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