The Pornification of culture

Ok, so I’ve been thinking about porn again, not in that way… for academic purposes !  I wouldn’t be the first person to make the connection between the normalisation of pubic hair removal among women and the fact that we are living in an era when two generations of teens  come of age with readily available access to pornography, for free, via the internet.  Porn is but a click away for all of us, but for children as young as eleven (according to a recent report) potentially seeing such graphic imagery; you have to ask how this is affecting their sexuality?    It is difficult not to consider an early exposure to images of the female labia in all its hairless pornographic glory (not my opinion) as not in some way influencing young boys perception of what they think women should look like.   Conversations I have had with young women confirm that peer pressure from boys (when they were younger) , who would talk openly as well as  explicitly about what they saw in porn and how they expected women too look, did influence / encourage / pressure them to remove their hair down there, from as young as eleven.   I asked my daughter and her friend recently, if they had ever heard any negative things relating to pubic hair from their peers, and my daughters friend quickly responded,  ” yeah, last week Chris, (a boy their age) said’, “I’m just gonna put it out there girls, you need to get rid of the hair on your pussies”.   These girls are 14, lets face it I come from a generation of parents who just don’t realise how much pornography is being consumed by youngsters.

 

Guess her muff revistited

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As many of you will already know, I am in the ‘writing up’ part of my research.  Expect a lot of posts as I will do anything I possibly can to avoid the actual ‘writing up’ required.  Today I have been going through your comments on my posts to analyze and potentially use as part of my research  (it won’t take me long, there aren’t many…quality over quantity) and I noticed that everyday since this blog started back in May that I have received visits from all over the world.  Excluding the most up to date post page, the most popular page almost EVERY DAY is Guess Her Muff.  Who would have thought that after all my academic theory stuff that this would come out tops !  I thought you might be interested in a response I got from the people who ‘make’ this site (I’m presuming they tracked me down because of all the clicks they were receiving from this site).

Among other things this is what they said:

‘about 40% of the submissions are self submitted, the other remainder of the content of the site is attributed to freely available web resources’, they go on to say that the sites ‘original mission, some 10 or so years ago, was a look at breaking down stereotypes, a “not judging the book by the cover” scenario’.

This last line confused me a bit, were they having a laugh or do we all look at other women and instantly try and guess if she is a ‘smooth criminal’ or a ‘hairy Mary’ (your names, not mine).  I have to admit this sounds like rubbish to me, but if you think they are ‘breaking down stereotypes’ I’d love to hear from you.

Maybe we are all  a bit over exposed to sexual images that we see everywhere, every day on tv, movies, advertising –  do you think pornography has filtered down into all aspects of mass media ? maybe that’s why lots of us are opting for a hairless mons, because its in our faces – so to speak ?

Cleaning the basement…

 

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A while back I went in to a local salon to have my twice year pubic wax. Of course I spent most of the time discussing my dissertation project with my waxer- maybe a bit too long actually as I went in for a ‘short back and sides’ but left with what I can only imagine is a new pubic hair craze – ‘the goatee’.   Too much information maybe…

To be honest, when I got over being mugged of my pubic hair, I reflected on the conversation which was actually really fascinating. We talked about pubic hair practices in Iran, as my attendant was Iranian. I asked her about the influence of Islam, as I read recently that the profit Mohamed suggested that men and women remove all pubic hair at least once every 40 days as part of a complete body hair removal regime. In her opinion, she said it was less about religion and more about hygiene. In fact, she was pretty certain that older Iranian women (who came of age when Iran was in a secular period)  removed their pubes more habitually than younger women and she suggested that cleanliness was the main motivation.

Loads of you recently sent me articles relating to a report that was published this month in the JAMA medical journal.  I read them, thanks, and then went straight to the source.  Like my research, this study aimed to measure the motivations behind pubic hair removal, unlike my research this was  a national report (the first of its kind) in America with a really broad demographic group. 3372  female participants took part, with 83% claiming to have removed or groomed their pubes throughout their lives (as opposed to 16% who had never groomed), 62% reported to removing all of their pubic hair and most said they did their own hair removal. Guess what was cited as the most common reason for hair removal ? you’ve guessed it, hygiene.

