6th Most Read Post 2011 – The wax and wane of post-80s pubic hair

By Sarah-Jane Lowes

To shave or not to shave, now that is the fearsome question?

The 80’ saw the bush, in all glorious teased shapes and colours; the 90’s saw a trim-down of that very same hedge-growth, and then the millennium hit and the furless vagina entered mainstream bedrooms worldwide. It’s a PETA wet-dream (excuse the painful sexual allusion)…’I’d rather go naked than wear fur!’ is splayed across billboards in all the main stays of fashion Kapital; it is the most hated dictum of any designer worth half his salt. Only herein lays the conundrum, our poor little lady parts must suffer for this hairless empowerment.

My first budding sexual experience; no one told me men expected a clean-shaven vagina. The look of shock when my boyfriend seductively removed my special occasion virginity losing R250 La Senza underwear and the sudden look of horror, as if some giant flesh-eating maggot infested science experiment was hidden under the sensual layers of barely-there lace . I, in my all my naivety and sexual inexperience had committed the sexual faux pas of the 2000’s. I had not waxed.  Only Marlow’s last words in Joseph Conrad’s A Heart of Darkness can fully capture the trauma of that very moment, ‘The Horror! The Horror!’

This was quickly remedied the next day amidst blushes and muttered curses, but soon my vagina resembled a beautiful pre-pubescent plaything, one that everyone I have ever had the privilege/not so privilege of introducing to has since then delighted and fawned over. Even my gay friends stress the indecency of pubic hair. ‘Daaaarling’, they slur drunkenly, ‘pubic hair is just so 90’s’. Even men wax. Apparently I do not indulge in enough pornography.

Ok, so I get why men wax. It makes their manhood appear larger, and men being the penis ruled creatures they are completely self-justified in doing this; and also, to be honest, I would rather not experience something akin to a flossing experience when it comes to the ever-expected and unavoidable blowjob session. But honestly, I would settle for a trim. My question is when exactly is it that looking like a pre-primary school kid become sexy. What is so appalling about a little bit of fluff and why for god’s sake are women catering to male fantasies when waxing is, to be perfectly frank, painful, awkward and expensive.

I have gone as far as to bring Christianity into this pubic hair debate with my friends. Christians claim god is all-knowing; omniscient, almighty and that evolution is false. Well, evolution explains pubic hair. The Bible tells us to shave our pubic hair under three conditions:

  1. If you have leprosy;
  2. If you were a priest dedicated to god-as an act of cleansing and
  3. As an act of humiliation.

So basically, all Christianity explains is shame over our private parts, religious zealousness or painful death.  If God is all-knowing (and all-loving) then why are women born with pubic hair? What purpose does this mysterious fluff serve when men so obviously find it distasteful and women a nuisance?

In fact, a wax, at an estimate of R220.00 a month, equates R2640 a year which means I have, at an estimate spent R15840 so far on the removal of my pubic hair. Even when I am not sexually active I feel dirty if I have so much as a sprinkling of the dreaded pubic hair. I am a victim of male fuckwittage[1]. Therefore, I demand the Catholic Church, reimburse me. It’s the Inquisition all over again, only this time it’s women’s genitalia under attack. (Funny, notice how Inquisitions always involve women?)*

Is this ‘have it all off’ as innocent as it all seems or is it pornographic and perverted in its own entirety? Is cleanliness really close to godliness or has pornography and mainstream media entirely corrupted our idealism about what being a woman is truly about? Where has the idea about being barefoot, pregnant and a slut in the bedroom gone? As vile and oppressive as this idea was, has it been replaced with an even worse idea?

Do we wax to please ourselves or to please a male idealism?

I can’t decide.

Can you?

*On the other spectrum, unless the bush makes a drastic comeback, the pre-pubescent vagina is here to stay, and evolution will eventually recognise this hairless phenomenon and women will stop growing pubic hair and become the next step in Darwin’s evolutionary table, in which case-balls to you Christianity! Science totally wins. I am just sad that I will be dead before I see the church fall to a woman.

[1] Fuckwittage; used compliments of Bridget Jones Diary


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