Girly Thoughts

April 18, 2008

While I’m gone…

Filed under: personal experiences — judgesnineteen @ 6:57 pm

Leave me a comment explaining what you do with your pubic hair, in the spirit of hair-acceptance and appreciation of variety, and also because, as you might have noticed, I’m into giving other people (even if my audience is fairly small) the opportunity to get information that I could have used but didn’t have when I was in The Wonder Awkward Years. When I found out about how girls are “supposed” to shave their pubic hair I got all worried about whether or not I should do it and how and so on, and I was embarrassed to ask any of my friends if they did and how important it was and how not to end up with an itchy bumpy red crotch. My crotch is red, mind you, but that’s from the totally awesome pubic hair that I leave there. I never understood why some people thought “firecrotch” was an insult. One time a guy asked a redheaded girl if she was one, and she said she didn’t know because she always shaved. Riiiiiight. She just sits at home with the razor waiting for a hair to poke out so she can shave it before it’s long enough to see. Lack of firecrotch pride, right there. Although I get that it’s a gamble to admit that you are one, because guys can just decide they’ll use that as fodder for sexual harassment. On the other hand, one time I was at a bonfire party and a guy made fun of a redheaded guy by calling him firecrotch, and I loudly said that everybody loves fire, and everybody loves crotches, and so firecrotches were just even better. They conceded that I made a compelling argument. I trim mine a little, though, because I find when the hair grows all the way out it gets in the way, gets caught in my panty elastic, annoying stuff like that.

And you? Everyone is welcome to answer no matter whether you do nothing to it, wax it all, or shave it into designs; the only responses I don’t want are men saying “oh, I shave my bikini line all the time, haha,” which is their way of saying “A conversation that isn’t about me? I cannot accept this. I must make a joke that isn’t even funny just to highlight the fact that I am excluded from this subject,” which is what most guys I know invariably do if girls in his presence start talking about anything that usually only applies to females. However, men do sometimes shave or trim or make a conscious choice not to and they are welcome to talk about themselves. (Surely after my recent posts I don’t have to tell them that they are not welcome to tell women what they want women to do with their crotches.)

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18 Comments »

  1. Sometimes I trim a little. But I have questions. How did you find out girls are “supposed” to shave down there? From where? Personally I was a bit shocked when I found out people remove hair there and wondered how since it’s not so soft as other hair. If my friends growing up did it, it’s not something that was ever talked about. I now wonder how many women do just out of curiosity. Funny, sometimes the things I want answers to I have no idea where to find these answers or if they even exist. Once I got into a conversation with others on my floor about such things and the American guy was under the impression that the common thing for America women to do is shave. I don’t know how he knows this, maybe from girlfriends. Both another Canadian girl and me couldn’t believe it was the majority thing to do; having hair is the natural thing and why hate it. I mean we have soap and running water.

    Comment by Lyndsay — April 18, 2008 @ 8:03 pm | Reply

  2. I don’t know how I first found out, but I remember this one jerk talking about how gross it was when girls didn’t do it in like 8th grade. And I remember finding a book for women that had chapters on all different beauty things like that, and one of them talked about how much you should or shouldn’t let your boyfriend bully you into shaving, basically. But I kinda had the feeling that not everybody did it, so I wasn’t sure how “important” it really was. I think it’s treated more as an as-needed thing than a rite of passage thing like leg-shaving, because once a guy said something about how I’d probably be a firecrotch, and then he added, unless she shaves, and then he added, but she probably doesn’t because she’s single (I wasn’t the type to have casual sex). Somehow I’m not surprised to hear that it’s a bigger deal in the US than in Canada, haha. We’re funny about some things. Is circumcision a big thing in Canada?

    Comment by judgesnineteen — April 18, 2008 @ 8:17 pm | Reply

  3. Of course more Canadians than I think could shave but in my experiences it’s not talked about much. The circumcision thing actually does have statistics. A majority of boys were circumcised 40+ years ago but since it was declared not necessary for health reasons, it’s gone down steadily. Now I think it’s around 10%. More than one site says it was quite high only a decade ago so I don’t know what happened in ten years. Of course it depends where you are. It is quite uncommon in Quebec and much of Eastern Canada and close to 20% in the west apparently. Personally, I’ve never understood it and had to look it up online to know just what it was.

