Pube-lic En­emy

It’s the re­turn of the bush!

CLEO (Malaysia) - - NEWS -

When the con­tro­versy-court­ing cloth­ing chain Amer­i­can Ap­parel adorned man­nequins in one of their New York stores with full sets of pu­bic hair ear­lier this year, eye­brows raised and jaws dropped. But amid the shock, a se­ri­ous ques­tion was also asked: Is the gold or sil­ver bodysuit more flat­ter­ing? No, no, wait, that’s not it. The ques­tion was: Is the bush back?

In Praise Of Pubes

Cameron Diaz cer­tainly hopes so. In her re­cently re­leased health and life­style book, The Body Book, the 41-year-old star pens a sec­tion called “In Praise Of Pubes”, en­cour­ag­ing us lady folk to keep our pu­bic hair in its nat­u­ral state. Lady Gaga’s also a fan of hair down there, show­ing off her trimmed bush on the cover of Candy mag late last year. And it’s not just celebs who are pro-pubes. A re­cent study from the UK found just over 50 per cent of women don’t groom their pu­bic hair at all, and only 28 out of the 101 women pho­tographed for Aus­tralian art ex­hi­bi­tion and cof­fee ta­ble book, 101 Vag­ina, were near or com­pletely hair­less. So, is this it? The death of the va­jay-jay wax once and for all? Maybe. Or not – the choice is ob­vi­ously yours. But while this re­cent au na­turel trend may seem like a pretty triv­ial topic on the sur­face, it opens up a big­ger con­ver­sa­tion about gen­der stereo­types, so­ci­ety’s ideas on what it means to be fem­i­nine and, be­fore you stop read­ing be­cause it feels a lot like porn.

What’s Porn Got To Do With It?

Although there’s no real ev­i­dence that pornog­ra­phy is solely to blame for the rise of the Brazil­ian wax – the beauty and fashion in­dus­tries also had a hand, as did one par­tic­u­lar Sex And The City ep, where the gals all go bald… and, of course, women’s per­sonal pref­er­ences – it’s a fairly ac­cepted idea that it has quite a bit to do with it. Be­cause women in porno­graphic films shave off their pu­bic hair off so that more de­tail can be seen dur­ing the (in) fa­mous “money shot”, men (and women, but par­tic­u­larly men) think be­ing pube-free is the norm. And what do we want to be more than Tom Hid­dle­ston’s girl­friend? Nor­mal, of course. Sex worker and ex­otic dancer Gia James knows ex­actly what it feels like to want to be con­sid­ered nor­mal. In­deed, the 20-year-old says she started wax­ing her pu­bic hair off when she was 14 af­ter she heard a group of guy friends laugh about a girl who was “hairy and gross”.

“As an im­pres­sion­able teenager, I be­came ob­sessed with not earn­ing the same moniker,” she says. “It got to the point where I wouldn’t hook up with a guy at a party un­less I had waxed.”

Six years later, not much has changed. “While I get the odd client want­ing more body hair (specif­i­cally armpit and full bush), the bulk of the men I en­counter seem weirded out by the idea of any­thing but a Brazil­ian.”

Cen­sor­ing Nor­mal

While those in the porn and sex in­dus­tries might be en­cour­aged or even obliged to be hair-free, the rest of us only need to please our­selves when it comes to pubes. And although im­ages of fully bare vagi­nas are deemed ac­cept­able, hairy ones aren’t – as hugely pop­u­lar 21-year-old pho­tog­ra­pher Pe­tra Collins found out the hard way.

In Oc­to­ber last year, the Cana­dian’s In­sta­gram ac­count was deleted af­ter she posted a pic of her un­shaven bikini line in a pair of swim­mers. In an es­say she wrote for Oys­ter magazine af­ter­wards, Collins wrote, “I did noth­ing that vi­o­lated [In­sta­gram’s] terms of use. No nu­dity, vi­o­lence, pornog­ra­phy, un­law­ful, hate­ful, or in­fring­ing imagery. What I did have was an image of my body that didn’t meet so­ci­ety’s stan­dard of ‘fem­i­nin­ity’.”

Collins con­tin­ued, “The dele­tion of my ac­count felt like a phys­i­cal act, like the pub­lic com­ing at me with

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