Culture

The Year in Review: Pubic Hair

Culture

The Year in Review: Pubic Hair

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Back in January, The New York Times proclaimed that bush (lower case) was back.

That’s right, after decades of razors, wax, lasers and that weird, smelly cream called Nair (shudder), women were returning to a more natural look “down there.” Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Gabby Hoffmann and Lady Gaga expressed their preference for an untamed bush. Fashion trends move in cycles, so it was really only a matter of time before our vaginas followed suit.

As 2014 comes to a close, it seems an appropriate time to see if the diagnosis stuck. Did the past year prove that pubic hair was back to stay or was it, in fact, just a passing trend?

Just weeks before the Times proclamation, Cameron Diaz released The Body Book: the 41-year-old actress’ guide to loving one’s body. In it she dedicates a lengthy section to pubes, in which she firmly states that she believes vaginas ought to be “fully dressed.”

That same month, American Apparel stocked its windows with full-bushed mannequins, sending shockwaves throughout cyberspace (If you missed it, Google “American Apparel pubic hair”–you’ll get the picture). It seemed that pubes were poised for a stellar year.

But come April, an edited take on the full bush emerged. The mullet of pubic grooming, the “full bush Brazilian” entails removing the hair from one’s labia and butt region but leaving the top area au natural. It’s more of a “Party in the front, business in the back” sort of scenario. In New York Magazine’s in-depth analysis, they describe it as, “’Having it all,’ with pubes.”

If pubes took a hit with the growing popularity of the full bush Brazilian, in Korea women show their allegiance for pubic hair via more extreme measures. More and more women suffering from pubic atrichosis, which results in a lack of pubic hair, are getting pubic hair transplants. A big win for pubes in 2014.

Earlier this month, artist Marilyn Minter released the book Plush, which graphically shines the spotlight on the bush in all its high-def, detailed glory. “The idea was to create beautiful images of pubic hair, a subject matter that seemed to be disappearing from popular discourse,” the artist told the Observer.

While Minter’s images are beautiful in their own, disturbing way, I’m going to have to disagree with this sentiment. If there’s anything we’ve learned from all the hemming and hawing over “pubic hair trends” this past year it’s that the hairiness (or hairlessness) of females’ nether regions seems to be one of our favorite topics of discourse.

As an adult female capable of growing pubic hair, I can’t say I’ve ever “followed the trends” when it comes to grooming my vag. Women (and celebrities) who speak out in defense of a full, hearty bush tend to allude to a sense of empowerment. Personally, I don’t need a celebrity (or the Times, or NY Mag) to tell me how I should or should not look down there (sorry, Cameron Diaz).

So this is my motion to make 2015 be the year we stop talking about pubic hair. As entertaining as it is to watch publications scramble to come up with euphemisms for pubes (my personal favorites, courtesy of the Times, are “Bountiful crop,” “Untrimmed thicket” and “Mossy covering”), I, for one, think any “modern woman” is empowered and informed enough to decide whether she wants to go hair or go bare without publishing it in the newspaper, online or on Instagram (you’ll notice I didn’t divulge my own vaginal preferences – that’s between me, whatever deity I may or may not believe in and my hypothetical boyfriend).

Besides, there are much more fascinating female body hair trends to discuss.

(Endnote: My male colleagues universally agree a “waxed beaver” is better than a “’70s bush,” — their quotes, not mine.)