“Eww, pubic hair is unhygienic and gross!”

“A full bush looks ugly…”

“Men don’t like pubic hair on women!”

Bas! Enough. We need to stop this nonsense!

It’s not uncommon to hear strong opinions — usually unpleasant ones — on the topic of (should I say it..) pubic hair. In this day and age where we have vagina tightening, stretch-marks erasing, armpit whitening and more such products being shoved down our throats no thanks to a capitalism-patriarchy nexus, it’s understandable that we have become self-conscious about seemingly random beauty standards that our bodies do not match with. 

It becomes especially hard when the world tells us we should be “naturally” hairless and attributes so-called “unattractive” features, such as body hair for instance, to poor hygiene. Over time, hair growth on the body – mainly women’s bodies – has witnessed much debate. Suddenly, the natural existence of hair becomes “gross” and “unhygienic”.

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But is it really so, especially when we see men’s body hair as being glorified while women’s being associated with their hygiene. Or are we fed misconceptions about our own body to become better consumers – more self-conscious, spending more on beauty products with the belief that we are simply being “clean” and “well-groomed”? Especially when it comes to the hair *down there*, the information around us is so confusing and even, bizarre. Given that we continue to live in a society that shy away from discussing sexual and reproductive healthcare, it is important that we take a look at bust some strange myths surrounding pubic hair!

1. Pubic hair is unhygienic and must be removed

Pubic hair is so not dirty or unhygienic! Pubic hair traps sweat, oil and bacteria, which may give it an odour, but it serves the purpose of keeping potentially harmful microorganisms from reaching the delicate skin of the genital region. This myth often leads people to shave off their pubic hair, when the truth is that our pubic hair is only protecting our skin.

2. Pubic hair is just unattractive

There is nothing attractive or unattractive about pubic hair – it is just hair on the body, just thicker than the hair on our arms and legs. Considering a large part of many people’s preliminary sex education includes watching pornographic content that shows perfectly shaped, hairless bodies of people, it is quite natural that many feel pubic hair is unattractive. The reason we feel that it is unattractive is not inherent, but rather a consequence of social conditioning (*cough* the male gaze), which tells us that all hair on a woman’s body is “unfeminine” or unappealing. I know what you’re thinking – “I toh have only seen smooth bikini lines in clothing ads, I toh never saw all this in porn.” Well, news flash! Neither of these are true depictions of women’s real bodies and nor should they become the ideal to aspire to!

Removing Pubic Hair Probably Won't Increase Your Risk of STDs, Study Finds  | Live Science
The reason we feel that it is unattractive is not inherent, but rather a consequence of social conditioning (*cough* the male gaze), which tells us that all hair on a woman’s body is “unfeminine” or unappealing. Image Source: LiveScience

3. Pubic hair makes sex less pleasurable

Pubic hair and the experience of sex can differ from people to people. Some believe that the stimulation of the genital area is stronger without pubic hair, whereas some find it more comfortable to have sex without shaving, because it eases the friction between skin to skin contact. To each their own, people!

Also read: My Experience Of Growing Up With Hygiene Myths in India

4. Pubic hair serves no real purpose

Among mammals, human beings stand out as an anomaly when it comes to having pubic hair. However, it still serves a purpose for humans. Pubic hair keeps the genital areas warm. It also traps bacteria and pathogens and may shield us from infections like UTIs, yeast infections, vaginitis, and more! Moreover, pubic hair follicles produce sebum, which can actually prevent more bacteria from reproducing. 

5. Some people can have “too much” pubic hair

The length, thickness, and spread in the location of pubic hair can differ from person to person – there is no one single type of growth that happens for every person, just like the rest of our body hair is not similar to that of other people! Only extreme variations in growth of pubic hair may indicate an underlying hormonal condition.

Also read: Surprise! Your Body Hair Is Hygienic

Once again we are faced with terribly high beauty standards set by capitalism and patriarchy that impose more and more control over women. This is why it is important to address the myths around pubic hair and unlearn them, so we can give ourselves a break and stop assuming that all these beauty standards we see are the norm! There is nothing wrong with our pubes, which come in all lengths, thicknesses and variations! 

Featured image source: IOL

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  1. This has to do with personal preference, not patriarchy. While many women wax and shave simply because they do not like body hair or pubic hair, others shave their pubic hair for their own personal pleasure, so that it becomes easier for their husbands to massage and kiss their vagina. (When women tell men to shave their pubic hair and facial hair, no one says a word).

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