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The Big Debate: Hair vs Bare

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Every week, Stylist.co.uk asks two writers to give their opinion on an issue that has divided opinion. But be warned, things can get a little heated.

This week? The great bush debate.

Jess Rach says the bush-backlash makes her more determined than ever to remain hair free. And she's sick of being made to feel like her feminist credentials take a hit because she isn't prepared to go back to basics.

But Deb Ball is rejoicing in the liberation of her lady garden, and worries the obsession with waxing is more sinister than Jess would have you believe.

These two don't see eye-to-eye, but what do you think? Tell us in the comments below

'Hollywood wax please: Why I won't be jumping on the bush-backlash bandwagon'

Following the lauded celebration of the return of the bush, writer Jessica Rach defends her right to preen her lady garden.

I first discovered the joys of waxing as a teenager.

No, it wasn't Snoop's 'Doggy Style' porn I'd been watching, or Pamela Anderson's high leg swimsuit I had been admiring.

The discovery followed a particularly uncomfortable battle involving nail scissors and a bikini as a self-conscious teen on holiday.

Not only did I not fancy reenacting the 'Smack that pony' episode where a horse-like Doon Mackichan gallops along with a mane flowing from her ladybits, but the after effects of my home DIY trimming job was not a comfortable experience I cared to repeat.

So when my friend introduced me to a pained looking middle aged woman who gave me my first wax I felt enlightened. Soon I was addicted, and the 'short back and sides' turned into a full blown Hollywood. (That's 'all off' for you waxing virgins.)

I'm not going to beat around the bush- pardon the pun. This was done purely for reasons of practicality and not, as many suggest, to look like a prepubescent porn star.

But recent images of Lady Gaga baring her bush on the cover of Candy magazine (above) and American Apparel mannequins brandishing furry nether regions has provoked a pro- bush, waxing witch hunt movement.

And, to add to the pressure, Cameron Diaz recently included a section in her 'Body Book' advising women their vagina's are like presents and that ' it would be nice to let him or her unwrap it like the gift that it is'.

Waxing fans now stand accused of being conformist martyrs pandering to the male ideal.

The theory that I am doing this to fulfill a male fantasy enrages me.

I consider myself a feminist, not a suppressed Miley Cyrus type, keen to please. If we are going to pigeon hole, what about men who wax?

And if I was so worried about being sexually appealing, the bald look is definitely not what I would go for.

However the implication that I'm not a 'real woman' because I won't go 'au natural' fills me with anger.

Since when does the size of your bush measure the scale of your femininity?

My choice is entirely independent of pop culture, sexism or conformism. It's a personal choice I don't wish to be judged by.

After all, if I was conforming wouldn't I now be rocking an afro style bush?

''Neat but natural please. Why I'm done with vagina torture'

But Deborah Ball is celebrating a return to au natural

In my early twenties, I bounded onto the Brazilian bandwagon with great enthusiasm. I was intrigued by what it would look and feel like but without doubt my main motivation was that I thought my boyfriend at the time would find it sexy.

The waxing didn’t bother me. I wouldn’t say it was particularly enjoyable but then neither is filing your feet and I’d prefer to have smooth heels than the soles of a sand lizard.

There’s no doubt there was a novelty to having a plucked quail for a pub1s but after only a few days, my fine hair struggled to grow through my massacred follicles and I was left with angry, sore ingrown hairs on my undercarriage.

I persevered for years, assuming a full bush would be abhorrent to potential lovers, never thinking that perhaps having boils on your knicker-line might be rather more repellent.

I succumbed to the peaceful, painless joy of a natural muff some years ago now.

It’s like discovering meditation – the whole point is that no effort is required and you end up with a happier, calmer, more natural lady region as a result.

Going back to what nature intended makes me feel softer, more womanly, and provides an enticing focal point when I’m in the buff. I now have a triangle of intrigue rather than what looks like a misplaced moustache or featherless poultry.

I didn’t need Cameron, Gaga or Gwyneth to enlighten me to this fact, in the same way I realised I didn’t need to butcher myself for the approval of men and the sexiest thing in the world is being comfortable with your body, as it is.

As Caitlin Moran puts it, in her inimitable way, “You can tell whether some misogynistic societal pressure is being exerted on women by calmly enquiring, ‘And are the men doing this, as well?’

If they aren’t, chances are you’re dealing with what we strident feminists refer to as ‘some total f*cking bullshit’.”

Of course, there are men who remove their body hair (maybe they’re in p0rn or want their man sausage to look bigger) but I think everyone would agree that it’s a rarity, not normality.

I’m not advocating for some Amazonian pant beard contest, with a trophy awarded to the lady who can grow her curlies to her knees. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable frolicking on the beach with furry bikini sideburns but that’s because I think my pub1c hair is private.

I would just question the fact that it’s become ‘normal’ for thousands of women to pay good money to have hair forcibly yanked out of the most sensitive areas of their body.

The rise in internet p0rn and its influence on young women and men is explored by programmes like the Sex Education Show. The knock on effect of that body image – malnourished, balloons for breasts, fur-free fanny – only serves to normalise the practice of ripping your garden out.

Yes I know there are those that like the feeling of a hairless area and would argue that it’s a personal choice, not remotely influenced by men, but I fear they are in the minority.

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