Growing up down there: me and my pubic hair
Why should young women feel ashamed of their perfectly natural ‘lady gardens’?
We have been duped. So many young women I know are having their pubic hair torn from their skin because their partner wishes or expects them to do so.
I have had more than one partner request that I remove all my pubic hair, and I confess to having been conflicted. I mean, they would clearly find me more attractive that way. That must mean I am unattractive now. I’ve even encountered a man who told me, with a suggestive leer, that the idea of a woman undergoing the pain of waxing that area “just for him” gave him tremendous pleasure.
Hygiene is one thing, looking like a prepubescent girl is another. I’ve always kept myself groomed, but I’ve always felt rather ashamed. Given my experience, that’s hardly surprising.
A new partner
When I started seeing someone new a few months ago, I was forced to address that shame in a way that many of my female peers don’t. I found myself in a relationship with that rare and wonderful creature: a male feminist. He declared that every woman he had ever been with had been completely hairless, and he thought this was silly.
When he asked me why I subjected myself to uncomfortable and irritating maintenance for the sake of an arbitrary male preference, I could not give him a sensible answer.
My reason for grooming myself to fastidious excess was the belief that the way I look naturally – which, incidentally, I had not seen for years – is repulsive. That is not a good reason. In an attempt to challenge myself, I wanted to see what would happen if I simply let my hair grow.
As I watched it return over time, I was astounded by my own discomfort. It was growing where it “shouldn’t”. Its expansion across my previously prim groin felt invasive. Like an uncontrollable, drunken female, it reeled across my body with unacceptable confidence.
My sense of conforming to what is considered acceptably feminine was lost, and I did not feel comfortable. I was breaking all of the rules set out for women of my generation, and I felt I could not be anything but ugly.
How odd, then, to encounter a man who neither fetishises nor vilifies a real female body as it is in its natural state, but simply accepts and rather likes it.
I’m no less uncomfortable, however. The fact that it took a man to inspire me to challenge myself in this way shows that I have, at least to some extent, been complicit in my own duping. I’m not the only one.