Word on the street is that the term ‘bikini body’ is out, actually banned by Women’s Health magazine in the US. At the same time, women’s pubic hair is going the same way as men’s facial hair: big and hipster.
Clearly this is big news for us female swimmers. No longer will we have to a) look like we’re modelling our swimwear, or b) tame our bushes. Result.
Actually, the bikini body phrase ban is a good thing. It comes from the readers of Women’s Health who felt that defining only one body type as fit to wear a bikini was an insult to other body types. They also rejected the idea that the phrase suggests women should be getting in shape in order to look good in a bikini.
Editor Amy Keller Laird pointed out that women are more focused on feeling confident and being healthy, not working out so they can “fit into some preconceived, outdated notion of what’s sexy.” Which is quite right, if not a little slow on the uptake.
Talking of outdated notions of what’s sexy… In a bid to drum up sales for Valentines, the New York branch of American Apparel’s window display went for it in the pubic hair department (pictured above).
Yes, it was a show-stopping PR stunt. But it’s part of a wider narrative about hairy foofs. A recent survey found the majority of women couldn’t be bothered to prune their lady gardens, and their partners didn’t really care either. Gywneth Paltrow recently told an interviewer that she was rocking a 70s vibe down there.
It seems like a weird topic of conversation to bring up with an A-lister; body hair equality has traditionally been a topic for more hardcore feminists. But it’s about time the world shrugged off the taboo and started talking about it.
Shorn muffs come from the porn industry alone. Not, then, from any sexual preference, or for better hygiene or odour, which has been one of the more fatuous reasons given for hair removal.
Through porn, which is where most of us first see a vagina, Brazilians became the norm: what boys expect, and what girls think boys want. In her book How to be a Woman Caitlin Moran says, “Hairlessness is not there for the excitingness. It’s not, disappointingly, there to satisfy a kink…the real reason porn stars wax is because, if you remove all the fur, you can see more when you’re doing penetrative shots. And that’s it. It’s all down to the technical considerations of cinematography.”
In New York, you should now ask your wax technician for a ‘full bush Brazilian’, which is essentially the short back and sides of hair removal – a full muff and a bald undercarriage.
This is, of course, no less ridiculous than a landing strip or full Brazilian. But give the hair removal industry credit for creativity: if men go fully bearded and women leave their pubes to grow as nature intended, they’re going to be left twiddling their thumbs.
I’ve never cared enough for fashionable pubes to put up with utter faff of removal, or the sheer itchiness of the regrowth. Nor have I been put off wearing a bikini by the fact that I don’t have a bikini bod. But I would be pleased if my children grew up knowing muffs are hairy, bodies of all shapes can flaunt swimwear, and healthiness is more important than looks.
Love this tat! I might get it next Muffember…