Lots of women like to get an ‘everything off’ bikini wax. What about when they become mums? Should kids see their mum with a smooth, hairless lady part? Rachel argues that becoming a mum is the perfect reason to stop with the overwaxing (warning: this post contains at least ten euphemistic references to the vagina)…
As mums we let certain things slide as we get older, busier… skinter. We’re not the time-rich, looks-prioritising whippersnappers we once were. And let’s face it, once our partners have seen us with puffy eyes after ten consecutive bad nights with the baby; red-faced, sweating, legs akimbo in labour; makeup-less with greasy hair and an egg stained fleece on (every weekend) – once they’ve seen us like that a few times, the need to feel primped and preened and coiffed kinda fades. But, that said, I think it’s important for me to make an effort, every day to look half decent – for my partner as well as myself. That means wearing a nice jumper and clean-ish jeans, and maybe a sweep of blusher and a flick of a mascara brush. But it does NOT mean a monthly appointment to wax my fanjango.
Now, I have no problem at all with a little tidying up either side – hell, even atop if your bikini is low (you’re brave) – to prepare for a holiday to a nice, warm country where the likelihood of swimming is high. (However, there are far less painful hair removal methods for the pain averse like me out there: hair removal cream, or just plain old shaving with the hubby’s razor – what’s wrong with that?) What I really don’t like is the full on waxing: everything or almost everything off. Not just because it’s the second most painful thing that will ever happen to your nether regions (you already know what the first is), but because I hate the message that it sends to other women, including our daughters. For many women, having no pubic hair is the norm – I know loads who wax it all off regularly, without a word of complaint. A few others I know chose to have it lasered off permanently! (So extreme! What if you change your mind and the au natural look, AKA a ’70s muff’ comes back into fashion? Hey, you never know, it happened with eyebrows – look at Cara Delivingne.) Most of these are single or childless women, but what about when mums do it too? What message does that send to their kids?
Listen, I’m very much an ‘each to their own’ kind of lass, and I don’t want to guilt trip anyone into having a smooth sally if that’s what they want to do. Here’s what my problem is: our girls – and boys – are growing up thinking that all women not only have breasts that look like big, stuck on grapefruits, but that they also have completely hairless bodies. This is so unhealthy, not just for our girls’ body images, but for boys’ expectations too. The no hair look is one that was popularised by the porn aesthetic and has dripped (sorry, porn and dripped in same sentence) down to us normal folk, to the effect that women who like to take care of their appearance now include full on fanny waxing in their list of monthly to dos. I know any talk that involves the word ‘muff’ is a bit of a giggle, but I think it is actually an insidious problem, and one that contributes to a wider and more complex phenomenon: the sexualisation of children. That’s what a hairless front bum reminds me of, and that’s not right – at least, not on a grown woman.
Women tell me that they have theirs waxed for themselves, that it makes them feel tidier, sexier, more well-groomed. Really? I’m not sure that’s why. The same women are either single (and need to be prepared for any action they might see – I get that); or they are in a relationship and you can bet your front bottom dollar that their fella likes a hairless hoochie. In my humble opinion, a real man likes a hairy muff. There, I said it. Would they have their nads waxed if you stated a preference for it? Would they heck.
Your kids need to see that real women, i.e. us mums, have wobbly bellies, droopy boobs, saggy bums – and a hairy fanny. By seeing this in a natural setting, at home, whilst they are young enough not to be embarrassed by it, means they get a realistic and healthy example set in their minds of what women look like naked. When they see porn, which unfortunately will be at a younger age than we can even imagine thanks to smartphones, they will know that IT ISN’T REAL. NORMAL WOMEN DO NOT LOOK LIKE THAT.
I have had an ‘everything off’ wax done, several times, back in my 20s. When I complained that it hurt so, so bad, my best friends (both avid waxers) told me, “Don’t worry, it hurts less every time you have it done.” That’s like saying, “When you have your 5th kid it’s pretty much the same as stubbing your toe”. Bollocks! Pain doesn’t get incrementally reduced just because you experience it more regularly. Why do that shit to yourself?
If you still do wax then and you hate it then please realise that you don’t have to do it anymore. Go wild. Get feral. And if your other half (or anyone else for that matter) has a problem with it, say this: “Actually, I’ve realised that waxing off one’s fanny hair is contributing to some pretty serious problems in society: y’know, commodification of the female form resulting in altered reality states for the youth of today and ultimately the loss of innocence in our children.” Or this: “Yeah, I’m sick of that shit. You got a problem with that?”
The one thing that people always say when in conversation about this is: what about your armpits or legs? Do you not remove your hair there? Well, for me, personally, yes I do, when I can be arsed. It’s normally summer, when they are on show in shorts and vests. My doo-dah is never on show, so it’s simply not the same thing. Armpit and leg shaving is not sexually motivated or even related to sexuality in the same way that removing the hair under our undies is. The main reason people wax their lady bits is, ultimately, for sexual titillation. The same cannot be said of shaving your legs.
Then there’s the financial outlay! Can you imagine your partner putting time and money aside for such a painful experience with so little benefit? No. Instead, spend the money you’ve saved on waxing on a couple of personalised jars of Nutella, go to the cinema, or buy some nice big pants. (They are so much sexier, the 1950s-style, tummy hugging ones, than the skimpy awful strings that are so popular today.) Here’s what the marvellous Caitlin Moran (whose chapter I Became Furry in How to Become a Woman is essential reading on this subject) has to say on the subject of spending money on your nunny:
“I can’t believe we’ve got to the point where it’s costing us money to have a fanny. They’re making us pay for maintenance and upkeep of our lulus, like they’re a communal garden. It’s stealth tax. Fanny VAT. This is money we should be spending on THE ELECTRICITY BILL and CHEESE and BERETS. Instead we’re wasting it on making our Chihuahuas look like a skanky Lidl chicken breast.”
On that note (and remember that image – a ‘skanky Lidl chicken breast’ – if ever you’re feeling the pressure to wax) it’s a good time to bow out. But before I go I’d like to introduce you to a little ditty, the tune of which you’re probably familiar with. Let’s sing it out together, loud and proud, channeling our daughters’ (and sons’) favourite wintery blonde Disney queen: “Let it GROW… Let it GROW… Don’t get it waxed any-moooooorrree…” C’mon. You owe it to your kids.
What do you reckon? Is getting a full on Brazilian wax setting a bad example to your kids? Or is it something you get done for your own enjoyment?