April 28, 2010

Advertising trimmed, shaped or shorn lady parts

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , , , , , — Melanie @ 4:14 pm

We know it’s not just arm and leg hair that is considered unattractive. 90s porn culture targeted a new area of hair growth on women and deemed it unattractive and unacceptable. In fact, trimmed, shaped or completely removed pubic hair has become normative. It is difficult many to remember the previous aesthetic, an aesthetic that did not require a woman’s vulva to be shaved, waxed or shorn to be considered “attractive” or desirable. As quoted in the Times Online UK piece from 2007:

But then around the mid-90s some mysterious memo went out to twentysomething women that it was no longer sufficient to tidy the “bikini line” so it didn’t cascade down the inner thigh like a spider plant. The gyms of Britain were suddenly full of women waxed into weeny welcome mats, with all the stubble, bruises, pimpled hair follicles and burst blood vessels that accompany this excruciating sexifying of the sex.

Like a trend for comedy-size breast implants, inflatable lips, hair extensions, extreme nails and high street daywear revealing more tittage than a ten-quid hooker, waxing filtered down from the porn industry. Here defuzzing makes the action, as it were, easier to follow. And for male performers depilation adds the illusion of an extra inch. Maybe Hitchens had that in mind.

The aesthetics of porn reigns in an age when sex is so commodified that lapdancing is deemed “empowering”, prostitution glorified in TV drama, sex less concerned with pleasure than display. Young women have swallowed the idea that they must look so “hot” that men would pay to sleep with them: pity the poor cow so badly maintained that she’d have to give it away for free.

And bikini-area maintenance is, after all, big business. I mentioned the latest trend in pubic hair removal in the form of “virgin waxing” in my post from September 2008.  Virgin waxing is being offered in salons across the country as a type of preventative maintenance. This salon’s website states:

I call it the “Virgin”- waxing for children 8 years old and up who have never shaved before [my question, why would an 8-year-old be shaving?]

What’s the motivation to subjecting your pre-pubescent daughter to bikini waxing before the hair has even arrived? Apparently, virgin waxing is a pro-active measure designed to eradicate pubic hair in 2 to 6 sessions, eliminating the need for lifetime waxing. The salon claims that the savings can be applied directly to a college fund. Well, I am guessing that these virgin waxing treatments aren’t cheap in the first place and the notion that a girl’s pubic hair will be removed before she gets it, maintaining her pre-pubescent appearance is inherently disturbing.

Aside from all the glaring problems revolving around women’s sexuality and women’s bodies, hair-free or neatly groomed bikini-areas are expensive. According to UK author, Janice Turner:

You don’t need to page Dr Freud to wonder how the craze for bare pudenda might be tied to some unsavory fetishisation of youth. And now the waxed look is supported by a massive industry — hair removal in Britain is worth £280 million a year.

We plan on writing about the the relationship between patriarchy, porn culture and pre-pubescent privates in an upcoming post but this post is devoted to the products sold to women to maintain trimmed or hairless vulva.

Remember this ad that I posted for the Schick Quattro Trim Style (the gadget every gal needs to “stay groomed”) for women last year?

Well, Schick’s European counterpart, Wilkinson Sword takes the campaign for a step further in a series of less subtle advertisements.

On their interactive website, women can trim the pooch at the Poodle Parlour (I guess shaving a pussy cat would be too obvious for these folks). There’s also a series of extended ads called The Neighborhood (“the neighborhood is open, come and see”) with titles like The Landing Strip and Tidying Up Downstairs.



4 Comments »

  1. I watched the first two videos and couldn’t stand to click on the other two because my forehead hurt so much from the furrowing.

    Comment by Vic — April 29, 2010 @ 9:05 am

  2. Although I find virgin waxing to be terrible, the huge backlash against pubic shaving in general is a bit ridiculous. Guys don’t like women shaved because it makes them look pre-pubescent. Do women like clean shaved men because it makes them look prepubescent? Do men like shaved legs for that reason? No, it’s more of a cleanliness/smoothness thing.

    Sure, it’s one more thing in the long list of fashion maintenance that society enforces on us, but pubic maintenance isn’t even sexist: Watch any random porn video now-a-days, and the men will just as often be shaved or trimmed as the women. I myself shave all the time.

    But then again I am a very sex-positive feminist, so many may disagree with me.

    Comment by Justin — July 4, 2011 @ 11:23 am

  3. [...] look (and that winner I was dating), choosing to laser my bikini line alone, but I still worry that the hair is too long, too thick, too short. There’s also the shame that surrounds even talking about it. I mean really, how many times have [...]

    Pingback by The Naked Clam and Other Preposterous Pubic Hair Problems | Adios Barbie — July 28, 2011 @ 5:38 am

  4. All of this “recent change brought on by pornography” noise may be an influence but shaving one’s parts certainly predates most of those complaining about it. I read an article, in a porn rag to be sure, from the 1970s where a woman was extolling the virtues of a clean shave. This, mind you, was in a magazine full of thick bush, this one author stood alone to say, “sex feels better when I’m clean shaved.”

    I would tend to agree, from my perspective anyway, that both parties connect at a much deeper level when it’s skin on skin.

    But hey, don’t let me stop you from judging others harshly for their personal choices that affect no one else.

    Comment by Tom — April 16, 2013 @ 11:33 pm

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