, for yourself or if you know your partner prefers it that way and it makes you happy to see them happy, it’s completely fine. As long as you’re not being shamed into making that decision by anyone, because no one has the right to make you feel unworthy of affection simply because you have some hair between your legs.