End Hairless Genitals
When was war declared on pubic hair?
It must have happened sometime in the
last couple of decades [Sex & the City?].
The genital hair removal industry, including
medical professionals who advertise their
specialty services to those seeking the
“clean and bare” look, is exponentially growing.
The amount of time, energy, money and emotion
both genders spend on abolishing every hair
from their genitals is astronomical.
But why pick on the lowly pubic hair? It has
something to do with cultural trends spawned
by bikinis and thongs, certain hairless
celebrities and a desire to return to childhood.
Is it a misguided attempt at hygiene or being
more attractive to a partner? Are we so naïve
as to be susceptible to fashion trends and biases?
It’s a misconceived war. Long ago surgeons
figured out that shaving a body part prior
to surgery actually increased rather than
decreased surgical site infections.
No matter what expensive and complex weapons
are used [razor blades, electric shavers, tweezers,
waxing, depilatories, electrolysis] pubic hair,
like crabgrass, always grows back and eventually wins.
In the meantime, the skin suffers the
effects of the scorched battlefield.
Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames
the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic
open wounds. Frequent hair removal is necessary
to stay smooth. But it causes regular irritation
of the shaved or waxed area.
When that irritation is combined with the warm moist
environment of the genitals, it becomes a happy culture
media for some of the nastiest of bacterial pathogens.
There’s an increase in staph boils and abscesses.
Incisions have to be made to drain the infection,
resulting in scarring that can be significant.
It’s not at all unusual to find pustules and other hair
follicle inflammation papules on shaved genitals.
Constant pubic hair removal can cause cellulitis
(soft tissue bacterial infection without abscess)
of the scrotum, labia and penis from the spread
of bacteria from shaving or from sexual contact
with strep or staph bacteria from a partner’s skin.
Some clinicians find that freshly shaved pubic
areas and genitals are also more vulnerable to
herpes infections due to the microscopic wounds
being exposed to virus carried by mouth or genitals.
There may be vulnerability to spread of other STIs as well.
Pubic hair provides a cushion against friction
that can cause skin abrasion and injury.
It’s the visible result of puberty.
Surely something to be celebrated.
Pubic Hair Issues
I shaved my vagina today. I did it pretty much the way I always do, stretching one labia and then the other, trying to get to those delicate spots, I found myself answering to a Greek feminist chorus in my head.
A lot of us worry about whether or not we should be shaving our vaginas. About what it MEANS to shave our vaginas. Probably once a week someone pitches me an article about vagina-shaving, as in: “Is it feminist to shave my vagina?”
See also: to wear makeup, to wear high heels, to get plastic surgery, etc. etc. You know what? I’m done with this argument.
If you’re a feminist (or even if you’re not), if you’re fighting for the rights of all women, then I don’t give a damn what you do with your face or body or weight or whatever.
Get a boob job, go on a diet, bleach your butthole. Understand the context, but when you’re done doing whatever you want with YOUR BODY, let’s talk about rape.
Let’s talk about actual civil, political, and human rights, about black women and trans women and women who aren’t allowed to drive cars and little girls being sold into sexual slavery. The pussy hair debates are busy work.
And I hate to name names but this is what pisses me off about feminists like Caitlin Moran. Is telling me what to do with my vagina hair or what shoes to wear really your most pressing feminist issue right now?
There’s actual bad shit happening all over the world and you know what really doesn’t matter? The state of my freaking pubic hair.
Don’t get me wrong –- I have written plenty about the beauty stuff, and it does hurt women to be held to an arbitrary and unattainable beauty standard.
But infighting among feminists about how we individual women choose to navigate these impossible standards seems increasingly myopic to me.
Feminist women understand the superficial choices we make and why. Go back in time and liberate me from my 14-year-old gang rape, not my razor.
And don’t tell me I’m trying to look like a little girl either, because believe it or not there is a very big difference between an adult woman with shaved pubic hair and a prepubescent child. Put them next to one another and I swear, you’ll be able to tell which is which quite easily.
And it’s not like somebody’s handing me the special “cooperating with the patriarchy” cookie that people seem to think you get for making “socially approved” choices.
Like life is great for women with shaved vaginas and sucks for women with hairy vaginas? No, life sucks for both of those women a lot of the time, for different reasons, because they’re BOTH WOMEN.
Women who do everything they’re “supposed to do” to maintain their appearances get objectified, harassed, discriminated against, exploited, preyed upon and raped the same way women who opt out of that stuff do.
Participating in the world of “patriarchy-approved” activities is just as painful as rejecting them, I promise you that. It’s a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t system.
No, I don’t want to live in a world where some men think I have to shave my vagina to be desirable. Neither, however, do I want to live in a world where some women think I have to grow my pubic hair in order to be a good feminist.
And so-called “choice feminists” aren’t standing around thinking we just really love a bare vagina like that’s an idea that just popped into our heads one day.
We know where that idea came from. But we still live in this world, where we still have to make one choice or another.
If shaving my vagina helps me walk through my day a little bit happier and more comfortable so that I can actually HELP another woman, then please, get off my back once and for all.
So I’m calling the question. Do what you want with your pussy. Seriously, I just don’t want to talk about it anymore.