When Cameron Diaz came out against laser hair removal and waxing pubic hair, I thought she was drawing attention to her new book, The Body Book, and pube talk would disappear in a 24-hour news cycle. She called a lady’s bush “a pretty draping that makes it a little mysterious to the one who might be courting your sexiness” and warned laser fans that “all fads change, people.” It seemed like brain junk food — celebrity + sexy body part = pageviews! Instead, she seems to have incited a domino effect.
We’re only three weeks into January and here is most of the press coverage pubic hair has gotten this year. UK’s Guardian declared 2014 “the year of the bush.” Then an American Apparel store mannequin had pubic hair peeking out of her undies. YourTango wrote that pubes are “making a comeback.” The Wire declared “The Pubic Hair Renaissance Is Here.” Dame Magazine quipped “more and more women are letting their gardens grow.” Gaby Hoffmann’s character sprouted an enormous bush on the most recent episode of “Girls.” And now the fashion blog Styleite has an interview with a gynecologist about “the health benefits of bush.”
The tone of most of this coverage is a new twist in the fad of public hair styling: women who keep their pubes intact, or are “pro-bush.” What’s next, being “pro-eyelashes”? “Pro-elbows”?
I resent that being able to call oneself “pro-bush” is even a thing now. It’s a sign we’ve allowed pubic hair to become a feminine body modification fad in a way that surpasses hairstyles, piercings, and tattoos. No one asks too many questions if you get your astrological sign tattooed on your ankle or give yourself bangs. So how did the appearance of such an intimate body part become so publicly regulated? Writes Styleite blogger Erica Tempesta, “Pubic hair is a hot topic that is probably affecting your life in some way or another.” If that statement is true, that is beyond sad.
As plenty of “pro-bush” women can tell you, there is nothing dirty, gross or unfeminine about being “natural.” Personally, a lot more unpleasant is everything that a woman has to go through when she gets a Brazilian wax (i.e. removing all her pubic hair). I tried it once and hated it: it was ungodly painful, extremely sensitive afterwards and incredibly itchy while the hair grew back. Instead of feeling more womanly and sexy, I felt distinctly unerotic, like one of those hairless dogs. The discomfort and the expense were not worth the faddish appearance of my vagina (as much as my boyfriend at the time may have liked it). I decided to forevermore stick with what Mother Nature gave me, thanks.
Obviously, waxing — like piercing or any other body modification— is a personal choice for women to make themselves. But those choices don’t happen in a vacuum: there are reasons driven by capitalism that things are deemed “feminine” or not. (To that end, the Guardian piece has an interesting recap of why women began shaving their legs.) It has always seemed to me to like Brazilian waxing is something women do so they don’t feel ashamed in front of men who are used to hairless pussies from certain kinds of porn. (For what it’s worth in my anecdotal experience, guys are a lot more apathetic about pubic hair grooming than women think.) To me, modifying my body to look more like paid actresses — whether it’s my labia or the wrinkles on my face — is not a good enough reason for the pain and expense.
So thanks, Cameron Diaz! I’m glad to have you on my “side.” But I hope we can leave bushes — our own and others — alone and get rid of silly phrases like “pro-bush.” I much preferred the time when the only Bush who irritated me so much as George W.
Email me at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.
[Image of a bush via Shutterstock]