What's the deal with going bare down there?

What's the deal with going bare down there?

Let me set the scene. It’s 1 AM and you’re doom-scrolling on TikTok, when you find yourself watching street interviews, with mics being shoved in drunk college students’ faces. The interviewer asks “bald or bush” and the frat-boy type yells into the mic “BALDDDD.” Suddenly you ask yourself – is this really how people feel about hair-down-there? Let’s talk all about pubes – why they’re there, what you can do, and how we arrived in our hairless world. 

First, pubic hair isn’t just there randomly – it serves a function in keeping our body healthy. Like all other hair on our bodies, pubic hair acts as protection. It keeps dirt and grime away from the vagina and urethra, keeps the vulva moisturized, and prevents painful friction during sex. 

Hair removal isn’t a new phenomenon. Hair removal as a practice can be traced back to the times of Ancient Greeks and Romans. With that being said, its skyrocket in popularity in the United States can be attributed to the start of mass-advertising during the early 20th century, when marketing directed at women to shave their bodies began and the prevalence of slogans such as “clean,” “modern,” and “attractive” were attributed to the practice. Despite this, the mass-removal of pubic hair known today didn’t give rise until the end of the century. During the 1970s and 1980s, magazines such as Playboy typically displayed models who were au-naturel, and with a landing-strip during the 1990s. The pop culture phenomenon that was the Brazilian came with the early noughties, and the naked look has been seemingly popular since. 

How popular is shaving, exactly? According to a New York Times article from 2019, approximately 80% of American women reported that they remove some or all of their pubic hair, while a 2017 study found that only 50% of American men groomed their pubic hair regularly. 

This rise in popularity hasn’t come without controversy. Many have pointed out the troubling parallel between bare female bodies and ephebophilia – attraction to prepubescent bodies. Is the perceived attractiveness of women shaving bare a manifestation of society’s obsession with Lolita-esque bodies? This trend is further reflected in pornography, where nary an ingrown hair on a shiny pelvis can be spotted – another media type that has been attributed with the rise in prevalence of the fashion. 

Like any cosmetic decision, there are risks and benefits, which are important to be aware of. One recent study has shown that nearly 30% of women who did remove their hair reported being injured in the process. However, being nicked with a razor isn’t required to get the “clean” look – other options such as trimming, tweezing, electric razors, creams, lasers, and waxing are all potential alternatives. Regardless of the topic’s history, to remove or not to remove is ultimately up to you!

Keep Reading