The Pubic Wars: A Brief History of Pubic Hair
on 15 Jan 2017
"You and me, baby, ain't nothing but mammals!"
When The Bloodhound Gang sang these poignant lyrics, they probably weren't singing about the fact that most of us are naturally capable of growing pubic hair.
But I like to think that they were.
Scientifically, sure, most adults have pubes. But historically and culturally, we have subjected these downstairs hairs to a hell of a lot. So I decided to take a look into the hair-raising history of pubes.
If, like me, you thought waxing your bush was a fairly modern phenomenon, you'd be wrong. People have been man-scaping and trimming their lady gardens for thousands of years.
Intrigued? Then just keep reading for a truly hair-razing history lesson.
Wax Like An Egyptian
Some Ancient Egyptian artworks depict women removing their pubic hair with razors made of flint, or through a process known as sugaring.
By applying a paste from sugar, lemon and hot water, it was possible to pull pubic hair out by the roots. Sugaring is still widely practiced to this day.
Beware of Greeks Bearing Tweezers
The Ancient Greeks and Romans were also fans of the minimalist look. While the Greeks preferred to pluck out pubes one by one, the Romans had their own form of depilatory creams, made up resin and animal blood.
It's safe to say that the smell of depilatory creams has not improved much since ancient times.
Back in the day, shaving off all your pubes was a pretty effective way to prevent pubic lice. But these were the days before modern antibiotics and sex education. So if you ended up with genital warts, no one was going to want to shag you.
The solution? A pubic wig, or 'merkin'. The first records of merkins date back to the year 1450, and were often worn by sex workers. Today, they are worn by guys like William McKenzie.
In the 1920's , the shaving company Wilkinson Sword ran an ad campaign claiming that the underarm hair of women was unfeminine and unhygienic. Sales of their razors skyrocketed, and as pubes were shaved away, the belief that women's pubic hair was unclean and improper continued to grow. Save this fact for your Marketing tutorial.
During the early 1960s, the bikini became increasingly fashionable. This was bad news for pubes. The Beach Boys wished we could all be California girls, and California girls respected the sacredness of the bikini line.
Pubic Wars Episode Three: Revenge of the Razor
But by the late 1960's, "gentlemen's magazines" Penthouse, Playboy and Hustler were engaged in what was known as 'The Pubic Wars'. Both magazines battled with each other to see who could push the boundaries of what was deemed acceptable.
In America, it was forbidden to show pubic hair in nudie magazines. But to keep up with the British Penthouse, Playboy risked obscenity charges and began to show pubic hair too.
It wasn't until the 1980s that porn stars started to consistently wax away all pubic hair. They were now literally baring all in the work place.
(Please note: this is still the only time it is appropriate to bare all in the workplace).
In the year 2000, in an episode of 'Sex and the City', the character Carrie goes in for her first bikini wax, but mistakenly receives a full 'Hollywood'.
British dermatologists actually credit this episode with the rapid decline in incidences of pubic lice. At the British Association of Dermatologists' Annual Conference, Dr. Kun Sen Chen said "In popularising hair removal Carrie Bradshaw and co have contributed to ridding humanity of pest that had plagued humans for millions of years".
Every year the media tells us a myriad of new pubic trends. First pubes are out and waxing is in. Then the beaver is back again, and even shop window mannequins are rockin' the full bush. My research has confirmed that history does indeed repeat itself. So do whatever the hell you want to your pubes – chances are that someone else has done it before!
Audrey Andrews is a student blogger for Lovehoney. In her spare time she loves to chat relationships, do craft, but would not advise knitting your own condoms.
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