Thursday, October 28, 2010

Women's Public Hair

No, that's not a typo. Women's pubic hair is now public hair and subject to the same cut-and-burn rules as all body hair on women. An August 2010 piece at Salon talks about this:

Sasha Grey made my day -- and I don't just say that to rhyme, I swear. Apparently, the porn star appeared naked on last night's "Entourage" and caused quite the commotion among the show's dude-bro contingent. Not because she was naked on-camera (which is, mind you, a relatively common occurrence) but because she went naked with a full-on bush (which is also a relatively common occurrence for her, actually). Judging from the resulting hysteria on Twitter, it was the Pube-pocalypse. Behold, a few of the standout tweets:

Yea she had a sicko BUSH

Sasha Grey had an ENORMOUS f***ing 70s bush. WTF

That s**t was so uncalled for

Sasha Grey really should shave her bush

Entourage was wild. So was Sasha Grey's bush. #EW

did anyone else think that was disgusting. ITS 2010!
(Stars inserted by me in the vain hope that this will slip past the censors at places of work.)

Now, those comments may not be representative. But what is certainly true is this:

The no-hair look was made popular by porn, as the biggest porn star of the moment is no doubt aware.
There you have it, all of you who think that porn has no impact on anything outside the private games the viewers play with themselves. It has made some heterosexual men develop a vomit-reflex when they see natural pubic hair on women and it has made the shaving of the pubic area fashionable for at least some women. And for some odd reason it has made some guys think that pubic hair stopped growing on women in the 1970s. Now that was funny.

My point isn't to approve or disapprove of whatever people choose to do to their bodily hairs but to point out the role of popular culture, including pornography, on something presumably as biology-driven as desire. If men unaccustomed to seeing female pubic hair find it sufficient to turn them off, how on earth could that desire be based on pure biology? Adult women in the wild do, after all, grow pubic hair.

All this proves the powerful role of culture (including the pornographic parts of it), in case you didn't get the message already.

And yes, this post was provoked by that Gawker story.