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'70s Bush': Women and Pubic Hair

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Bushy pubic hair floating like seaweed in a bathtub.

It's a lovely image, isn't it? It makes me think of a soft, soothing pile of hair, a welcoming cushion, a beautiful, slightly mysterious place.

Well, Cameron Diaz doesn't think so. In fact, she seems to think it's something disgusting, something old-fashioned, something horrifying, something to be laughed at.

On Graham Norton's talk show this weekend, Diaz revealed her shock at a friend's "70s bush". According to Diaz, women need to have very tidy, trimmed pubic hair. She and a group of friends nagged the woman, but to no avail. The woman's husband got in on the act, but still she wouldn't remove the infernal bush. Finally, Diaz and her friends apparently attacked this poor woman - who was happy and comfortable with the seaweed waving gently between her thighs - with a pair of scissors and forced her to remove her pubic hair. "We did it because we love her so much," Diaz claimed, proud of her achievement.

The audience laughed and applauded.

Since when did it become the norm for women to be bald or, at the very least, tidily trimmed in their pubic regions? Since when is it okay for people to tell their friends just what they think of their body hair? Since when did it become acceptable to sit in judgement about and even actively fight against someone else's personal choices?

Pubic hair serves an important purpose (namely, protecting women's genitals from bacteria). It comes in a range of colours, textures, and styles. That difference is something to celebrate and enjoy.

And yet, more and more women feel pressured - by their friends and peers, by their partners, by the media, and even by their parents - to remove this vital bush. Diaz's shock-and-horror routine will only encourage the lack of self-confidence that many women already feel when it comes to their bodies. A famous actress says pubic hair is gross? Well, then, I'd better get rid of mine - even if the method is painful, even if I get an infection, even if I feel like a plucked chicken or a prepubescent child - or I will risk being an object of ridicule.

Do men feel this way about their pubic hair? I'd like to hear a male celebrity go on Graham Norton's show and express distaste at his friend's hairy testicles. "So a bunch of us guys took a razor to him in the shower!" his story would finish. "His wife was so grateful, because she couldn't possibly be expected to sleep with a man au naturel." And then the audience would clap.

Yeah, right. That's not terribly likely to happen, is it? Men certainly aren't oppressed in this way. So what is it about women in particular that makes our bodies require and even be prey to more discussions, more interventions, more treatments?

Why, when there are so many things in life that we could be spending our time and energy on, do women waste hours (and lots of money) on shaving, waxing, depilatory creams, laser treatments, and so on? Why do we put ourselves through it and why are we encouraged, even expected, to?

Something is clearly wrong here.

So, if November is 'Movember', the month when men grow moustaches for charity, why not have a challenge for women too? Grow your pubic hair. Let your seaweed wave. Do it for charity - towards yourself.

Be proud of your body in its natural state, and help pass that message on to the next generation. Our bodies don't need a lot of work done on them; evolution's done a fine job as it is.

So, go on. Sport that glorious, natural "70s bush".

See also Joanna Krupa Topless For PETA Anti-Fur Campaign, With Wild Pubic Tufts

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