Where did feminism go wrong?
I am a feminist. I am a feminist because I love the opportunities and freedom that feminism has afforded me; however, as a teacher at a girls school, I am continually dismayed at the lengths our heterosexual young women will go to to attract a mate.
Recently, my 18 year old daughter and I were discussing hair removal because the other daughter and I were getting our legs waxed. Anyhow she told me that two of her friends shave their entire pubic region (yup, the labia and all the bits) because they ‘want to be smooth’ for their boyfriends.
Let’s not even begin to discuss how itchy it must be when it starts to grow back or how prickly it’d be when enjoying ‘sexual congress’ for their partner (or maybe that’s the aim, IDK). But, what about the absolute madness of putting a razor near a very soft, very sensitive area. What if they slipped? What if they needed stitches? What conversation would they have to have at the hospital? Would they take a photo for instagram?
So many questions…
After a bit of research and in an article from Psychology Today by Michael Castleman I learned that in 2015 that 21% of young women between 18 to 24 years of age prefer bald nether regions. A bit more research revealed that quite a number of young women started completely shaving their pubic region at 13.
13 years old! How much hair could they possibly have?
Apparently a whole stack of young people, 73% of male and 56.6% of women shave their pubic hair because they think it’s more hygienic. Which is a load of rubbish because extensive medical studies have determined that pubic hair is necessary to keeping the vagina temperature even for optimum health, and it also helps prevent irritation of the skin. What is even move interesting is that pubic hair can help protect the wearer from a myriad of STIs. (Niceshaver.com, 2021). But, despite all of the health giving properties of pubic hair, according to niceshaver.com 21% of young women shave because they think their partner would find them more attractive sexually.
Call me old fashioned (and at my age I probably am) I reckon that if you are at the point where your sexual partner can ascertain whether you have shaved your pubes or not, they are pretty much just grateful that you want to have sex with them. And they aren’t grateful that you are wanting to bonk them…
If the guy you are sleeping with is giving you a hard time about the amount of hair you have where you should have hair then he is not worth the price of the condom and you can do better.
Russell Howard in his show ‘Recalibrate’ does a whole segment about how high school girls are shaving their pubic hair because ‘they don’t want to be laughed at’. He was mortified by this revelation, I was mortified by this revelation and my husband was just confused (he is pretty much in the camp of ‘if a women is willing to have sex with you, the pubic hair is a non issue’).
After watching this show, my girls and I had a conversation and have decided that whatever they are comfortable with is fine (feminism at work here) but going to the extreme to make yourself more desirable is crazy. Of course, Russell reinforced this sentiment emphatically throughout this segment, and for that I will forever in debt to him (although, I have and probably never will meet him and, even if I did, starting the conversation praising his views about female pubic hair might be deemed inappropriate).
My husband has also voiced concerns about the preference of men who prefer ‘bald bits’ because, to his mind, the only females who don’t have pubic hair are pre-pubescent. And when you think about it that way, it all becomes a bit seedy and you almost want pubic hair just to weed out the potential pedos.
Which brings me back to feminism; how much have we let down our young women if they are walking around thinking they need to fulfil some sexual fantasy ideal just to be loved? Where did the message get lost? Did we not set a good example of self-love?
I love that Russell Howard discussed this issue in his ‘Recalibrate’ show. I love that he brought it out into the open so that people could laugh and think. And I love that maybe, just maybe, some parents may have had a conversation with their kids (girls and boys) about the importance of respect in relationships and the presence of pubic hair.
In the ‘Recalibrate’ show, Russell Howard also tells a story about working on a charity programme where he was sung to by a mother and her children to show their gratitude for taking the kids to school and how embarrassed he was.
Her song was, ‘Thank you, Jesus, for bringing Russell.’
I’m sorry, Russell, but I agree; thank you.