Every Wednesday for No-Shave November we’ve been looking into why women shave various body parts. So far we’ve talked about leg and underarm shaving, but this week we’re talking about the “down there” hair.
Removing pubic hair has gained popularity in recent decades, but just like all other forms of body hair removal, it isn’t new. According to Taylor Barringer’s Elle.com article “History of Hair Removal,” ancient Greeks and Romans considered all body hair, including pubic hair, to be uncivilized and therefore undesirable for the upper classes. This is why “many famous statues and paintings of Grecian women are depicted hairless.”
While many consider alteration of pubic hair in any way to be sexual, even scandalous, Women You Should Know points out in their article “Pit Stop: A Quick History Of Women & Shaving” that shaving “naughty bits” has more modest roots. For centuries Muslim women in the Middle East and North Africa have been going completely hairless as part of their wedding preparation. Interestingly enough, these women “frequently…stick with the aesthetic after marriage – and some men do likewise.”
Pubic hair wasn’t something Western women really thought about until, once again, fashion brought it to their attention. This time it was the bikini that prompted women to begin removing hair from an area they used to ignore. While the scandalous swimsuit was first debuted in Europe in 1946, History.com states that “in prudish America, the bikini was successfully resisted until the early 1960s, when a new emphasis on youthful liberation brought the swimsuit en masse to U.S. beaches.”
Barringer states that by the 1970s there was “a resurgence in the removal of bikini area hair as the swimsuit fad of the 1960s stuck around.” Lauren R. Harrison explains the continued interest to pubic hair in her article “Shaving and fashion: A storied history.” According to Harrison, “‘going bald below’ gained more steam as bikinis became teeny-weeny.”
As long as fashion trends, especially swimsuits styles, remain sexy and edgy, it looks like the bikini wax is here to stay. However, so many styles in fashion means that women today have more options in how they groom themselves. You can go natural, trimmed, completely bare, or be playful and get a little design or shape “down there.” No matter what you chose, make sure it’s something you feel comfortable with. It’s your body, your hair, and no one’s choice but your own.
That being said, if you want to participate in No-Shave November without having to show the world hairy body parts, I would suggest skipping on the bikini wax this week. Out of all the places you shave, that’s probably the least noticeable to the general public. Showing body hair can be intimidating to some women, so test the waters with something easy to hide before diving in head first.
Wondering why we remove hair from other body parts? Check out the reasons we found behind removing facial hair.
Florida Memory. Melody May modeling a bikini on the beach: Panama City, Florida. 1966. Online image. Flickr. 19 Nov. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/f3e43P