By Amy Poulston
Published: FEBRUARY 11, 2014
Capilano Courier

Pubes. Love them or loathe them, if you’re over a certain age you’re guaranteed to have them. So as we approach Valentine’s Day I thought, what better topic to delve into than one that is not only hotly debated, but also closely related to love and getting freaky? So what does our society think about pubes? Surprisingly removing hair from your lady bits dates back to 4000 BCE. Since visible pubic hair has been a faux pas in our culture for such a long time, this has resulted in a history of extensive methods of removal such as waxing, shaving, creams, and even lasers. Fast forward to 1987 and the currently popular Brazilian wax is founded in Manhattan and women’s lives and labia are changed forever.

But why is the more extreme Brazilian style so prevalent in our modern day society, and are au naturel pubes making a comeback? We have celebrities on both sides of this debate with the first vocal advocate of keeping things furry being Cameron Diaz. Having just come out with a book called The Body Book, Diaz speaks out against lasering your “lady bits” and warns young women that going hairless is just a trend and that in later years they will want the option to have a full bush to cover their sagging labia.

Diaz goes on to compare the current trend of a hairless vagina to that of wearing different styles of shoes and pants when you’re younger than when you’re older – as if pubes are a pair of geriatric orthotic loafers.

Last year Gwyneth Paltrow confessed on the Ellen show that she “works a ‘70s vibe” – a bush. Another more recent example, whether it be an actual statement or just for media, is when American Apparel put pubes on their female mannequins in New York last month. For most stores, this wouldn’t normally be visible but, of course, this is American Apparel and they put large brown rugs under white mesh lingerie. !is can be seen as connected to the company’s message of celebrating natural beauty.

Personally, I think it’s awesome that some mainstream public figures are endorsing keeping our fuzzy bits the way they naturally are. Our pubes are meant to keep our nether regions healthy, keeping away unwanted bacteria, yeast infections, and even reducing the chance of STIs. With that being said, I’m also one to err on the side of pro-maintenance. I don’t enjoy a jungle on a guy just as he probably wouldn’t on me. But whether you like to trim your hedge or mow your lawn, there are many spectrums of tending to your female garden. The problem with such an emphasis on going hairless is that I wonder if, as a society, we have gotten

too subconsciously concerned with the female body as pure and are trying to banish the last realm of “dirty” bodily hair. The small battles for armpits and legs were lost long ago.

Not only can this hair removal cost quite a bit of money and time, it can also cause insecurity. Women have been known to fret about excess body hair, and often opt to not embark on sexual content because they haven’t shaved in a week. And the one downside to summer being the constant need to shave, and the amount of money spent on razors. On the positiveside, the huge increase in the popularity of waxing has caused a significant reduction in cases of pubic lice and crabs worldwide.

Any way you slice it, the current societal ideal of a bare lady doesn’t encourage a very positive mentality about our natural state as women. It causes us to view pubic hair on women as undesirable, or at the very least, unusual. Whether they be porn stars, models or celebrities (here’s looking at you and your highly publicized frontal thong Miley Cyrus) the large majority of females presented to us by the media are lacking hair below the waist and it’s causing us to think that this should be the norm. Because of this we are being told to conform to yet another female beauty ideal that is unrealistic. Some people even feel that in porn, this trend is connected to the desire to make girls look ever younger and pre pubescent, which is definitely a gross thought.

The important thing in all of this is to try and understand why we as a society are so concerned with maintaining a bald vagina. If you’re choosing to keep bare down there because it makes you feel good, then by all means continue to do so! You could even shave it into a heart, dye it pink and surprise your bedmate on Valentine’s Day. It is every woman’s choice to do what she wants with her own body. But if you do catch yourself thinking that pubic hair is gross, try to remember that we should aspire to love ourselves in our natural state, pubes and all.

Russell Poulston 2013