Saturday, 12 February 2011

Enough with the Pubic Hair Panic

Bidisha is sadly not a reader of this blog. If she did, perhaps she wouldn't have written this piece in the Guardian yesterday. She is the latest feminist to tackle the apparently troubling issue of public hair removal, and porn as a motivator for this behaviour among women. Bidisha does (finally!) recognise that growing numbers of men are also removing their public hair, but she confines this to just men in porn, commenting that: 'You can see the spring branches of their willies and their little bobbling balls, outlined in their scrota like farm eggs in a chammy cloth.'

In Bidisha's analysis, men are all heterosexual (like I really need to say something about that?) but men are apparently able to resist pressures from their porn performing brethren thanks to some inner qualities. Bidisha notes that: 'Men are not as cowed, self-hating, obedient or biddable as women in this regard. They are not going to make the effort to do anything to please a woman, at the cost of their own comfort.'

Okay dokey. Don't worry, Bidisha still has lots of venom to fire to men, apparently believing that men can not (thanks to their near constant wanking at pubic hair-free porn) compute the notion that a woman might not have public hair (yet can oddly note the continued presence of hair on themselves but not in porn). She suggests that: 'Upon seeing some real hair on a real woman for the first time they may well vomit or faint, or both. That is something I'd like to see: a man so dizzied by the shortfall between reality and his own ignorance that his brain can't take it and he loses consciousness.'

Oh dear.

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Anonymous said...

'Upon seeing some real hair on a real woman for the first time they may well vomit or faint, or both. That is something I'd like to see: a man so dizzied by the shortfall between reality and his own ignorance that his brain can't take it and he loses consciousness.'
So, she is suggesting she would prefer to see John Ruskin-esque situations then. Very illogical to me.

Anonymous said...

Surely there's an argument to be made for the idea that no-one, even the most considerate lover likes finding a hair in their food? on top of that, without any hair it's easier to get a look at all the fun bits and navigate properly? Nothing to do with an aesthetic ideal which is oppressive or the incredibly sinister implication about preferring girls to 'real women'?

Chris Ashford said...

Thanks for the comments. Second anonymous - I think you might raise an important point. As oral sex - especially cunnilingus has become an increasingly populised activity - and acceptable for straight women to expect - has that contributed to a desire to remove pubic hair. Really interesting comment.

Sean Hennelly said...

Agreed- it is about getting a look at the fun bits (in my mind anyway). Why would it be about an oppressive aesthetic ideal? Even if it is about an aesthetic ideal, that doesn't need to be oppressive- I know, and have known women that consider their appearance downstairs quite sexy when shaved etc, and certainly not about some fear that a man will pass out if he sees a bit of bush!

Also, I think increasingly these days men are expected to be a little more tame in the downstairs hair department too- I haven't yet heard a suggestion that men are being victimised by women. C'mon, get a grip- it is about having better sex, and feeling sexier. Maybe this will be like showing cleavage in the 50s/60s- eventually it will just be considered completely normal

Chris Ashford said...

Well 'the feeling sexier' bit Sean is the point - where do these ideals come from? Your comment that men are expected to be a 'little more tame' (a phrase that's going to stay with me) is an interesting one in terms of where those pressures come from. As I gay man I'm inevitably more tuned in to that issue but it's interesting to hear from a straight guy.

Obviously, I'm not art of the panic brigade but I do think it throws up some interesting points.

Sean Hennelly said...

Well I guess I don't see the ideals as anything different to people choosing to dress in a way that makes them feel sexy. I know a married woman for example, who always dresses in a rather racy fashion, not because she feels pressured to do so, or because her husband demands it, but rather because it is part of her persona. She is a really outgoing, strong personality, and she enjoys dressing in that way (boobs, legs out etc). Good on her I say.

Similarly, I don't think the desire to look sexy downstairs comes from gendered pressure etc, but I think that people like to feel sexy- that comes from within. Perhaps that can be linked with the points Anonymous made with regards cleanliness/navigation etc. It's all part of the package so to speak! Lol.

Beyond all that, it may indeed be that people generally have come to expect certain things, one being that men expect women to be trim. Even if this is the case, I still think that this can be driven by the same points as Anonymous made in relation to cleanliness and navigation. You're right Chris that oral sex has become populised, and this would naturally drive a move towards less pubic hair. For me, the issue comes because of the nature of the region in question- it is private. We wouldn't suggest that men are oppressing women because they insist that they brush their teeth before they have a snog? I just don't buy into it...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #2
As a side note, what's the motivation for shaving your underarms other than a harmless aesthetic one? Why should your other pubic-patch be subject to such scrutiny? What's the real difference? Most female arachnophobes when pushed on what they don't like about spiders complain that they're 'hairy', also I don't think it's a stretch to say that most women don't like guys with beards,(if they did we'd all have one). From all this it follows without too much effort that the issue is more about women choosing to be hairless than being bullied in to it by their oppressive, porn obsessed, menfolk.

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