Pubic hair is the thatch of curlies that grows around your gennies and lets you know that you are a grown-up now. You can do all kinds of things with it, including but not limited to: waxing, shaving, dyeing, plucking, shaping, straightening, lasering, braiding, and nothing.
For various reasons, our culture is UHHUBSESSED with how many pubic hairs other people have—especially when those people are women—and that obsession has inspired a significant backlash among women who feel that they shouldn't be shamed for letting their genitals do WHAT GENITALS DO, just because porno cameras are too stupid to look around corners. But then there's also been a backlash to the backlash, wherein other women feel like waxing definitely counts as "doing something with one's own genitals" and is therefore JUST as feminist an act as saving the proverbial rainforests, so could everyone please get off my mons already so I can eat my cheesy Bugles in peace!? And at that point, literally everyone is shamed for literally anything that they decide to do with their down-under thunder, and nobody is happy, and we have to fucking talk talk talk talk talk about it all the goddamn time. INSTEAD, HOW ABOUT NOT. PASS THE BUGLES.
Personally, I do think that women's pubic hair is political. I think that the widespread push for crotchal deforestation is a shame-based arm of the beauty industry that keeps women dumping cash into an endless hair-removal profit pipeline. I think body hair has a legitimate place in academic discussions of modern beauty standards. HOWEVER, I also don't give a shiiiiiiiit what other people do with their genitals. As my jazz-dad used to say about the rock 'n' roll music, I can't imagine being so bored.
And whatever! I participate in HELLA BEAUTY MYTH SHIT. Because it's fun. And if I eschewed every single behavior and pop cultural phenomenon that undermined my feminism, I'd have to just sit in a refrigerator box at the bottom of a well and write my own Judith Butler fanfic. Except even that wouldn't count, because it'd be tainted by my own internalized misogyny, and also wells are phallic and REFRIGERATORS ARE A SYMBOL OF FEMALE SERVITUDE. Instead, you just have to choose which problematic-but-enjoyable stuff is worth it to you, and then swallow it with a long cool glass of critical thinking.
So, at the very least, can we quit it with all this kind of presumptuous, speculative back-and-forth?
It's a cruel analogy, but the staunch defence of hairy fannies reminds me of very overweight over-eaters who say they're "happy as they are". What I think they mean is that they're happy to remain overweight because it's preferable to denying themselves lots of delicious food. But if people could eat whatever they wanted without gaining weight, they'd do so in a heartbeat.
When women say pubic hair should be left untamed, I take this to mean that they'd prefer to not to have the extreme pressure, shame or embarrassment society makes us feel for having it, while simultaneously wanting to avoid the costly and torturous battle of constantly trying to keep it at bay. But what if women could have their metaphorical cake and eat it? What if the hassle of removing body hair was no longer a valid argument in the debate? If you could wave a magic wand and be hair free for life, would you keep your pubes or banish them?
I DON'T KNOW, MAN. I REALLY DON'T THINK ABOUT IT AS MUCH AS YOU DO. And, if the legally binding Twitter poll I just did is any indication, most of the people I know don't either:
@thelindywest Nope. No pubes would weird me out a bit, but overall, nope.
— Aliki Chapple (@amaenad) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest If it’s not in the shape of a Looney Tunes character, I’m outta there.
— Mary Worrell (@pickledtreats) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest I do not care at all. All I care about is HEY I GET TO DO STUFF WITH THIS CUTE NAKED GUY
— Ashley (@hohnsters) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest DO NOT CARE and neither does my partner.
— Jessica Baxter (@tehbaxter) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest In all seriousness, I don't care at all. Basic hygiene is enough.
— Kayleejayne (@kayleejaynetodd) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest I will admit that a smooth shave on a partner can be hot. It is not a thing I would request.
— Jeremy Dunn (@TheMadBaker61) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest as long as it doesn't get in the way of any sexy things and they don't have terrible hygiene IDGAF
— RAW (@msnovapraeda) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest i do not give a single shit as long as he showers and he feels the same
— ๓เ๔เ קгเภςєรร (@haley) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest I think caring all that much about a partner's pubic hair is a kink no one is willing to admit is a kink.
— HeatherN (@hrn212) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest I think as long as you can get to the goods, it doesn't really matter.
— Tara Dublin For Hire (@taradublinrocks) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest clean and not a jungle (ie. trimmed sometime in the last 4-6 weeks). That's as specific as I get.
— Allison Herzog (@AllisonZog) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest I like to see my initials, topiary-style.
— Ana Gasteyer (@AnaGasteyer) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest I tell my partners to do what they like.
— Casey Lawrence (@xmrblondex) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest if one has a SERIOUS problem with pubic hair, one should not be having sex with adults. Or, by default, anyone else.
— Joe Gross (@joegross) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest shaved into the shape of a pizza
— Beth Dean (@bethdean) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest as long as it's not out of control crazy, I really don't care.
— ingopixel (@ingopixel) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest No, as long as he likes what is down there, so do I.
— Brandi Lacy (@brandilacy) January 22, 2014
— gretchen (@slayedest) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest Maybe I'm a boring married guy, but while I would notice a change, it really isn't something I care about.
— Greg Gilbraith (@GeeCaret2) January 22, 2014
@thelindywest I don't give an absolute dog's tits. Peace.
— Jessica Macdonald (@Yevalnud) January 22, 2014
There. Okay? I know my sample is skewed by the fact that it's all people who follow a feminazi like me on Twitter, but it makes one thing perfectly clear: Pubic hair is personal. When it comes to thinking/feeling/behaving in regards to your pubic hair, HERE ARE ALL OF YOUR OPTIONS:
1. You find your own pubic hair uncomfortable or itchy or it gives you yeast infections or something. You get rid of your pubic hair.
2. You find your own pubic hair disgusting or you feel especially sexy without pubic hair, and you recognize that these preferences might have something to do with decades of imposed cultural shaming but you're totally fine with that. You get rid of your pubic hair.
3. You think certain configurations of pubic hair (or lack thereof) are pretty hot, but it's not a dealbreaker or anything, so maybe you mention it to new partners and they're into it or maybe they're not and either way you love having sex with them the end.
4. You find certain configurations of pubic hair (or lack thereof) sexually arousing to the point that you cannot have a satisfying sexual relationship without them, because you have a legit kink/fetish. You inform your partners about this in an honest and non-shamey way and hopefully you eventually find someone who will oblige you and/or has a complementary kink.
5. You have strong preferences (and/or kinks) about certain configurations of pubic hair (or lack thereof) and you are a complete fucking asshole to partners about it and tell them their natural anatomy is "gross," or their decision to go bare makes you feel like a "pedophile," or some stupid bullshit like that. You die alone.
Options #1 through #4 are TOTALLY LEGIT BEHAVIORS FOR HUMAN BEINGS. The only one that you must not do is #5. Everyone happy? Now PUBE OUT, FOOLS.
Image by Jim Cooke.