Why I Stopped Going Bare Down There

There are a million reasons why women have decided to ditch the razor. I asked my friends what their rationale surrounding shaving was, and the answers ranged from “It takes so much time and money to maintain” to “It’s just natural to have hair down there.” All are so valid and very understandable. However, I decided to stop going bare down there for a different reason. 

Woman shaving her legs in the bathtub Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Think of the expression “smooth as a baby’s bottom.” We’ve heard it our whole lives to describe how silky smooth our skin feels especially after we shave. But really listen to that statement: it compares our skin to that of a child. The post-shaved satiny skin is reminiscent of our bodies before we go through puberty. When women shave their pubic hair, they make themselves look like prepubescent girls. This encourages people to view young girls' bodies as adult bodies. Now, I know that is a bit of a shocking statement to make, but hear me out. We know that there are so many reasons why women choose to go bare down there, and I certainly don’t think that anyone has the intention to make themselves look younger by shaving. But intentional or not, these beauty standards that we try so hard to follow actually reinforce this dangerous image of womanhood as a continuation of female youth. Shaving isn’t the only example of this. When we add touches of light makeup under our eyes to ‘brighten’ our faces, we are actually making our eyes look larger. We grow into our eyes as we age, so children naturally have larger eyes than adults. Why is expanding the size of our eyes part of our beauty routine? It’s because women are taught that part of looking beautiful is looking youthful. What they don’t tell you is that looking ‘youthful’ often correlates to looking like a young child.   

I will make the important note that women who choose to go bare for their own self expression are more than valid and should not feel shame for how they choose to present their bodies. However, it becomes tricky when a woman feels obligated to shave to honor a beauty standard that has dangerous roots. The porn and modeling industries have normalized the image of grown women without pubic hair. Going bare has grown into an expectation rather than a choice a woman makes for herself. The growth of hair down there is a sign that our bodies are working properly, and that we are maturing. Perpetuating the image of youth into adulthood not only fetishizes young girls' bodies, but it also doesn’t honor our bodily growth. Hair, much like stretch marks, is a sign of our transition into womanhood, and I think that it should be honored! Instead of holding on to and encouraging the image of youth, I think we should value our body’s aesthetic changes, in the name of growth, and out of appreciation for our feminine evolution. 

Health Vagina Sex Periods Std Feminism Molly Longest / Her Campus

I won’t sit here and tell you that I’ve never shaved: in fact, I was a serial waxer. Every month, I would drop $80 to get professionally waxed until I had no pubic hair. But after this connection between the image of youth and adulthood, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t invest in something that, in my eyes, perpetuated this harmful stereotype. I definitely still pick up the razor every once in a while, I like to keep my bikini line clean, but I never go fully bare. My pubic hair is a reminder of everything my body has grown from, and everything she will grow to be.