Why Is Everyone Freaking Out Over Pubic Hair?



PubicHair_slide1Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
No, you're not imagining things. There's been a lot of talk about vaginas, feminine hygiene, and pubic hair around these parts (ha!) as of late. Muffs have become a media darling, joining the ranks of eyebrowless Miley Cyrus and mug-posing Justin Bieber as the topic that everyone and their mother editor needs to comment on. Like a good polarizing post on not washing one's hair, it seems that feminine hygiene and the politics of the female body will never cease to be fodder for debate. We're just not sure what the big deal is this time around.

The big news on pubes as of late? Women are embracing the fuller look, as apparently demonstrated by Gaby Hoffman, who revealed her bush on Girls; Cameron Diaz's pro-underhair fodder in her new book; and the full carpets worn by mannequins in the window displays at American Apparel. (Quelle horreur!) Everyone seems to be in a state of shock over something that, frankly, we see all the time: a changing beauty trend. No, we cannot ignore the fact that feminism/porn/unhealthy standards of beauty exist. But, at the same time, we're thinking that we have to give women a little bit more credit. Some women enjoy full bushes. Others just dislike their body hair for whatever reason. It's a choice, and just like how fuller brows and even beards on men have become more popular in recent years, so has enjoying the natural state of one's genitals. So, that's where we're at.

Of course, some women do have partners who bully them into looking a certain way. And, sure, the beauty industry does turn a profit on products that are meant to change or enhance women's (and, increasingly so, men's) appearances. But, as Hoffman stated in The New York Times, “I grew up with a lot of naked women with big bushes. It never occurred to me to remove [my pubic hair]." For some women, it's just a non-issue — simply a case of fashion or personal preference.

But, how to embrace this trend? For those of us who have spent years (or our entire adult lifetime) keeping things pruned, how do we go about letting our natural shape bloom? There's an abundance of tutorials, services, and products for going bare, but not much for how to keep your natural growth groomed.

Always asking those hard questions, we went to Michelle Mapes, an aesthetician at Stark Waxing Studio in L.A. She reports that women have many options for sporting a more natural look. "Some women are opting for a full bush in the front, with extra taken off on the sides and in the back," explains Mapes. "Or, they might even simply remove anything that would stick out of underwear or a bathing suit." For the more daring woman, there's also an option to only take off hair from "mid-labia to the back" for a business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back look — the pubic mullet if you will.

Obviously this topic is ripe for discussion, so weigh in on where you fall on the lady-grooming spectrum in the comments below. We do so love to share.

Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page!