    Comment by Lyndsay — April 18, 2008 @ 8:37 pm | Reply

  4. I had to look it up online to know what it was too, and that was after being informed that I had seen one. I just had a different idea of what it must mean and I couldn’t figure out how what I had seen was uncircumcised. It’s funny/sad how little people know about human bodies. But yeah, I think that’s another thing Americans are more hung up on. We need to get some publicity on the not necessary for health reasons thing. I haven’t seen stats, but a lot of people act like it’s really weird if a guy isn’t circumcised.

    Comment by judgesnineteen — April 18, 2008 @ 8:48 pm | Reply

  5. I shave my pubic hair, and have been doing so for quite a long time. I’ve experimented with letting it grow, shaving designs, etc, but these days I pretty much routinely shave the whole thing.

    In about 8th or 9th grade, my friends started talking about shaving their pubic area… only amongst my friends, it was more of a discussion/question, as in, “Hey, do you shave your…” Here they would drop their voice, “…you know? Because I don’t and I was wondering if I should…” By about 10th grade though it seemed everyone ‘knew’ about it… I’ll have to think about how this happened.

    I was one of the first girls that I knew that shaved my pubic area & openly admitted to it. If a friend asked, I would answer my friend’s questions about whether it hurt, the best way to do it, etc. I tried to make it clear it was a personal choice of mine.

    Back then, I just liked the way it looked. These days I’ve found that it helps with oral sex. I’m not saying that you ‘have’ to shave if you want to be the recipient of cunnilingus, only that shaving has been preferred by my partners on a personal level.

    Comment by Venus — April 19, 2008 @ 4:57 am | Reply

  6. I got weirded out about shaving from a Dan Savage column where a girl wrote in to say that while shaving her pubic hair, she accidentally shaved off part of her clit. Now that I’m older and I think about this, that’s really improbable and somewhat impossible (although I don’t put it past some people). Savage rightly said that if you’re shaving your pubic hair and get anywhere near your clit, you’re probably shaving the wrong areas.

    Ever since I read that, I was hesitant about shaving for a long time. Now I trim out of personal preference and to aid my boyfriend during oral. Shaving’s out since I don’t like the idea of looking like a prepubescent girl. I had a male roommate who liked it when girls shaved, and the rest of my roommates and I were just not down with that.

    Comment by Lindsay — April 19, 2008 @ 8:27 pm | Reply

  7. here’s my TMI:

    i have trichotilimania, so i shave for sanity. if i don’t, it gives me more hair to pull out. i know, that sounds horrific and painful, but it’s true. i already have a small bald spot (that you can’t see unless i show you) on my head, and i pull my eyelashes out, and if i didn’t get them waxed, i would pluck my eyebrows to oblivion. i don’t know why i do it, i also scratch my scalp for buildup until it bleeds, and pick anything (blemishes, dry skin) that appears on my arms, face, and legs. so, shaving, for me, was a way to avoid pulling. my doctor says it is akin to cutting. it sucks. and it started from just shaving what would hang out around my legs in a bathing suit (i used to sit in the bathroom for hours pulling out anything that was visible), and finally it just all had to go.

    Comment by ouyangdan — April 21, 2008 @ 3:34 am | Reply

  8. i remember being in like 6th and asking my best friend “so what do you do down there? do you shave it or just let it keep growing?” and she just kept going “i don’t know i don’t know!”

    i went natural for a while but now i trim it mostly because i feel sexier when its trimmed. i have never tried to shave all of it off and i have no desire to.

    but since i’m right handed i always feel like i trim it kind of lopsided, is that just me? but so far i’ve had no complaints.

    but i’ve also been experimenting with trying to find a good shaving + trimming combo if one exists, like just shaving the sides and trimming everything else.

