As women, our bodies have been looked at, measured, analyzed, and given ticks of approval from the dawn of time. From the way one should dress to how our pubes are groomed; women have done their best to ensure we remain ‘acceptable’ in the eye of society. In this article, author Bewaji Adeniji explores the trend that follows how women have treated pubic hair. So, let us get into it, to shave or not to shave, that is the question. Society is a funny place. One minute something is in and the next no one really cares for it. In the race to catch up with trends you can lose who you are. As fashion shows and concerts became faux pas last year, the next best thing to do is turn lockdowns into the new ‘it’ thing. Trends, the ‘in’ thing, the new rage used to be all about beauty and fashion, these days it is stretched into our everyday lives, from what we make in the kitchen, to how your body is presented. For women, however, this is nothing new. Our bodies have been looked at, measured, analyzed, and given ticks of approval from the dawn of time. From the way one should dress to how our pubes are groomed; women have done their best to ensure we remain ‘acceptable’ in the eye of society. So, let us get into it, to shave or not to shave, that is the question. Before I go on, I just want to say pubic hair is on our bodies for a purpose. Pubic hair is there to protect our vaginas from unwanted bacteria, pathogens, and lint plus it shields us from getting tiny abrasions during sex; abrasions that could make the transmission of STDs easier to receive. By removing your pubic hair, you risk being more susceptible to certain infections (STIs) and overall irritation (ingrown hairs, razor burn, and/or inflammation). Not only that, pubic hair traps in pheromones; the kind of pheromones that make men and women, well, hornier😉. Now that I have happily placed my disclaimer, we can go into this and I can share how I feel on the matter. Pubic hair has had its own trend over the years and I used to wonder why. I mean it’s my body and I can do what I want but society, television, MEN, have all lead us to believe that the bush is a no no (not general opinion but we will get there). From the Bermuda Triangle to the Martini Glass, we are our own barbers giving ourselves fades all in the name of what looks good. Our pubes can be cut and trimmed to all kinds of shapes and sizes. Some of the trends mentioned below have been practiced over the years have: The Bush: The 1960s marked the birth of the bush which carried on for an entire decade. Wild pubic hair was all the rage! Women would occasionally trim or “tidy” depending on their desired shape, but typically the more hair you had the better! The Bikini: The 80s, pubic hair removal was on the rise. The bush went out of style and partially removing your pubic hair became the standard. While women in the 80s were not going fully bare, grooming or “cleaning up” the bikini area was the new normal. The Landing strip (start of the Brazilian): In the 90s, full pubic hair removal started to become extremely popular. Women were publicly shamed for their pubic hair – specifically in mainstream media. The Brazilian: The Brazilian trend is still popular and there are several methods available for women to achieve this look. Many women today opt for a more frugal approach: shaving. This method is effective in removing the hair quickly; however growth also happens just as fast. Waxing is an option as growth is not as quick. Some just opt for laser...if you got the money for it. Shaving, waxing, lasering and plucking hair from our legs and armpits to bikini lines and bums has become an accepted and expensive part of our beauty routine. Personally, I love the Brazilian wax. I used to be a shaving girl but once I got waxed, there was no turning back. Come 2020, year of the lockdown, nowhere to go, no salon or spa to help a girl out. Your girl has sworn off razors so there was no way in hell I was going to use one. So bush it is, in all it’s full glory. Then something crossed my mind…why do I actually get rid of the hair down there? For me, that was an easy question, but for many, the lockdown made them really think about why? No one is going to see it, did it really matter if it was full or not? And then began the full bush of the summer. Ladies decided that they didn’t care about the bush they were rocking anymore, they were going to let it all hang out, literally. Based on the prevalence of pornography and hyper sexualized images in mainstream media, we are inundated with content that pushes the rhetoric that female body hair is undesired. “From an early age, I was under the impression that because I was a woman and I’ve hair on my legs that I must shave, actually that’s exactly what my older sister told me. I suddenly felt so embarrassed over a part of my body that I never thought I’d have to be embarrassed about,” says Jackson. “But as soon as I realised there was a choice and that mine was to let my body hair grow out, that experience of accepting a part of something I was ashamed of, it was so beautiful. It changed my relationship with the rest of my body too and I really began to truly love myself.” - Laura Jackson, founder of ‘Januhairy’” — Quote Source Now women have decided to reclaim their bodies. So much so that we now see glamorous supermodels such as Emily Ratajkowski and Kate Moss to popular artists such as Janelle Monae and Madonna to even Hollywood actresses like Julia Roberts and Drew Barrymore all embrace their body hair and show it off online. As the bush continues to grow in popularity online, many women are now being forced to let their body hair grow as a result of salons being shut to stop the spread of COVID-19. While the lockdown is over, embracing your self-isolation bush may not be. “I think life after quarantine will see our beauty standards change,” remarks Jackson. “Having had the experience myself of not shaving completely changed my perspective and I think with salons being shut and therefore being almost forced to let your body hair grow out, it will change women’s relationships with their bodies for sure.” Taryn De Vere, writer, artist and proud non-shaver found that her biggest hurdle was herself. “Once I stopped shaving everywhere, the hardest part was over overcoming my own ideas about what other people might be thinking about me. That was a long journey, it took a long time to not care - and I don’t think I’m fully there yet.” “Last time I was single, I cared more about what men thought. Now I don’t, and I stopped getting Brazilians. It’s about your preference and your partner’s preference.” Ashely Graham” — Quote Source But it’s not just romantic partners we feel pressure from, it’s other women too. One of the most memorable pubic hair-related TV moments was this scene from Sex in the City. The four girls are lounging by the pool when suddenly Samantha shames Miranda for having bikini line hair growth sticking out from her swimsuit. That’s the kind of judgement heaped on women if we deviate from what’s expected of us. Post lockdown I’ve gone back to my tradition of getting waxed because I simply just don’t like hair down there. Now though, what used to be a regular thing on my to do list is now something I get done when I have the time for it. Regardless of the return of the bush, there's also nothing wrong with wanting to get rid of your pubic hair. The problem is that so many women feel that it’s a black or white choice. However you choose to wear it, hair is like any other trend: it always comes back eventually. So ladies whether you decide to go bald or bush, always remember that it is your choice and your choice alone. So, choose what suits you. Yours in self care, cheers… About the writer: Bewaji is a Business Developer for CT Productions, agent of The Economist in West Africa. When she’s not doing that she focuses on her passion for food through her food business Casa B’Elise (@casa_b.elise). She enjoys all things Afrocentric and Bewaji is also an avid puff puff lover. She is a lover of poetry and music and all things random. You can reach out to her on IG @japhitwoman.
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