I have a few questions for you.
Do you have pubic hair?
Do you think pubic hair is gross?
Do you get squirmish if people talk about pubic hair?
Does the word ‘pubes’ weird you out?
Would you grimace if you saw a woman (in person or online) with pubic hair poking out of her clothing?
Now, I want you to think about why you answered the way you did.
I’m sure there’s a lot of negative answers, and I’m hopeful that there’s also a few (or more) positive answers.
We have been conditioned to see pubic hair on women as dirty – something that should be hidden or removed. Razors, waxing, hair removal cream and laser constantly get advertised to us for the removal of body hair.
Pubic hair is a natural part of the human body, but apparently, especially on social media, it’s offensive for women to have.
I’ve tried twice to upload images on my photography Instagram of pubic hair (no vagina in sight by the way) and Instagram, and the people reporting the images, get so offended. Gosh, I am so sorry that the women I photograph don’t fit your standards…
As soon as body hair is involved, the image is instantly sexualised. For example, the image above was removed for nudity. Where’s the nudity? How do they know she’s nude? She is covering the necessary parts. There’s no vagina or breasts featuring. Pubic hair = offensive and harmful to some viewers.
No wonder why young girls and women feel pressured to hide it or get rid of it. I read a thread in a group I’m in on Facebook where a lady was asking for advice on where to take her 12 year old niece to get a bikini wax. She said her niece refused to go on the end of year trip to the water park or put her leotard on for a dance recital because she was embarrassed by the hair down there.
In that moment, I felt furious, frustrated and sad all at once. I knew how this little girl felt. I went through puberty extremely young and I was one year older than most of the kids in my grade, so I felt like I had no one around me that was experiencing what I was. I was going to birthday parties where everyone was freely swimming in the pool and I would wear board shorts over my bikini because I hadn’t tried tampons yet and was embarrassed that people would see blood. I also started getting a bikini wax really young because having hair down there when no one else did made me feel extremely self conscious.
Now, I don’t care as much what people think. I take photos of women and their hair all the time. I don’t shave obsessively or go through the pain of getting waxed. I remove or keep my body hair of my own free will. I don’t like the idea of laser treatment because I know in years to come I’ll regret going down that path.
So, I was furious that this young girl was embarrassed, I was frustrated that I couldn’t do anything to help her and sad that the world hadn’t changed at all since I was 13.
I get it, it’s personal preference. Shaved or not shaved, waxed or not waxed, but my whole issue is why are we judging what other people do with their bodies? If you want to keep the hair, you shouldn’t be subjected to criticism or feel ashamed.
When Instagram removes my images containing pubic hair, but doesn’t bat an eyelid at the images of pubic areas as smooth as a baby’s bottom, it plays into the ideal that women shouldn’t have pubic hair or if they do, it should be hidden.
I’ll leave on this one final note – the removal notification says, “some audiences may be sensitive to different things”. That’s one of the reasons the community guidelines prohibited my image from being on Instagram. So let me get this straight, does that mean if I am sensitive to men’s nipples not being covered, when women’s nipples have to be, they’ll get removed? No, I didn’t think so.