Day 7: Bring Back the Bush

3 years ago

Someone wrote a post recently on shaving her vagina, and the post has had me wondering why women feel that they need to have less and less hair everywhere except their heads. I can’t find the exact post because if you Google “shave your vagina,” about a trillion results come up. This troubles me for many reasons, starting with the anatomical infeasibility of shaving a vagina. A vagina is a hole. I puzzled over this when I read the post, but from all of those hits, I am now even more puzzled because apparently many women don’t know where their vaginas are. This problem may be deeper, no pun intended, than a cosmetic preference that makes adult women look like prepubescent girls. Terminology aside (a rant for another post), I wonder at what point women decided to ban the bush and why.

The horror of hair has actually spread to boys now too. I am not being sexist by contrasting women with boys. I really mean boys. I worked in an ER for a long time and saw a lot of junk, and only that of younger men was hairless (after the point when it shouldn’t be hairless). In fact, teenagers of both sexes are starting to shave their arms as well. I await the day when teenaged boys start shaving their legs. Apparently these hairless boys are getting “boyzillian” waxes. I’m not making this up. It’s something you can’t un-imagine after you think of these brawny dudes up on a salon table having their ball sacks stretched for waxing. You’re welcome.

I missed out on the initial widespread establishment of the no-bush rule. It must have been a generation behind me, because when I got to nursing school and had occasion to see a lot of naked people, I wondered why no women had pubic hair anymore. In my day, apparently when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we made do with a neat trim so that we didn’t look all “National Geographic” in a bikini. But now women of all ages pretty consistently have shaved pubic areas. I mean, bare.

This is a terrible idea. I think it looks weird for an adult woman to have a house without the lawn, but esthetics aside, it is medically a terrible idea. Plain common sense should be enough to warn people that wielding a razor in an area they can’t see can lead to unintended outcomes. Even if you don’t outright cut yourself with the razor, shaving has very unsexy infection risks. Patients are no longer shaved before surgery because it’s an infection risk. If you can get an infection in a sterile OR, just think about what you can get from bumping uglies. Skin infections on the labia look terrible, worsen quickly, and are painful. I’ve seen a lot of patients who need I&D’s, or incision and drainage, and that is as awful as it sounds.

Why do we put ourselves at such risk? I am not suggestiong that women should stop shaving if they really like the way bare labia look and feel. Choice means we can shave whatever hair we want, after all. I choose to shave my armpits because I feel like a chimpanzee otherwise. But what I question is why women are disgusted by pubic hair. Truly disgusted and ashamed. Is this a contagious attitude caught from men? “Baby, you gotta shave that thing because I don’t want hair in my teeth”? Men really do seem to dislike pubic hair on women. Perhaps those who are starting to wax themselves are just being fair about it. So is it for men? Who started it?

I can’t believe I’m espousing a campaign to bring back the bush and suggesting that people need more hair, not less, but that seems to be where this train of thought has arrived. A nicely landscaped lawn looks much nicer than bare ground, doesn’t it? A short trim looks nicer than cellulitis or folliculitis resulting from shaving hair down to the skin: that’s for sure. Bring back the bush! Bring back the bush!

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