Is Women's Pubic Hair So Shocking It Needs to Be Censored?
Shaved, trimmed, left alone, waxed out of existence or Vajazzled, we are both fascinated and utterly repelled by what women do and don’t do with their hair “down there”. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about pubic hair – and it’s always that what someone else is doing is a little weird.
Earlier this week, Instagram deleted the account of Australian magazine Sticks and Stones after it posted a picture of two women in bathing suits with (apparently natural) pubic hair sticking out on the sides. In 2013, the social media platform did the same thing to Canadian photographer Petra Collins when she put up a photo of her unaltered bikini line. (Neither photograph displayed anything approaching actual nudity – just pubes poking out the edges of underwear.)
Instagram is hardly alone. The television show The Bachelor has been accused of putting a black bar over a woman’s pubic hair, and earlier this year a painting was removed from a London exhibition because it was deemed “pornographic” for displaying a woman’s pubic hair.
So when did the hair at the high tide line become more shocking than a nipple?
Even as social media sites, television shows and museums are censoring any minute display of women’s pubic hair, a natural look is making a comeback. Last year American Apparel featured mannequins with full bushes in a store windowand The New York Times Style section claimed “a fuller look is creeping back”. The Guardian even called 2014 “the year of the bush!”.
Lest you worry that bikini waxers will be going out of business by the handful, they too are changing with the times: you can now purchase a “full bush Brazilian” which involves “removing all hair from the labia and butt crack while leaving the top untouched”. (That sounds to me like a vaginal mullet – “business in the front, party in the back”.)
Because even within feminism, we still find ourselves deriding other women’s body hair choices as somehow unfeminist – judging women’s extremely private choices about their body. But let the woman who hasn’t waxed throw the first stone! While some people have it out over whether a full bush beats a shaved one (and which is best for feminism) I’ll look forward to the day that our poor over-debated pubic hairs are given a break and left to their own devices – whether barely there or poking out the sides of our bathing suits.