LET’S TALK ABOUT PUBES.

Yes hello, we’re talking about pubes.

The bush, the lady garden, the bearded clam.

The little talked about taboo growing between the legs of every single person who’s passed through puberty.

More specifically, we’re talking about the pubes growing between the legs of all those women that have passed through puberty.

The pubes that are, from an early age, shaved, waxed, trimmed, lasered and plucked or else hidden away shamefully in order to keep up with the societal pressures forced on women by a society that does not and has not celebrate the female form in all of it’s natural glory.

Pubes remain something spoken about in relatively hushed tones, a private matter that, whether because of their association with female pleasure, an area in which there is still an enormous disparity, or else hygiene and cleanliness, are still shrouded in a thinly veiled cloak of shame.

The associations are still wildly negative and for all of the unlearning we have been able to do surrounding the areas of of our bodies historically not celebrated by our society, the connotations attached to pubic hair have proven hard to shake off.

The cellulite on the back of my legs, the deep crevice dividing my stomach and the soft excess of flesh cocooning the straps of my sports bras have all been well and truly championed, both by my mind and the supportive community I have found myself a part of on Instagram.

In all of it’s glory my body is something that I have learned to love. Soft and strong. Fierce and feminine. Perfectly imperfect. Until that is, I take my pants off.

It’s not bad. It’s just a bit, ugh. You know?

Even with regular maintenance, by my reckoning I’ve probably only got a six day window after the apres-waxing redness calms down and I stop looking like I’ve smuggled the last turkey in the shop down my trousers, when it looks “nice”, before it all starts growing back; itchy and irritating, a bit red and bumpy as the ingrowing hairs bubble to the surface, leaving my pubic bone looking like a teenager’s chin.

Porn stars never have to put up with this shit, I think.

And therein lies the problem.

Porn stars and their beautiful bald vulvas.

Although the full bush look is something that I actually consider to be incredibly beautiful; a sign of strength and beauty and artistic femininity, that’s something that’s only really come to me relatively recently.

I used to think it was a bit gross. I watched a human head appearing from the biggest mass of dark hair imaginable as a young teenager in a 1980s VCR recording of childbirth to be shown to students in year seven biology and concluded that pubes were not only dated but something that should only appear when your children do.

I had my first bikini wax at 15 which came about quite simply because my friends were all doing it. Ironically I was sure that removing all of the hair that signified adulthood would make me look and feel a lot more mature.

Quite simply I did not think that pubic hair was attractive. I didn’t think it was beautiful. Or feminine. I thought it was ugly and a bit gross and something that would make me wildly unattractive to the boys that I held at the highest regard. I wasn’t flashing my vag to them, and I’d come to learn that they didn’t really care anyway, but I didn’t know this yet.

I’ve subsequently learned that your vagina could have dyed orange dreadlocks and a voice like Alan Carr and there would still be men tripping over themselves to catch a glimpse. I wrote a lot about this in my book and it was a relieving realisation.

Porn made us feel that in order to be considered attractive, we would be totally hairless, an idea that was compounded by the advertising industry, photoshopping models to appear totally smooth from the eyebrows down, with even hair removal adverts lacking something I’d have thought to be a fairly vital component: hair.

Although when I put the question to my Instagram stories I discovered that there were a lot of women who had bowed down to the pressure put on them by ex boyfriends (exes for a reason, clearly) and removed their pubic hair, the vast majority told me that their boyfriends didn’t care. Love, it would seem, is thicker than pubic hair.

Of the 1000 people that replied, 75% told me that they removed their pubes in some capacity. Although their boyfriends didn’t care, a lot of people said they felt better in themselves when they did it.

I understand this. I think I feel better in myself when I remove it too (for six days at least). And I like this idea that women are doing it for themselves, without the need for male validation.

But I’m hard pushed believing that the fact we are made to feel better about ourselves because of a lack of hair between our legs is an overwhelmingly positive thing in the scheme of life.

