Women spend more than $10,000 on hair removal over their life; 95% of women under 30 remove some to all of their pubic hair. Why?
Every year pubic hair is declared “back”—from the Daily Magazine in 2012, to the Telegraphin 2013, to Women’s Health Magazine in 2014, to Alternet in 2015. But is it really? How does pubic hair make a comeback every year? Clearly, we desire pubic hair to be vogue. Now, bathing suit season is upon us. What do I do?
As a woman, I am very aware of my four options for downstairs: shave, wax, groom, or go au naturel. When I started developing as an adolescent, I was surprised when things started to change. Having played with hairless Barbies for all my childhood, I guess I had been beguiled into believing pubic hair didn’t occur until you were much older. Regardless, I embraced the changes and journey of becoming a woman.
In my mid-teen years I became aware that women were shaving and more “risqué” girls were starting to wax. As my body developed and low-cut jeans, bikinis, and shorter shorts started to fill my closet, I, too, hopped on the bandwagon that believed hair was unfeminine, unsightly, and needed to be removed. That is until this year, when I decided to examine the wagon I was riding.
In a recent U.S. study conducted among 2,000 sexually active women under the age of 30, 88% of the women ages 18-24 reported removing some to all of their pubic hair. Fifty-nine percent of the women reported their pubic hair status as typically or sometimes completely hair-free. In another study published this year, 49.8% of the women reported being typically hair-free. Only 4.1% of women reported not trimming or removing any pubic hair, leaving 95% of the women with groomed, trimmed, or removed pubic hair.
Evidently, the overwhelming majority of women under 30 remove some to all of their pubic hair. The next question on my mind was why? In another study asking over 600 women what their motivations were for removing pubic hair, the most common reasons were, “It looks better in a bathing suit”; “It makes me feel attractive”; “I feel more feminine and more comfortable”; and “I think it’s cleaner.” Other common though slightly less popular answers included, “partner likes it”; “men prefer it”; and other reasons related to sex.
Reading these reasons cited for hair removal sparked a desire to learn more. Is pubic hair removal merely a Western generated phenomenon? Is hair removal filled with rich insight or is it merely a current stubbly blip in the historical lens of personal care?