The Relentless Tyranny of Being Constantly Hairless
(Illustration by the fabulous Katharine Hill - also known as @katharinemaryhill)
So according to a 2016 survey conducted by YouGov and Cosmopolitan magazine, nearly half of women under the age of 35 are removing all of their pubic hair. THAT IS ALL OF THEIR PUBIC HAIR PEOPLE! Like no fiddly landing strip or heart shapes. No trimmed hedge. BALD AS A COOT! (I'm not sure what a coot is so let me know if you've seen a bald one please.) Now there are a couple of reasons to be annoyed about this. One is that it means women are spending more money and precious energy dealing with unwanted hair than ever before...when they could be doing better things like writing manifestos or drawing derisive cartoons of Donald Trump and circulating them.
And two...you have to ask the question WHO are they shaving all that hair off for exactly?
I'm going to sound like a dinosaur but back in the 90s (*draws up a rocking chair and sips on a small glass of brandy*), when I came of age, there were laissez faire expectations when it came to hair removal. Hair on your face, under your arms, on your legs, butt or inner thighs was a no no but the actual fanny area was left alone (or perhaps I didn't get the memo?) And besides friends in the sex industry (no just friends who had more sex than me), had always told me that if you got rid of the hair then it would grow back with more ferocity and you'd possibly end up like the woman in 'The Joy of Sex' book.
I will come straight out and say that I don't like a really bushy bush. I don't like it on me or a Shetland pony. In the winter it's okay I guess, as it's not coming out very much (I always wear pants but you know what I mean right?), and anyway there's something liberating about colder weather and growing hair because basically...you can't be arsed and want to hibernate. And besides, in long term relationships shaving can become one of those things that gets kicked to the kerb - just like chewing gum before you kiss and pretending to like films and music that you actually hate.
The thing is I think you should be free to choose- if you want to be MRS YETI then so be it. And the opposite is true too - no hair is fine and dandy as long it's for you and you like it that way thanks.
Much has been written about the pornification of culture, and it seems pretty likely that the no-hair down there look has been driven by more people watching porno and copying what they see. This has been true with body shape too with women wanting tiny waists and big butts and norks. And it's obviously a woman's choice in terms of what she wants her body to look like, but we need to be clear that IF we're getting rid of hair, we're doing it for the right reasons. I don't like having hairs growing out of my chin because it makes me look like Rip Van Winkle. So to a certain extent I'm subscribing to a stereotype of feminine beauty, because I'm not prepared to lead the charge on women having beards until I see Nicole Kidman sporting one and then, and only then will I let mine grow. So yes I am not pleasing myself with the hair removal on my face. But still I find the idea of being bald down there purely to please men as pretty depressing. Be bald because it makes you feel sexy. Be bald because it feels transgressive and naughty and you haven't smoked a fag for two years and have to get your kicks somewhere for Christ's sake.
But don't do it because you want to follow the hairless herd of bald show ponies. If we start heading off down that road then we'll all be getting our teeth whitened, breasts pumped up and implants in our butts...oh wait that's happened already.
There is something pretty tyrannical about constantly having to control the hair situation. The eyebrows must be threaded. The chin hair despatched. The under arm hair and legs dealt with. The bikini line. Maybe the toes (or is that just me?), and to go that one step further and have to deliver a bald fanny every day (and that is a lot of maintenance because even after a day things get uncomfortable) ...well that's at least an hour a week JUST ON HAIR.
Imagine what you could do instead with that hour? You could be a big hairy novel writer or a famous hairy dog whisperer.
I guess I'm starting to realise that I'm no longer very fashionable. A woman in her forties has two choices- she can either pant like a rabid fashion victim and chase the direction of change- sporting Tweed peddle pushers and silver brogues because they're DEFINITELY on trend this season or she can reach for the things that have always worked for her and wear those with a healthy dose of who cares. And the NO HAIR look is not one I'm giving into. I am happy as I am.
Oh and let me know if the Rip Van Winkle thing comes in. I'm pretty sure if I stopped plucking my chin every other week, I'd be Paul Hollywood in no time.