Much like the hair that grows out of our heads, our body hair is heavily policed and politicized. Whether it is our armpit hair, the hair on our legs or even the hair on our knuckles, no part of our bodies is free from the white patriarchy’s grueling gaze.
“I love my bush!” 24-year-old Eva tells xoNecole. The “bush” they are referring to is the one growing in between their thighs. Women’s pubic hair has long been a particular point of contention in society that would rather see women retain their hairless, prepubescent form.
Over the decades, the hair that covers our intimate parts has gone through a series of cultural transformations. There was the unmanicured bush. There was the landing strip and other festive shapes. And of course, there was just completely bald. Some of the women xoNecole spoke with cycled through similar options with their crotch hair before landing on rocking a full bush.
“I have tried shaving, waxing, and sugaring,” an anonymous 28-year-old woman tells xoNecole, saying that she stopped because of the unbearable pain that she experienced during the process. Eva explains how she initially felt disgusted with her body hair growing up and would look for ways to remove it. “When I was like eleven I got in trouble because I kept stealing my mom’s little cheap-ass disposable BIC razors and fucking up my legs.” She continues, “I took myself for my first bikini wax at 18 which looking back was way too young.”
For some of the women xoNecole spoke with, the process of embracing their bush was less about a technical process and more about unlearning the toxic ideals about their bodies they had internalized.
“I never had a partner explicitly ask or demand that I shave but I definitely did feel the societal pressure,” says an anonymous 25-year-old who now loves their bush. 37-year-old Nanette who says she is “pretty happy” with her bush these days, tells xoNecole, “I wouldn't shave a f—cking thing if I didn't feel like I had to.”
A few of the women say that they never felt particularly pressured either way when it came to shaving. “I think because I had no older sister or older girl cousins I never was aware that this was a common thing to feel shame/ disgust for,” says the 28-year-old. She continues by saying that while she understands why other women might opt for the bald look, she personally feels her sexiest with her bush. “I think pubic hair is so normal. I'm really disgusted by men who have a strong preference for a bald look.”
Regardless of the journey it took for a woman to begin embracing the way their pubic hair naturally grows, the women we spoke with agree that the work to unlearn society’s toxic messaging has been an added bonus. As one of the women put it: “I am fully bushed and very proud of it."
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Feature image by Delmaine Donson/ Getty Images