Photos by Ol’ Skool Sean
Ask yourself this: Am I really in a position to be complaining about what a woman does with her body hair? No. You should be down on your knees, praising any woman who’d allow you to take as much as a whiff of her sweat wicks.
It’s Time to Shut Up About Your Pubes
“There’s been much ado lately about pubic hair, from Cameron Diaz’s Body Book to Lady Gaga’s ‘au-naturel’ Candy magazine cover. Janeane Garofalo recently weighed in on the subject, and she is decidedly pro.” —Huffington Post
“If you are a woman brimming with pubic hair pride and you’ve been looking for someone to tell about it, Sunday is your lucky day.” —SFGate
“Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my pubic hair.” —The Bustle
A Google search for “pubic hair trends” reveals 187,000 results. Summer brings with it a veritable tsunami of bush-based thinkpieces, as columnists and feminists and ladybloggers and male writers hash out their thoughts on whatever “trend” exists for women’s body hair at the moment.
The Bustle piece quoted above—“Will The Full Bush Trend Continue Into Summer? Why Waxing Is Getting Even More Complicated”—is a perfect example of its kind. Its quick summary of pubes over the years, from the full bush to the Brazilian to the full-bush Brazilian, is followed by, well, this: “With ‘normcore’ pubes supposedly all the rage, will the beaches really be chockfull of women and their pubic hair this summer?” Can it be? Will we be applying #buzzword to #bodypart, and in #public? It concludes—as most pieces about pubic hair do—with a reminder that it really is a woman’s own choice, ultimately up to her.
Very personal, you know. Love your pubes, sisters. End thinkpiece.
But do we have to love our pubes? Is an apparently obligatory pride in our underbrush as unhelpful as the previously obligatory shame? Although certainly more positive, the end result is that we continue to endlessly dissect what’s happening in all of our ladygardens, instead of, say, our heads. Or even our beds.
Untitled (Beach), 2012, © Whitney Hubbs, Courtesy M+B Gallery, Los Angeles.
In Defense of Hairy Women: Searching for a Fair Standard of Beauty
My friend Kevin, who majored in philosophy at Berkeley and is now a civil rights lawyer, and who supports all sorts of good causes (economic equality, gun control, gay marriage, Palestinian statehood, shade-grown coffee), yelled at me the other day for setting him up with a woman who has the hint of a mustache. OK, more than a hint. Have you ever seen a photo of Frida Kahlo and been drawn lustfully, as I have, to her fabulous, thick eyebrows, those two dark arches flapping above her eyes like the outstretched wings of a raven? If you look closely at that photo, you’ll see two thin bands of gorgeous dark fuzz that seem to have been penciled in at 45-degree angles above each side of her upper lip. The woman I set Kevin up with, a beautiful and ferociously smart poet and translator named Jill, who graduated summa cum laude in comparative literature at a university Kevin was rejected from, and whom I dated years ago, has those same eyebrows, and that same dark fuzz, but in both cases a little darker and a little thicker.
Why Is the Khaleejii Hijab So Controversial?
On a recent trip to London, my partner and I went to the Whitechapel district in East London to buy the component parts of the Muslim world’s most controversial hijab, the khaleeji. After settling on a shop next to the East London Mosque—a shop whose website proudly displays a model wearing her hijab in the bulbous Khaleeji style—we asked the sales girl for some general headscarf advice. She walked to the back of the store and opened a box full of flower-clips—puffy, flower-shaped pom-poms designed to add volume to the back of your hijab.
"And which of those clips would work best for the Khaleeji?" I asked.
"That’s un-Islamic," the girl said, shaking her head in disgust. "Haram. We do not wear it.”
They were, however, happy enough to sell what you need to wear it, hastily making out the bill for the two largest clips in the box. After we’d grabbed some thin black crepe for the headscarf, we were ready to go—but not before a pamphlet had been thrust into my partner’s hand. The gist: how to be a better Muslim.
Meaning “from the Gulf,” the khaleeji hijab isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. Also known as the shambassa pouf, the camel hump, the big bun, the beehive hijab, and, in Arabic, “bu tafkha,” the style emerged from the shopping malls of Kuwait and is characterized by a rounded bulge emerging from the back of the head, which is supposed to give the impression of a cascading mane of hair that’s been neatly coiled up into a bun. Early adherents used milk cartons and yogurt cups to achieve the desired volume. Now, it’s all about “bumpit” gadgets and hair donuts.
Guys, It’s Time to Stop Shaving Your Junk
There is nothing more disappointing than taking a new guy home for the first time and ripping his clothes off, only to find that he has “manscaped” himself to look like some sort of dude-shaped topiary. When I bring home a man, I want to see a masculine wreath of pubes around his dick, not a shaved walrus. Tragically, it’s becoming harder and harder to find a guy whose chest stubble won’t give you a rug burn or whose bare nutsack doesn’t look like a dismembered turkey waddle. Guys, this has to stop.
The social scientists over at Cosmopolitan recently published a study claiming that 95 percent of men now trim or shave their body hair in one way or another, a practice that has taken on the cringeworthy title of manscaping. I hate it and want it to die. Presumably, many other true lovers of the male form feel the same way. Body hair is one of the secondary sex characteristics of being a man, so why would anyone want to eradicate it altogether?
As much as it pains me to admit it, us gays are probably at fault. During the 90s, the gay aesthetic was dominated by the plucked and preened bodybuilder look. This, of course, spread to advertising (remember the billboard of shirtless Marky Mark in his undies in Times Square?), which seeped into the minds of straight guys and led to razor companies making products for guys who wanted to look like 14-year-old synchronized swimmers. There is also some aspect of female equality in this whole equation. As men began to demand that their ladies be as shiny under their clothes as Barbie dolls, women started expecting the same of their men.
Ellie Goulding Makes People Want to Eat Her Hair
Ellie Goulding is on some new shit. She’s entering 2013 fresh off a breakup with producer Skrillex, but is pretty optimistic about it. Ellie comes equipped with a fan base that wants to eat her hair and bake her cakes. And why not? The follow-up to her debut album Lights, titled Halcyon, is some “real tears” magnificence that translates just as well on stage via her Halcyon Days Tour as it does blaring through some ear buds – or in her case Beats By Dre headphones. Halcyon’s lead single “Anything Could Happen” is the official soundtrack to the Beats By Dre ads, featuring Ellie whipping her hair around in the commercial. Considering her heavy hand in writing and producing her work, it’s the reason why she’s been perfecting her tour performances with various instruments that give her what she wants: you know, that “womp womp” sound. In addition, you can catch her on stage beating the guts out of a floor tom, something Ellie’s become known for her throughout her steady ascent into superstardom. When she’s not doing badass things like banging on drums and shooting guns, she’s being a totally normal (sometimes hungover) chick, who was raised on Eddie Vedder and has a personality as awesome as her music. Ellie keeps things candid (and hilarious) with VICE, as she talks about her tour, her unease with being a sex symbol, her breakup, and her creepiest fans.