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Dry January is a campaign to bin the booze, Veganuary urges festive penitents to jump on the vegan wagon, and Juice January peddles a juice cleanse as the solution to a fortnight of eating selection boxes for breakfast. But there is a new quit kid on the block. Januhairy wants women to give up removing their body hair for four whole, stubbly weeks to raise money for the body positivity charity, Body Gossip.
The campaign is doing more than raising funds, it is shining a much-needed light on our uneasy attitudes to women and body hair. Over the years, I have posted all manner of vintage photographs to my Twitter feed, and nothing causes quite the reaction that the sight of a woman with pubic hair does.
In Victorian erotica, women are splendidly bewhiskered with no hint of embarrassment. In fact, muff is very much a la mode in pornography until the early s. But whenever I post an image of a woman with a full bush tempers flare. Reactions to these images range from appreciation and nostalgia for the fuzzy-muzzy, through to outright revulsion at the sight of a lady garden gone to seed. How did pubic hair, hair that has every right to be there, hair that we have all got, wind up being regarded by many as disgusting?
When did we become so anti-fuzz? Evidence of hair removal dates back to the Ancient World. The Museum of Nigde, Turkey and Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, Turkey, both hold examples of obsidian razors dating to BC, which are the oldest known examples of hair removal in the Muslim world. It seems not everyone was a fan of a bald pubis. Our own disdain for pubic hair is even stranger when you consider that a bush you could wipe your feet on was once considered a of youth, health, and sexual vitality.
Shakespeare makes a of bawdy pubic hair double-entendres in his work, suggesting muff was de rigueur. Whereas a lack a pubic hair denotes ill health and old age. One reason a lush bush was so prized was that hair loss was symptomatic of syphilis. Syphilis was first recorded in Naples in , and in its later stages, it can cause hair loss. One treatment for syphilis was mercury, which could be ingested, injected, or rubbed on the open sores, and this most certainly would have caused hair to fall out.
As a result, a tufty tuppence came to be regarded as diseased. Eighteenth-century erotica continues to praise the bearskin as the must-have sexual accessory for a girl on the town. Victorian erotica is also full of praise for the happy trail. In Romance of Lust , the hero Charlie Roberts describes many furry lovers and clearly finds body hair a turn on:. There was as much hair there as most women have on their mons Veneris. Her whole body had fine straight silky hair on it, very thick on the shoulders, arms and legs, with a beautiful creamy skin showing below.
She was the hairiest woman I ever saw, which, doubtless, arose from or was the cause of her extraordinary lustful and luxurious temperament. With the advent of photography and film, genitals were once again being seen on a mass scale. Of course, the fashion industry played its part in changing hairstyles. The removal of underarm hair is directly linked to the new fashion for sleeveless dresses in the s, and a cunning adverting campaign that told women they smelled bad. Leg shaving increased as skirt length decreased, and as underwear shrunk in size to the point it barely covers the entrance points of the body, pubic hair disappeared too.
Pubic hair appeared for the first time in Penthouse in , and many will fondly recall the fabled 70s bush that could scour a greasy pot clean. By the s and s, pubic hair featured less and less in pornography. But it is not just porn that cue balls its women; fashion magazines, newspapers, film, television, advertising, music videos, etc.
Bald bodies have become our normal. Pubic hair is frequently placed on the frontline of feminism and growing a new band member for ZZ Top in your pants is often seen as a fuzzy fuck you to the patriarchy that leaves you literally tearing your hair out, and doubtless, there is some truth to this. Yet, for most of our collective history, pubic hair has been regarded not only normal, but as sexy, healthy and luscious.
Log In. Log In Register now My . From Pompeii to Victorian erotica, pubic hair was considered sexy, healthy and youthful Yet whenever I post an image of a woman with a full bush, tempers flare. How did we get here? Thomas Rowlandson, By Dr Kate Lister i columnist. January 11, pm Updated August 21, pm. Sorry, there was a problem. More from Opinion. Chas Newkey-Burden Equestrian sports encourage animal cruelty - they should be banned from the Olympics. Simon Kelner Photos of Matt Hancock moving out of his family home are miserable, but won't someone think of his dog?
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From Pompeii to Victorian erotica, pubic hair was considered sexy, healthy and youthful