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  • Amok Mama: (Why) do I want to shave?


Amok Mama: (Why) do I want to shave?

Is Jacinta Nandi voting for Bush? Our Amok Mama contemplates all the repercussions in the ongoing southern landscaping debate.

So: 2014 has been declared, by Emer O’Toole in The Guardian at least, as the year we stop shaving. Not just our ladybits, which she stopped shaving a while back, but legs and armpits too. Now, due to constraints of space, I am going to mostly focus on pubic hairs here, sorry. The pro-pubes brigade have been given some surprising support from Cameron Diaz – although this support, somewhat unsurprisingly, perhaps, has come wrapped up in a fairly non-feminist message – we should definitely never get our pubes lasered off, apparently, because in the future, when gravity has done its worst, our long hairs will be able to cover our long labia. Not the most body-positive or pro-woman argument for pubic hair I ever heard, I must say, and also feel I must mention at this point an intervention Cameron Diaz once staged on a girlfriend with so much pubic hair that it swam in the bath like seaweed. So Cameron and her friends pinned her down in the shower and physically assaulted her with a pair of scissors. To be honest, I’m not sure the pro-hair lobby needs supporters like Cameron.

Reading the comments under O’Toole’s Guardian piece, I was really struck by the vehemence of the commenters’ responses. There were lots of angry commenters either saying: a) Yes, shaving your pubes and shaving in general is something you do because you’ve internalized porn and love misogyny and I would never do it, look at my lovely armpit hair, blowing in the breeze or b) Emer O’Toole can fuck off telling me what to do with my body: my body, my hair, my vagina, my choice.

We’ve been here before, of course, and rather recently, too. Just a couple of years back we had Caitlin Moran and Charlotte Roche telling us pretty much the same thing. I did feel then that they are both such attractive women that men will shag them anyway, but I don’t know whether I am missing the point there.

One of the greatest myths the Brits have about the Germans is that they don’t shave. Now, this might have been true in the 1980s and 1990s – and it was certainly more true in East Germany (there are East German men who are actively disgusted by a shaven pussy: “You look like a plucked chicken!” they spit in disapproval) and FKK definitely led to a more healthy reaction towards the whole shaving issue, so that German teenagers who’ve grown up going to FKK beaches and thermal swimming baths won’t burst out laughing at the sight of a bush – but the fact remains that The Kids in Germany are as shaven as in the UK – and the boys, I would say, even more so: German boys under 30 are basically completely hairless.

What I CAN’T understand is how everybody can be so CERTAIN on their opinions on this topic. SO CLEAR that they know whether they want to shave or not? FUCK OFF, you bossy feminists, I know why I want to shave and I’m not going to stop because you tell me to, FUCK YOU, porn industry, I’m my own woman – look at my lovely bush. 

How can you all be so certain? I don’t even know IF I want to shave or not – and I certainly don’t know why. Okay, so I suspect that probably the feminists are right – we shave to make ourselves look younger, like teenage girls. Ever since porn hit the internet, our female body ideal has become smaller and smaller and skinnier and skinner. No hips, no tits, no curves, no hair, but braces in her mouth and semen all over her face – this is the Marilyn Monroe of our age. However, I suspect that it might be even more sinister than that: we might be wanting to make women look like they’re not actually alive – like they’re plastic Barbie dolls, i.e. totally dead. I suspect this about foundation too, by the way. And if you google “perfect pussies” or labiaplasty sites, the perfect vaginas you see don’t actually look like vaginas at all – they look like pink, plastic holes, almost as sexless as Barbie’s crotch. 

What’s definitely untrue is this idea that women shave for themselves. Come off it! They shave for themselves, in so far that they feel happier in themselves when other people, primarily men, aren’t disgusted by their body hair. If I haven’t had sex or been to Tropical Islands in a while, over a month, say, I will literally have cultivated a luscious rainforest in my knickers before I even notice.

I wish I could be as certain as everyone-else. I wish I had all the answers. I wish I knew what I really felt and thought and wanted. Maybe a trim? Maybe I should get my nail scissors out. Maybe I’ll never find out. Who knows? I certainly don’t.