Our admiration for Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing grows with each passing day. Not only is she amazingly forthright, she also fought American publishers for the right to describe a woman's armpit hair in minute detail. In addition, she thoroughly relished writing about pubes! The American Prospect quotes from Lessing's memoir, Under My Skin:

When I wrote [classic novel 'The Golden Notebook'], for a long time I hesitated about describing the [heroine's] joy in her pubic hair, young and glossy, and growing in three perfect little swirls. But I knew there would be a fuss and if this was a question of principle, then it wasn't my principle.

Later, in the 1970s, I wrote a story called One off the Short List, and in it a woman is described as having golden fringes of underarm hair. An American publisher, and then magazines, would not print the story because of that hair. Yet in America you might describe any killings, tortures, rapes, horrors of war, cruelties. Not underarm hair in a story about seduction and sex. But I insisted, for by then, it was a matter of principle.


Jezebels will always applaud standing up for your principles, Doris. Especially when it involves saying fuck discretion.

When Writing the Personal Was Revolutionary [The American Prospect]