HISTORY OF PUBIC HAIR GROOMING
by Alice palay
A year ago
A Journey Back into Our Bushes
Since the beginning of human existence on earth, the topic of hair grooming was subjected to society’s judgement. When it came to the grooming of private parts, the judgement only became harsher. As you read through this timeline, notice how trends were followed blindly regardless of how ridiculous they may seem now. Read between the lines, because there’s a lesson to be learned here that goes far beyond history.
2.6 Million Years Ago- The Cavemen Era: The Creators of “Beauty is Pain”
Yes, even cavemen were concerned with hair removal. According to History Undressed, archaeologists have found pictorial evidence from this era where the women have long, braided hair while the men didn’t have any. The common assumption is that they did this in order to prevent the growth of lice and mites. Considering their living conditions at the time, it definitely makes sense.
Cavemen would use sharp rocks like razors to remove unwanted hair (and probably some sacrificial skin) on their heads and face…. OUCH! I guess they were the first to create that famous saying “beauty is pain.”
3,000 B.C. - Ancient Egypt: The Innovators
Ancient Egyptians saw hair as an indication of class, and the more you had, the less classy you were. They believed in removing ALL the hair on their bodies, including their heads! The only exception they made was for their eyebrows.
These innovators were actually the first to set the original basis for many of the methods we use today. They were the first to create the “sugaring” wax method, that inspired the Brazilian waxing. They also invented the first tweezers, made with resources like seashells. Other methods included the use of pumice stones, a natural remedy that is also still common in modern day. Lastly, they managed to create razors with things like bronze and flint, as for how effective they were in actually removing hair, we can’t say, but we must admit their creativity was pretty impressive.
776 B.C.- Ancient Greeks & Romans: Hairless with a Painful Lack of Creativity
With both the ancient Greeks and Romans, the presence of pubic hair on women was an indication that they were uncivilized when it came to appropriate hygienic standards. Like the Egyptians, they saw hair as an indication of class, and less was more.
However, they were not as fortunate as the Egyptians when it came to their methods of removing hair. These civilizations would go as far as plucking each individual pubic hair off until it was all gone, and if that didn’t work, plan B was to burn it off. Phew!
1558-The Middle Ages & Elizabethan Era: The Modest Merkins
Pubic hair was finally back when the Middle Ages arrived in Europe. Women in this era kept a full bush as society told them it was the proper thing to do. The trend caused a new issue for women back then- pubic lice. When an outspread of pubic lice took over, women went as far as trimming or removing their hair, but applying merkins (wigs that cover your genitals) to remain “modest.”
As a leader, Queen Elizabeth had a very large impact on how society groomed themselves during this era. She set standards for them like this, along with some other rather odd ones. For example, Queen Elizabeth made it known she would keep all of the hair on her body, but remove her eyebrows. Since it was set by the Queen herself, it’s safe to say that this trend to be followed blindly.
1900-1946- The First Half of the 19th Century: The Entrepreneur Takeover
Efficient inventions made in this era set a new standard for how women would groom themselves. In 1915, Gillette created the very first razor (at least the first of its kind that wasn’t made out of sharp stones or seashells). This prompted woman to start shaving, however, it was unclear whether or not these standards were set for the pubic region. Most ads depicted women removing hair from only their underarms.
In 1946, another invention set a trend for hair removal- the bikini. The creation of the first bikini started a trend in hair removal around the bikini line. Bikini advertisements showing models with bare private areas set a new standard for women that said if you’re going to wear a bikini, you better make sure you’ve cleaned up beforehand.
The 1960s-1970s- The Groovy Age: A Right to the Bush
Civil rights movements and protests had a huge impact on how both women and men grooved themselves during this era. When the sixties and seventies came around, the Woodstock generation made it clear that bringing the bush back was a symbol of their freedom, rebellion towards society and overall indication of counterculture around the world.
Women rocked their bushes out freely to make a point that they were their own leaders, as their civil rights allowed them to. Isn’t that groovy?
The 1980s and 1990s: Trim the Hair, but Make it Fashion.
The eighties and nineties sparked a new wave of creativity among society when it came to pubic hair grooming. Welcome in the landing strip. Near the late seventies, waxing became a trend again, but going fully hairless was not the idea.
This new decade brought in a new standard of pubic hair grooming that let people’s imaginations’ run wild. Magazines like Playboy started showcasing their models rocking the infamous landing strip. At this point in time, a full on Brazilian or hairless vagina was not the trend. The trend was rather to keep some there and have some fun with what you leave behind. It wasn’t until the last year of the 19th century that women were first introduced to the idea of going fully hairless.
1999-2014: The Beginning of the 20th century: No Pubes Left Behind.
In the early years of the 20th century, the Brazilian wax that left no pubes behind was the trend to follow. While it’s not clear whether or not it was the notorious “Brazilian” episode from Sex and the City, or the multiple movie stars that started praising the hairless new look, society set in concrete that the hairless Brazilian was it.
Scientific evidence showed just how significant this change was. Remember those pubic lice they were worried about in the Elizabethan Era? They had almost reached a stage of extinction in 2013, along with the presence of our pubic hair. At this point, the hairless vagina was basically ubiquitous.
2020-Modern Day: The Choice is Ours
The era that we are currently living in easily the most transparent of all. Within the past few years, women all over the world have brought to question whether or not it should be anyone’s choice but their own to decide if their pubic hair is groomed. The pro-abortion saying “My body, my choice,” has become a symbolization of much more.
However, societal pressures remain that say that the grooming of your genitals serve as a representation of your hygiene and beauty, amongst other things. With these two ideas pinned against each other, our ever-changing world has left no omnipresent standard of how the region should be groomed, that choice is up to the women now.
As we have learned throughout this journey back in time, societal standards of what is appropriate or normal have caused women to do quite abnormal things. There is such a strong presence of irony, that can only leave us to ask ourselves, why? Why would I go as far as removing the hair on my vagina to avoid lice then proceed to put a wig over it? Why would I put my body through pain of individually plucking hairs from a sensitive region, scraping it with hard materials, and even burning it, just because I would be seen as uncivilized if I didn’t?
Since the beginning of human life on earth, we created these standards we were told to adhere to. It didn’t matter if we thought they were silly, the only thing that mattered was the opinions of others, right?
The choice is yours now, and there is nothing holding you back from taking back the respect you have for yourself and your body, to do as you please with it. Now is the time to acknowledge all the women before you who had to endure trends that brought them embarrassment and pain, and acknowledge that with our ever-changing world it is up to you to set a new standard. A standard that says there is NO standard- the power is yours to decide when this timeline stops.
No matter what your choice may be, let it be your own, and one that brings you happiness.
Our Viblok team supports self-care, health, and happiness above all. But when the choice is hair removal, make sure you have your Viblok essentials to protect you, with an infinite promise of a no judgement zone.
To the future, wherever it may lead us, Godspeed!
Author: Clare Kehoe