Debate: Is pubic hair a feminist issue?


Independent Voices
Tuesday 19 March 2013 14:14 GMT
(Getty Images)

What's going on?

Hair removal ads: they're everywhere.

With news that pubic hair removal could up viral infection risk, and possibly increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, it's time we talked about the topic more openly.

A 2012 study by Indiana University, which surveyed 2,451 American women, showed that among the 18-24 age group, two-thirds had totally or partially removed their pubic hair during the past month, and a fifth had been hairless during that entire period.

We know it's prevalent, but why are women feeling the need to go bare? And is it a feminist issue?

Case for: Pressure

Where it used to be seen as taboo to remove pubic hair, there is an established modern pressure for women to keep it off.

The amount of time, money and energy spent on an incredibly unenjoyable and often very painful experience is absurd. Let's not forget it's there for a reason - its removal has been proven to increase infection.

Marketing campaigns for hair removal products target women to say that being smoother will please your man - and as a result men come to expect that any stubble is simply offensive, lazy or masculine.

Why should women pluck, scrape, thread, epilate, shave, dissolve or wax their natural hair to please anyone? Plus, who naturally has no pubic hair? Children. We all mature for a reason, and women shouldn't have to return to their pre-pubescent youth to fill any adolescent fantasies.

Case against: Grooming

Styling pubic hair is not dissimilar to how hairstyles evolve with time. Just as you don't see many mullets around anymore, in the seventies a full bush was preferred downstairs, and now a Brazilian is the fashionable choice.

It's each woman's preference whether she chooses to shave or wax, and it would be an invasion of privacy to dictate what they should do to their private parts.

Men also shave their facial hair according to personal taste and trends, and increasingly tidy up and wax their pubic hair, too.

Personal grooming in on the up in every sense - anyone can see that hairs sprouting from swimwear is simply unsightly.

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