Spotlight

Leave my Pubes Alone, They’re Mine

Image credit: Rahima Bhatti

By Alexa Price

Whether you choose to get rid of them completely, or to embrace your full bush, deciding how to manage your pubic hair should always be a personal choice. In a society where you can be anybody you’d like to be, it seems silly to let yourself be defined by the preferences of others, right? While it may seem like a touchy subject for some, pubic hair and its development over the course of human history is certainly relevant today! It definitely goes without saying that art, fashion and media have all heavily impacted the way we see pubic hair over recent years. Despite this recent increase in interest and expectation with regards to one’s pubes, we fail to realize that they have an exciting yet surprisingly long history!

To define and categorise somebody due to a part of their body that is completely natural  is a little obnoxious. These days I find myself asking why should I prioritise society’s expectations over my own comfort? I find that not only is the bittersweet period of being completely bald too short, but it also takes so much time! I know that after perhaps 3 or 4 days, I’ll be complaining about the discomfort that also comes with it! Nobody talks enough about how difficult it can be to keep up with these societal expectations. As students, spending an hour in the shower completing this total chore isn’t always do-able, because 1. we have water bills to pay! and 2. we’re often on tight schedules. We all have the right to celebrate our own natural bodies, so why don’t we? I feel that by shaving myself completely bald, I’m succumbing to societal pressures by knowing that it’s what many might prefer. I can completely understand that some might feel more confident clean shaven, perhaps its even a part of your self-care ritual, but it certainly isn’t for all of us. Though then we must ask the ever-looming question; why is it that so many of us feel much more confident with shaven pubic hair? Why shouldn’t we embrace this natural side of ourselves?

Surprisingly, the history of removing body hair can be traced all the way back to around 3000 BC in Ancient Egypt and Rome. There they were using the first copper razor or flintstones to get rid of or trim their pubic hairs. Despite this though, many hieroglyphics prove that both women and men also had pubes, leading me to believe that perhaps it was a matter of preference – how very modern! Much later during the Middle Ages, shaving pubic hairs was a practice commonly associated with sex workers, done in hopes of spreading less diseases etc. If you were of a much higher class, you generally wouldn’t shave your pubes. In fact, it was quite common to keep one’s pubic hair until bikinis were invented (would you believe it?). 

‘many hieroglyphics prove that both women and men also had pubes, leading me to believe that perhaps it was a matter of preference – how very modern!’

The last century has definitely seen the biggest change with regards to attitudes towards pubic hairs. While the 1970’s saw that going ‘full-bush’ was trendy, coinciding with that of the Hipster Movement, the 1980’s and 90’s saw a massive increase in the pressure put upon us to shave our pubic hairs. I believe that this is primarily to blame on the drastic surge in numbers of those filming and using porn, meaning that there was also a significant rise in unattainable beauty standards for men and women. These standards definitely followed us into the 21st Century, putting pressure on women regardless of age to shave their pubic hairs. 

Having grown up in the 21st century, I have definitely found that I felt the pressure to remove my pubic hair during my teenage years. It’s most likely that it’s what a lot of people deemed ‘normal’ considering that often how women are respresented in pornography. In fact I often felt like having pubic hair was shameful and embarrassing. Looking back now, I know I should have never beaten myself up about a part of my body that is 1. completely natural, and 2. nobody else’s business! I know and recognise now that it makes me no different to anybody else, and that whatever I decide to do with them is a personal preference.

Today though I find that it is becoming increasingly common to keep your pubic hairs, and that there are many more of us today who will feel liberated by them. Wherever it is on our bodies, people are becoming more enlightened with their own hair which is a hugely positive change! Acceptance is key to thriving in a society where we use so much social media and are bombarded by unrealistic expectations. Recognizing the toxicity and unattainable standards that comes with social media can be a difficult task, and so this is a massive step forward! 


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