If you study mainstream advertising or even if you don’t, cleanliness is often part of the tag lines that accompany grooming products. Sure, we all want to be clean down there but do we have to be waxed to the max to achieve greater levels of personal hygiene ?  Errr no.  So clean and fresh is how we want to present our vaginas, that is fine – I agree, but when did pubic hair become so entrenched in dirt ? If no hair down there equates cleanliness for growing numbers of women, then pubic hair au natural is now by proxy unhygienic.

As you know,  I’m interested in the marketing of beauty products  as part of my research.  Sure, we are continually being sold the idea that pubic hair is dirty via mass marketing and advertising, why not, there is huge profit to be made here.   As part of my research I’ve been holding focus groups and I’d say for younger women hygiene is most often quoted as a motivation for getting rid of their pubic hair. However older women in my groups rarely, if ever mention hygiene. God, does that now mean that anyone over a certain age is dirty ? Hopefully, a bit of dirt didn’t do anyone any harm – damn, now I am sounding old.

The best of the articles that were sent to me was in The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jul/11/should-groom-pubic-hair-shaving-trimming

Dissertation due in 6 weeks so if you want to be in it don’t forget to comment here. Time is of the essence.

 

All dressed up and no hair to go….

Some of you may have read this story yesterday as it appeared in a few news papers as well as numerous blogs and websites, thanks again to one of my blog followers who sent this to me. It is about a women who collected pubic hair via Twitter and made a dress out of it.   She is quoted as saying “I set to work with my eye mask, breathing mask and the thickest gloves I could find, because who wants to eat pubic hair? I thought of the design because of how gross it is. I thought what would be the worst thing to have on your dress.” In fact in most of the pieces written about her dress the words gross, disgusting and weird come up.

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My 6 year old just got up and saw this picture and said, ‘oh mum that looks weird’, however she thought it was made of silk, I didn’t bother to point out what it was actually made of.

Here’s a link to the story:

http://beta.theladbible.com/now/weird-woman-makes-a-dress-out-of-strangers-pubic-hair-20160705#

 

the vagina in art history

imgres-2 ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’ by Jamie McCartney ‘ – Changing female body image through art http://www.greatwallofvagina.co.uk/jamie-mccartney

Last week I posted an image of Courbet’s racy painting, L’Origine du Monde (1866) to accompany the Hairorama short film.  A couple of you said the image was a little too graphic and an unexpected phone pop up as making dinner for the kids.  Point taken, however I thought then that I should give you a little background information on this piece of art.

Clearly still revolutionary for its open and frank depiction of the female form, it caused controversy when it was first released in 1886. and by the very nature of its realistic, graphic nudity, the painting still has the power to shock and triggers censorship today.

Social media giant Facebook  was  taken to court by a French user whose account was closed down after he posted an image of this painting. The video clip I showed last week included this image and was broadcast on TV Chanenel Arte.   Lots of social media sites including Facebook have a strict no-nudity policy, one which is currently hotly contested by the likes of Lena Dunham and Miley Cyrus with the hashtag #Freethenipple.  Instagram recently banned photographs showing pubic hair sticking out of two girls underwear.  So in our society it is ok to bare, but not if its hair !  I don’t know how I feel about this outrage focused on the female body and the vagina when you consider the amount of blatant nudity and pornification that seems to be everywhere we look these days in magazine, films and mass media. Double standards I think.  Lets start our own mini revolution #freethevagina….

In 2014 the Musée d’Orsay, which houses the painting, filed a sexual exhibitionism complaint against performance artist Deborah de Robertis after she sat down in front of the iconic artwork, and recreated it in the flesh.

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I wrote this post yesterday and was saving it for later, but today one of my lovely followers, Graham posted a muppet version of L’Origine:

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If any of you want to see more vulva in art history, take a look at this Time Magazine piece.  Its art not porn.

https://www.timeout.com/los-angeles/art/a-brief-history-of-the-vagina-in-art-slide-show

I’ve only had 5 votes so far on my pubic hair referendum – all REMAIN – does that mean everyone of you is over 30 ?