    Comment by la mestiza — May 3, 2008 @ 3:56 am | Reply

  9. (sorry for rambling so much in that comment.)

    i really like this whole post.

    Comment by la mestiza — May 3, 2008 @ 3:58 am | Reply

  10. Thanks for your stories!

    Comment by judgesnineteen — May 3, 2008 @ 6:04 pm | Reply

  11. I JUST realized that my comment never posted.
    How disappointing.

    Comment by Amelia — May 3, 2008 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

  12. Aw! I checked my spam filter but it’s not there. I don’t know what happened.

    Comment by judgesnineteen — May 4, 2008 @ 10:37 am | Reply

  13. These days I’ve found that it helps with oral sex. I’m not saying that you ‘have’ to shave if you want to be the recipient of cunnilingus, only that shaving has been preferred by my partners on a personal level.

    At least someone said it, who wasn’t a male. Now I won’t get flipped out on for agreeing.

    Though, I’ll go a step farther and say you will have a damned hard time finding a male willing to go down on you if you’re unshorn. That’s not trying to command you to do it, it’s just pointing out the common courtesy of it.

    Most people don’t like hair in their mouths, and some react more adversely than others. (I gag uncontrollably, and usually have to excuse myself to the bathroom, just in case.)

    So, while you say men have no right to tell a woman what to do with that hair, sure, that’s generally correct, but if she starts demanding oral sex, then he can start setting conditions on the giving thereof. (Especially if they aren’t fond of doing the act in the first place, they’re even more allowed to set the rules on when and how it will occur.)

    Comment by D — May 14, 2008 @ 4:06 pm | Reply

  14. “Now I won’t get flipped out on for agreeing.”
    Implication of irrationality duly noted. Don’t do that again if you don’t want to be treated like a troll.

    “Though, I’ll go a step farther and say you will have a damned hard time finding a male willing to go down on you if you’re unshorn.”
    That was a step too far. You’re welcome to speak for yourself, but if you haven’t done a survey on a random sample of men, don’t pretend you know what they all want. You can guess, you can offer anecdotal evidence, but don’t inform us what our experiences will be like. There exist women who do not have a damned hard time finding such men. While I’m not accusing you of attempting to do this, I think men assert power over women in some cases by trying to give the impression that they speak for all men, that women will not be able to find a man (or will have a damned hard time doing so) who feels differently about the subject at hand, which is why I’m objecting to this wording.

    “if she starts demanding oral sex”
    That would be wrong. No sex should be “demanded.” Probably a nitpick, but you know us feminists and our hangups on consent.

    “he can start setting conditions on the giving thereof”
    Certainly, since no one should be coerced into any sexual act, each person can say they will only perform one under certain conditions, and the partner can decide if those conditions are worth it. (Don’t forget that last part – it means that the decision of what to do with her pubic hair is still the woman’s, even in this situation.)

    “Especially if they aren’t fond of doing the act in the first place, they’re even more allowed to set the rules on when and how it will occur.”
    I find something unsettling about this sentence, particularly in “even more allowed” and “set the rules,” but I figure I’ve made my points, and this can be interpreted in a way that I agree with, so I’ll just move on.

    The only thing is, this should work both ways. I would not be surprised if many people got hair in their mouths while giving oral to men and didn’t like that either. However, I would guess that more women than men shave their pubic hair, and I would guess that this is only in part because of the anatomy, although I’m sure that has some effect. I think there’s also an element of social expectation, of beauty standards that require more self-changing for women than for men, possibly of higher expectation that oral sex be performed on a male than on a female (this was my impression from pop culture but has not been affirmed by personal experience), and of unbalanced power between the sexes. While I reiterate that everyone is allowed their personal preferences and requiring any sexual act under any circumstances is unequivocally wrong, I also think people in heterosexual relationships should think and talk about these types of issues so that we can catch ourselves when we fall into sexist assumptions and expectations.

    Comment by judgesnineteen — May 15, 2008 @ 12:03 am | Reply

  15. “Implication of irrationality duly noted. Don’t do that again if you don’t want to be treated like a troll.”

