Bye bye Brazilians

20:51, Dec 04 2013
BIKINI SEASON: Women have felt pressure to be totally hair-free for decades ... but the tides are turning.

It's a line that's been touted in several breathless news reports in recent years, but a new survey indicates that women are casting aside the razors and wax strips and investing in a pair of trimming scissors, if anything. That's right, the bush is back!

Those born after 1990 could be forgiven for thinking the Brazilian is and has always been the only choice for pubic hair maintenance. But a potentially harrowing conversation with their parents might convince them otherwise. In fact, this 32-year-old writer remembers being a young lad transfixed by an ill-gotten Penthouse pictorial featuring a woman bereft of pubic hair. The black-and-white images featuring such a stark lack of pubic hair were so rare the spread was passed off as edgy, experimental art.

And it appears, after several decades where this has become the norm, that we are currently experiencing a renaissance.

Online pharmacy UK Medix conducted a poll regarding the grooming habits of 1,870 women. An astonishing - if post-2000 porn would have us believe - 51 per cent of participants said that they do not "style or groom their pubic hair." The best part? Forty-five per cent responded that they used to wax but could "no longer be bothered to keep up the grooming". Preach.

The hysteria surrounding public discussion of women's pubic hair and its maintenance - men seem free to grow as many grey, straggly hairs as they desire, no matter how many times the word 'metrosexual' is bandied about - hit fever pitch in April when Gwyneth Paltrow spoke of the attention she received after joking that she works a "'70s vibe" on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.  Appearing on the show again last week, Paltrow said the proliferation of news articles was such that her brother-in-law, Al Martin, had pleaded with her not kick-start a trend.

"Apparently this was in a lot of newspapers," she said.  "I knew it had permeated when my brother in-law said to me like, 'I hope you're not going to, like, bring back big bush.'"


Martin might be one of a dwindling number of men who prefer their lovers sans hair, however; of the poll respondents 62 per cent revealed that their partner "prefers the natural look."

The renewed push for bush received more attention last month when creative agency Mother London launched a crowd-sourced photographic series titled Project Bush. Their website described the campaign as "a call to action for women to stand up to the pressures of modern society and present their bushes in all their glory. Whether waxed or never tended, young, old, black, brown or white, we want to display London's lady gardens in all their variety, and demonstrate the choice that many young women - particularly - may not realise they have when it comes to waxing."

Rather than shame women who decide to go the full Monty, those behind the campaign say it's about choice and that waxing has become so mainstream that many young women don't even realise they have options. The project culminated in a major public exhibition that was intended to ignite debate.

"The women who were photographed came in for different reasons," said Project Bush photographer Alisa Connan. "A very small percentage were completely comfortable with stripping off, the majority were nervous and then full of energy afterwards. And they all had different reasons - some were concerned about how the media portrays women in general, others were concerned about the world their daughters were growing up in. Most thought: 'This is one small thing that we can do.'"