Several years ago, I attended a V-day event in the Chicago suburbs. If you’ve never heard of V-day, it’s a global activist movement to end violence against women. Events take place every Valentine’s Day and include various speakers and activities.
On this particular evening, a young woman read an excerpt from Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, which started with this line:
“You cannot love a vagina if you do not love hair.”
The monologue goes on to describe, in fairly graphic detail, how this woman’s husband wanted her to remove all the hair from her vagina, how uncomfortable it was when she did it, and how he cheated on her because she wouldn’t give in to all of his sexual demands.
I didn’t give the “love hair” part of it much thought at the time, mostly because I was thinking about how glad I was that I hadn’t brought my preteen daughter with me. Nonetheless, that first line stuck with me. Rather, the truth of it stuck with me, along with the reprise at the end of the monologue: “You have to love hair in order to love the vagina. You can’t pick the parts you want.”
Which brings me to Brazilians.
I first heard about Brazilian waxes from Gwyneth Paltrow. Why her waxing habits came across my radar, I have no idea, but she said that it had changed her life, so it caught my attention. Intrigued, I looked up what a Brazilian wax entailed, and immediately decided this was one of Gwynnie’s quirky Goopy things.
Apparently it wasn’t. Brazilians are actually pretty popular. And I sincerely do not get it.
It’s not that the idea of having all of the hair yanked out of my labia sounds too painful. I mean, it does. Good gracious. But I squeezed three human beings through my vagina with no pain relief, so that area is primed and ready for any abuse I may choose to heap upon it.
Nah, the pain I could handle. It’s the final result that makes me cringe.
Firstly, why would a grown woman want her vulva to look like a child’s? That’s the first impression I get when I think about removing every bit of hair down there. I know that some Brazilian waxes leave a “landing strip,” but I’m talking about the full Brazilian where they remove everything.
I’m not a “free the bush” kind of person, either — I think some grooming and maintenance in that area is reasonable. But moderation in all things, right? I’m just not down with the no-hair thing. It feels creepy to me.
Secondly…no. That’s it. I just can’t get past the prepubescent look of it.
I read a really interesting article from The Atlantic about this phenomenon, and apparently my age has something to do with my discomfort. I’m 41. The hairless genitalia is primarily a fad amongst the under-30 crowd, and especially popular among the college-age crowd. And it’s largely been influenced by the adult film industry.
As if the proliferation of porn in the internet age isn’t enough of an issue on its own, now it’s inspiring women to rip all the hair out of our vulvas so we look like 10-year-old girls with fully developed breasts? Wonderful.
There actually are some other reasons that make me shudder at the idea of getting a full Brazilian:
One, I’m cheap. I’m certainly not going to do it to myself, so I’d have to pay someone else to do it. I’m not willing to shell out $50 to $100 for that torture. I’ll take that money and get a massage, man.
Two, I have absolutely zero interest in a stranger who is not also my doctor being that up close and personal with my vagina. Who on earth would want that job in the first place? I can’t imagine yanking out people’s pubes for a living. No thank you.
Three, missing from any discussion I’ve seen about this whole thing is the idea of men removing all of their pubic hair. I’m guessing that’s probably a thing in some circles, but it’s certainly not as popular as Brazilians for women. And if it’s popular for women but not for men — why not? Why are we always the ones who are expected to alter our bodies in drastic ways?
Everyone has to draw a line where they feel comfortable, of course. To me, there is a world of difference between a bikini wax where you still get to wear some kind of undies and the Brazilian where somebody’s full-on up in your business. And there is a world of difference between grooming hair and removing it completely. But if you are going this route, it should be because you like it, because it feels comfortable to you, because you want to do it. Not because you feel like that is what makes you desirable, clean, and attractive to your partner.
I guess one of the benefits of getting older is not feeling any need or desire to follow fads like this. You do you, but I’ll keep
my bush sexually mature genitalia, thank you very much.