Apparently there’s a new trend in pubic hair, called the “full-bush Brazilian,” which involves stripping the hair off of the labia and butt but leaving the jungles wild up-top. Named by the arbiters of cool at NY Mag’s The Cut last year after a conversation with a popular waxer, the oxymoronic pubic style is said to be popular with “hippies with porny sex lives, who need to be hairless for licking.”
That explanation sounds perfectly legit to me – and who am I to question the lived experience of a New York City waxer, right? – but I’m going to put forward another one: The full-bush Brazilian is less for “hippies” (because, let’s be real: how many hippies do you know who go and get any kind of wax, “porny” or not?) and more for women who want the increased sensitivity of a Brazilian without feeling like a prepubescent girl.
While the bare down there trend can trace its history in the US to a Manhattan salon run by seven Brazilians sisters in 1987, I first noticed the trend taking a firm grip on the pussies of my family and friends sometime in the mid-aughts. I particularly remember a conversation with a girlfriend in college who was totally baffled by the grooming habits of a new friend.
“Apparently she shaves off all of her pubes,” my friend exclaimed. “Have you ever heard of that?”
As someone with younger siblings I had in fact not only heard of it but had been turning it over in my mind for a while. For me, the idea of complete depilation seemed like, a) a lot of work, b) painful, and c) creepily pedophilic. While the first two are mainly related to my own innate laziness and dislike of discomfort, the last one felt like a pretty serious feminist issue.
What are the implications of making the genitals of fully grown, sexual women look like those of a child? Was this just another way to infantilize and control women’s sexuality or was it a harmless trend that would pass like any other?
As a feminist and 19 year old with strong opinions on basically everything, I railed against the hairless cat for years. It was expensive! It was painful! It was weird! We needed to take back the bush, go wandering in the jungle, stop being scared of our natural sexuality!
Now, almost a decade and thousands of articles about porn, pubes, and increased sexual sensation for women with Brazilians later, I’m less strident about my anti-hairlessness stance. While it’s still definitely not my preference, I’ve accepted the fact that each and every women can choose to do whatever the hell she wants with her own damn pubes.
And while the full-bush Brazilian is being touted as a pubic hair “trend,” super official and scientific research shows that both women and men are doing all kinds of things with their pubic hair these days – there really is no one way to wear your hair down there. As long as no one is forcing me to put hot wax on my bits, who cares whether someone wants to strip it bare like a Brazilian, let it grow wild as the hippies in the Haight surely did, or go for the “pubic reverse mullet” in the form of the full-bush Brazilian? I’ve got bigger things to worry about.
Photo courtesy of Shan Sheehan, CC License on Flickr.