If the world started again tomorrow and we all awoke with absolutely no memory of any of the bizarre societal pressure that existed in our previous lives, would we be rushing to give our hard-earned money to strangers in exchange for a smattering of hot wax to be applied to our vulvas in order to feel… better??

That’s a firm no.

If the world started again tomorrow I’m almost entirely sure we’d all be way too busy living happy and fulfilling and equal lives to give a second thought to our pubes.

We feel better when they’re not there because entrenched in our belief system is the idea that we are more attractive without it. Or more hygienic. Or prettier, younger, sexier, or more likely to cure cancer without our pesky pubes always in the way.

For as many messages as I had telling me that they removed it for hygiene reasons, I had just as many telling me that they kept it for the same reason.

This is a conversation rife with misconceptions.

I’ve been offered heaps of advice; exfoliate! trim! laser! epilate! pluck out ingrowing hairs! leave ingrowing hairs! close your eyes, make sure your vagina is pointing northwards and recite the Lord’s Prayer three times whilst rotating your hips in a clockwise direction!!!

I’ve read numerous misjudged articles appearing in women’s magazine and I now know that no matter how empowering a publication thinks they’re being for using the word VAGINA unashamedly, these pieces mostly just serve to sell us products we don’t need and give us body hangups that we could 100% do without… by the way.

We live in a society that profits from our insecurities and the confusion surrounding body hair and the dos and don’ts are seeing countless cooperations cashing in.

The final frontier in the body confidence movement; pubes are something that even the most wildly accepting corners of our society are yet to openly celebrate.

I’m in awe of anyone brave enough to bring back the bush publicly. To see an unedited, unashamed photograph featuring pubic hair is something that, despite my feminism and forays into the world of self love and body confidence, I still consider to be utterly radical.

Pubic hair, to my mind is still tied up within the conversation of female pleasure, of cleanliness, and of shame and as long as these are issues that remain unresolved, my local waxing parlour are going to continue to make a fortune out of me.

Growing out your pubic hair should not be a radically feminist act, and yet, to me at least it feels like it is. Although in the confides of our own relationships, gym changing rooms and knickers during the long January nights, harbouring a few pubes is so not even slightly a big deal, to embrace them publicly still feels like something we are way off doing.

In the same way that we wear makeup and use sanitary products, the decision to remove our pubic hair is one that we have earned the right to do, and although it makes us feel happier and more confident than the alternative, I don’t think we do any of it out of true love for our bodies. Rather, it’s something we do because we feel that we ought.

Are we failing as feminists by choosing to remove our pubic hair?

Absolutely not.

Pubic hair, on a personal level should not be a feminist issue.

The decision is a personal one and equality means doing exactly what you want with your body and all of it’s accessories.

Do what you want with your pubes.

Shave ’em. Wax ’em. Plait ’em.

Your fanny: your rules.

Crucially it is important to remember that the decision should come with absolutely zero external pressure.

If porn were in any way, shape or form an accurate portrayal of real life, then delivery drivers would not ring your bell and run away as fast as they could, instead preferring to lean seductively on your door frame in the hope that you just happened to be shagging your sister when they arrived.

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2 Comments

  1. Rose
    July 17, 2019 / 2:01 pm

    I don’t know how to love this enough. My ex husband was weird about it, but now that I’m single, I go through phases where I do whatever I want. And I feel more attractive in the doing what I want.

  2. October 7, 2019 / 11:53 pm

    Hey new reader here! I really am enjoying your content. My friend posted your blog about veganism and since then I am working my way through your other blogs. It’s really refreshing to read about somebody who ‘cares’ but seems also ‘confused’ by which way they sway on these topics. I am super opinionated but also really open minded so I feel like my mind constantly swings between right and wrong / what is and what isn’t expected / appropriate etc.etc. I also have a blog and I’m finally branching into more taboo topics myself so keep it up it’s v inspiring 🙂

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