Wednesday, September 26

Reflections on Pubic Hair

I'm reading this because I heard about it on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. The interview was absolutely hilarious and reminded me why I love Betty Friedan and will always claim to be a feminist, no matter how unpopular.

Because -- let's get one thing straight -- I am a woman and I am fond of all the perks that come with suffrage and the feminist movement.
  • Voting. And being able to vote different from my husband if I so wish.
  • Birth control -- like the PILL and my beloved RING and IUDs and all that loveliness.
  • Reproductive control -- like family planning, i.e., not having children after 9 years of marriage.
  • Vagina entry rights -- like not being forced to have sex with my husband because I'm considered his property; rape of any kind being illegal is pretty important to me.
  • Driving a car.
  • Dyeing my hair any color I please and not being seen as a trollop.
  • The right to get divorced and have a life after that divorce.
  • Not wearing a corset. And sometimes not wearing a bra.
And on and on.

Of course, regardless of how "in touch" I am with my whole being a woman and feeling comfortable being a woman and all the ra-ra-women-are-awesome feelings I have, Caitlin Moran makes some good points about silly things we women do for society or men or a male dominated society. Things which we aren't even aware of being "sexist" or purported by males and then adopted by us females because, let's face it, we still live in a society where no woman has ever been president and Hilary Clinton still gets called a "bitch" and "feminist" is still a word that conjures up images of un-shaved armpits and the possibility of (shh) lesbianism. And just in case you think that we're still not the mysterious (read: witch) OTHER (read: lesser) sex, read this.

So I'm reading "How to Be a Woman" and I come to the chapter "I Become Furry!" in which Moran posits that we women have become addicted to shaving/waxing our pussies completely free of hair because of pornography. According to Moran, pornography sets up our socio-sexual norm and because most kids learn about sex from porn/media, we all grew up seeing either hairless vag in the pornos or hearing about hairless vag from our friends. 

I started chopping my furry muff down to size around the age of 13. I don't know why I started doing this; I'm sure from some shame/puberty/changing-body-anxiety reason. And then of course I started dancing and that meant leotard sans underwear 4 nights a week. God forbid I be one of those girls the other girls made fun of because of (ewww!) pubes. So I started shaving my bikini line. And once I was in high school, I just started shaving all of it off -- too much potential for pube seeing when changing in between dance numbers and for plays. And besides "everyone was doing it." I imagine it was much the same for you too. 

Now, I'm not saying I agree with Moran's desire that we all have "big furry minges" and lie around in hammocks finger-combing our "Wookiees" until the "minge fro" is bouffy and "you can gently bounce the palm of your hand off it, as if it were a tiny hair trampoline." 

But I do like this idea:
"Walking around a room, undressed, in front of appreciative eyes, the reflection in the mirror shows ... a handful of darkness between your legs. Half animal, half secret -- something to be approached with a measure of reverence."

Ooo. Sexy, right? Powerful natural woman. 
I very briefly thought about growing mine back. 
Isn't that great literature? It's making me THINK about habitual actions previously un-dissected.

But here are my reasons why, after much thought, I'm NOT growing it back.
  1. I never really liked it. I don't think it was due to some societal pressure, but just because I, as a human being, am not fond of body hair. I have very little and so to have pubes just seemed weird.
  2. I, like all true feminists, will do as I please. After all, the feminist movement is about CHOICE. It doesn't matter what anyone says about why I do what I do, I like not having any hair down there.
  3. I don't get rid of my hair out of a desire to be more sexually appealing. I (that's right, me) like the clean look of it. And the clean smell of it. 
  4. It's not as if I'm completely hairless and my husband is a disgusting hairy beast who expects me to be hairless. It's personal preference that we both be nice and tidy. (TMI?) 
I think this is a generational thing. And I actually think it's something that we women started. It may have begun with male-dominated porno industry shaving, but once adopted by real world women, we started expecting our men to be smoother than before and trim their own bush. So really, in a roundabout way, pubic hair maintenance by both men and women is just feminism at work. 

Pubic hair is just a sign of the times, and my friends, they are always a-changin'. 
Someday we may be "soooo uncool" with our hairless wackies.

1 comment:

Kat said...

I agree, I think it is a generational thing. I hate it. I find it uncomfortable and in a way restrictive, and I really hate the thought of the friction starting a fire. At 30 I don't really think that my feelings on this will change, therefore, I have actually decided to have laser hair removal on said area!