I remember the very day I started to feel ashamed of my pubic hair. I was 15, and girls at school were talking about shaving their bits because “guys thought it was gross.”
Up until that point, I’d been beaming with pride over my wiry patch of new pubic hair because of what it represented — a welcoming into womanhood. And as a late bloomer, I was eager to find my seat at the lady table, and pubic hair was my ticket in.
But regardless of all that, the only people I wanted to impress even more desperately than girls my own age were boys my own age. So without a second thought, I quickly learned to loathe that part of my body.
Just over a decade later, I found myself (last week) talking to a male friend about a girl he’d recently started sleeping with. I asked what she was like and his eyes lit up and his voice lowered as he half-whispered that “she has a full-on bush,” as if her pubic hair had come from the black market instead of her own follicles.
“I’ve never seen that before on a chick,” he smiled. My friend, a week away from 30, had never, in his entire existence, come across a woman with a single scrap of pubic hair.
He found the whole concept foreign and exciting, as if he were only now seeing a woman naked for the first time.
I was dumbfounded. How is that even possible? Surely at some point he’d come across some pubic hair. Maybe as a teenager? In between waxes? When the can of Nair had run out?
But he looked adamant. “I’m telling you, Kristie. Never as in never ever.”
A post shared by KRISTIE MERCER TheThinkergirls (@kristiemercer) on Mar 23, 2016 at 3:19am PDT
And then I started to feel incredibly sad. Sad because I realized literally nothing is sacred, not even the single body part that defines you as a woman.
The do’s and don’ts of fashion don’t pertain just to handbags and high heels: Even our genitals fall victim to style trends. If the current pubic fashion had a double-page spread in Vogue, it would read, “Bald: because the way it looks naturally is gross so fix it.”
Research suggests that pubic hair removal is increasingly the norm in Australia, especially over the past 20 years, with 60 percent of young Australian women removing some pubic hair and 48 percent removing all of it.
But the last few decades aren’t the first time in history we’ve seen chicks rocking bald bits, women have been shaving downstairs since ancient Greece and Egypt.
Hieroglyphics depict women with small triangles of pubic hair and the metal razors they used to trim it. Ancient Greek women removed hair because they believed it to be “uncivilized,” with Greek sculptors and artists depicting women constantly with a fresh Nair job, i.e. completely hairless.
Of course, the motivator back in the day was a much more practical one — to stop the spread of genital lice — whereas these days, increasing attractiveness, cleanliness and pleasing a partner remain the top reasons cited for a #hairfreelyf.
Of course, I wasn’t thinking about any of this before my first Brazilian wax at 17. In fact, I wasn’t thinking much of anything but “How much of my college fund will I have to spend here?”
Looking back now, the decision was so unconscious. You don’t ask yourself why or what it means, you just hedge a bet that by following the masses, you’ll somehow be more accepted.
A post shared by KRISTIE MERCER TheThinkergirls (@kristiemercer) on Nov 1, 2016 at 11:33pm PDT
And these days, it’s much easier to make that unconscious decision a whole lot more permanent, with laser hair removal fast becoming the norm.
Back in 2012, $773 million was spent on non-invasive cosmetic procedures like laser, and it’s only set to increase, with the global market estimated to reach $3.6 billion by 2020.
It’s no wonder gals rocking pubic hair are becoming as rare as … well, a gal rocking pubic hair.
When dudes were asked how they preferred their partners to style their lady-bush in a recent study by the Journal of Sexual Medicine, 60 percent of them answered “hair-free.”
But let me pose you this philosophical question: How do they actually know that for sure if they’ve never even seen a single woman with hair, like my friend?
It’s a bit like how I used to hate oysters even though I’d never actually tried one. I now love oysters, my mate loves pubic hair and the world is a better place for it.