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A Razor-Sharp Dive into the Pubic Hair Politics

A Razor-Sharp Dive into the Pubic Hair Politics

I have a confession to make : I shaved my pubic hair less than a week ago. Now, I knew I was going to write about this, and I was already in knee-deep conversations with women about their grooming habits. So, as I wielded that razor, I couldn't help but wonder why the heck I was doing it.

No one twisted my arm; no partner held me hostage. So, why did I pick up that razor for the first time when I was 16? Was it just my personal choice, or was there something sneakier, more cultural, at play here that I couldn't quite put my finger on?

You might be wondering, "What's the deal with pubic hair, anyway?" I mean, why do so many of us feel the need to get rid of it? Is it the influence of a partner, or is it because of societal trends like fashion or social media? Well, I decided to dig deep into this hairy conundrum. I rounded up an awesome crew of women, each with their own experiences. Boy, did I uncover some tales for you!

Kritika | Dwarka 

When I was about to get married, I was surrounded by an array of hair removal options - creams, razors, waxes – you name it. And, oh, the 'Auntie Brigade', always quick with their 'Have you taken care of your beauty shyuti?' reminders. Looking back, I realize that I was surrounded by so many choices, except one : The choice of not shaving.” 

Kritika’s story took me flashing back to Veet's ad campaign series from 2014 - 'Don't Risk Dudeness'.  They went all out to make women who dared to skip shaving look like, well, repulsive, hairy men. And let me tell you, each ad was a cringe-fest, with humor that fell flatter than a pancake. 

But here's the thing: capitalism being capitalism, it jumped on this societal pressure like a hawk on a mouse. It bombarded us with a gazillion ways to look 'oh-so-sexy' down there. It's a chicken-and-egg scenario, really. Did capitalism's products create the idea that 'bare is the only sexy,' or was society's pressure the driving force? It's a mystery we might never unravel, but one thing's for sure: they make quite the power duo. 

Shyaami | Mumbai 

Honestly, I'd never really pondered this until you brought it up. It's funny how we can grow up with certain notions without even realizing it. For me, the idea that women should be hairless to be considered pretty was just part of the landscape. Pubic hair was just like any other body part—if I was supposed to wax my legs to wear a dress, why would my genitals be any different? It's like society's unspoken rule: if it's not silky smooth, it's somehow not up to par.” 

This is the issue.The equation that 'hairless equals pretty' is something we've soaked up since day one. I've seen women skip wearing dresses for dinner parties because their legs weren't baby-bottom smooth. It's the taboo around our own genitals, tangled up with societal pressures, that can really mess with our heads. We wield that razor, thinking we're sculpting a body that fits into society's tidy box of 'appropriate.' 

But you know what could truly make a dent in this age-old notion? More hair-positive body role models, especially for young girls. Let's give them someone to look up to who says, "You're beautiful just the way you are, fuzz and all." Because sometimes breaking the mold starts with seeing someone who's already shattered it. 

Pranchi | Goa 

I was having a steamy moment with my partner, sizzling chemistry, and he suddenly stopped to say, ‘I’ll skip going down on you cause you're not shaved. Hope you don’t mind!’ Ouch, right? That one incident felt like a slap in the face, and it left a mark that's been sticking around like an unwanted houseguest ever since.” 

From that day forward, I couldn't help but feel compelled to be 'clean' down there, not just during intimate moments but all the time. I've read countless articles about body hair and how it's perfectly okay, but shaking off that personal shame and guilt? Now that's been a tougher nut to crack. It's like those feelings have their own permanent residence inside me. 

You know what really grinds my gears? When a guy has the audacity to demand a shave-down session, Seriously, dude? I don't recall asking you to break out the razor for your armpits or legs on my command. 

Ladies, pay attention : if your partner so much as drops a hint that your pubic hair (or any hair, for that matter) isn't up to their lofty standards, they’re a BLAZING RED FLAG. Trust me, you're far too fabulous to waste time on someone who can't handle your full, authentic self—hair and all. 

Manali | Ludhiana 

I distinctly remember a scene from one of the porn videos when I was around 17/18. A woman was completely hairless down there. The main guy gently moves his hands around her genitals, looks up at her and smiles. He then proceeds to kiss her all over her genitals before proceeding to oral. I guess somewhere, I internalized that for male pleasure, shaving down there is important. And for the longest time, I did not see anything wrong with that.” 

Here's where things start to get a little suspicious. Ever notice how the rise of the 'bare down there' trend synced up flawlessly with the explosion of internet porn? It's like they were doing the tango in perfect harmony. But from where I see it, there’s a pretty darn serious issue lurking beneath the surface. 

You see, the whole concept of hairless lady bits seems to have this not-so-subtle side effect – it can transform women into what? You guessed it, a childlike state. Yeah, you heard that right. It's like a not-so-magical transformation that's not only about being 'clean' but also about being submissive and reliant on men. Now, if that doesn't raise some eyebrows, I don't know what will. 

As the flood of diverse views poured in, I couldn't resist the urge to pick up my phone and dial up our very own co-founder, Sachee Malhotra, to get her take on this whole hairy ordeal. And boy, did she drop a bombshell on me. 

I went through a lot of bullying because of my excessive hair growth - over my face, chin, neck, almost my entire body. And this wasn't just a high school thing; oh no, it followed me home, too, lurking in all little indirect, hair-related jabs. Infact, my gynae actually told my mother that my PCOS can be controlled if my external hair was removed. On came a series of painful hair-removal treatments that did a number on my mental health as well. For the longest time, these incidents dictated my grooming behavior, and pubic hair was no exception. 

But you know what they say, folks, life has a funny way of teaching us lessons. As I ventured out into the world, met new people, and explored new ways of being, I realized something profound – I held the power to change my narrative. So, I did.

Waxing has become a rite of passage for many of us, but take a moment to consider this: it brings pain to the party, burns holes in our wallets, and let's be real, the fellas aren't exactly lining up for a session, are they? . To me, this is a point of a huge feminist inquiry.

Our bodies, how we choose to keep and present them – it's all a form of self-expression, one of the most fundamental kinds, really. We hold the right to make choices that resonate with our true selves, without any direct or sneaky coercion.

As I sign off, I want to tell you one last thing : If you decide to go 'bare down there,' not because society nudged you, but because it's your personal jam, I'm here, front row, and center, cheering for your vagina like it’s the star of the show. But here's a little advice : glance over your shoulder first. Make sure there's no sneaky cultural entity lurking, trying to dictate your style. Remember, your body is your canvas, your rules, and trust me, you're painting a masterpiece! 

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About the Author 

Hemali (she/her) is an explorer of the realms of sexuality, intimacy, and dating. She talks endlessly about the evolving landscape of feminist narratives on the big screen and makes you reanalyze the portrayal of women in mainstream culture. If you're looking for alternative conversation starters, take your pick from: Biryani, Art Fairs, or Spoken Word Poetry.

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