    I’m not real keen on being given orders. I’d suggest you refrain from it in the future.

    It’s simply that considering the disclaimer at the end of the article, I wouldn’t have wanted to be the first person saying such a thing.

    “That was a step too far. You’re welcome to speak for yourself, but if you haven’t done a survey on a random sample of men, don’t pretend you know what they all want. You can guess, you can offer anecdotal evidence, but don’t inform us what our experiences will be like.”

    I actually did do a survey on a web community of some 2000 people that I regularly visit. Less than 1% of respondents were willing to give oral sex to a completely unshorn woman.

    (This means no trimming whatsoever. Trimmed was a separate category).

    “That would be wrong. No sex should be “demanded.” Probably a nitpick, but you know us feminists and our hangups on consent.”

    I do, but I often notice the issue is only relevant towards women giving consent to acts, not the inverse. In other words, that it’s okay for a woman to demand something, but not a man.

    “Certainly, since no one should be coerced into any sexual act, each person can say they will only perform one under certain conditions, and the partner can decide if those conditions are worth it. (Don’t forget that last part – it means that the decision of what to do with her pubic hair is still the woman’s, even in this situation.)”

    Oh, certainly. I’m just saying, if you want to specifically request a thing, the other can put a condition on it. Such as going down on her will only be done if it’s cleanly shaven.

    Neither party is forced to accept the arrangement, obviously.

    “I find something unsettling about this sentence, particularly in “even more allowed” and “set the rules,” but I figure I’ve made my points, and this can be interpreted in a way that I agree with, so I’ll just move on.”

    I’ll use myself as an example. I do not like giving cunnilingus. At all. Yes, I’m aware that’s somewhat atypical. I also gag uncontrollably if I get hair in my mouth, and if it reaches the back of my throat, I *will*, without fail, vomit.

    Ergo, in that situation, if a woman really, really wanted me to do it, it’d only be fair if she agreed to the conditions I would set on it, such as no hair in the region my mouth will be.

    “The only thing is, this should work both ways. I would not be surprised if many people got hair in their mouths while giving oral to men and didn’t like that either.”

    From the women I’ve asked, hair-in-mouth from men only becomes a serious problem if he’s, well, small in that region. Because they’ll end up getting closer to his pubic region than they would on a larger male. Also, it’s a sort of different dynamic, just based on where the hair actually grows from, and where your mouth is.

    “I also think people in heterosexual relationships should think and talk about these types of issues so that we can catch ourselves when we fall into sexist assumptions and expectations.”

    I just skip all that and stay out of sexual relationships. 😛

    Comment by D — May 15, 2008 @ 1:02 am | Reply

  16. Honestly? I will trim the longer hair to make hair less likely to get in the way but I think there is plenty of sensitive area that has no hair. The guy just has to be a bit careful. Shaving and expecting it are cultural things.

    Comment by Lyndsay — May 15, 2008 @ 2:04 am | Reply

  17. D:
    This is my blog. I can approve, delete, and/or make a new post making fun of your comments, or anyone else’s. Rather than treating you like a troll from the start, I decided to let you know what kind of behavior will result in being treated like a troll, in case you might want to avoid that treatment. There’s no demand in that, just an explanation of how things work here. You’re completely free to act like a troll, just know that you’ll get treated like one.

    But, on re-reading the disclaimer I wrote, I see your point. I still don’t like what you said, but implication of irrationality struck from the record. But to clarify, discussion of practical problems with hair are fine, while warnings that you have no choice but to accept sexist standards have no place on a feminist blog. Whether your comment was doing the latter or not is up for interpretation, and I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Now let’s move on.

    Comment by judgesnineteen — May 15, 2008 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  18. Oh, fair enough.

    My whole point was that given certain situations, it’s compeltely acceptable to request they shave. Not demand, but request. Oral sex just happens to be the easiest, and most common reason that I would think most people would request shaving be done.

    Especially, like I said, if you’re asking someone to do something they aren’t comfortable with doing in the first place.

    Comment by D — May 15, 2008 @ 6:25 pm | Reply


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