Hair: Pube-lic Enemy No. 1?

Are we seeing a resurgence of the lady bush? CLEO investigates whether it’s a passing trend, or something more.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Are we seeing a resurgence of the lady bush? CLEO investigates whether it’s a passing trend, or something more.
Photography Andrew Finlayson/Bauer Media
Photography Andrew Finlayson/Bauer Media

When the controversycourting clothing chain American Apparel adorned mannequins with full sets of pubic hair in one of their New York stores, eyebrows raised and jaws dropped. But amid the shock, a serious question was raised: is the gold or silver bodysuit more flattering? No, wait, that’s not it. The question was: is the bush back?


Cameron Diaz certainly hopes so. In a section titled “In Praise of Pubes” in her health and lifestyle book The Body Book, the 43-year-old actress encourages us to keep our pubic hair in its natural state. “Personally, I think permanent laser hair removal sounds like a crazy idea. Also, let’s be honest: just like every other part of your body, your labia major is not immune to gravity. Do you really want a hairless vagina for the rest of your life?”, wrote Cameron.

Miley Cyrus is also a fan of hair down there. In an Instagram post last year, she showed off her pink armpit hair and gave followers a tiny glimpse of her lady bush in the same picture. To no one’s surprise, social media went wild.

And it’s not just celebs who are propubes. A study in the UK revealed that just over 50 percent of women don’t groom their pubic hair at all, and only 28 out of 101 women photographed for the Australian art exhibition and coffee table book 101 Vagina were near or completely hairless.

So, is this it? The death of the vajay-jay wax once and for all? Maybe. Or not – the choice is obviously yours. But while this au naturel trend may seem like a pretty trivial topic on the surface, it opens up a bigger conversation about gender stereotypes and society’s ideas on what it means to be feminine.


Although images of women in bikinis are deemed acceptable, shots of bikiniclad women with pubic hair aren’t – as 21-year-old photographer Petra Collins found out the hard way.

In October 2013, the Canadian’s Instagram account was deleted after she posted a picture of her unshaven bikini line in a pair of swimmers. In an essay she penned afterwards, Petra wrote, “I did nothing that violated [Instagram’s] terms of use. No nudity, violence or pornography, or unlawful, hateful or infringing imagery. What I did have was an image of MY body that didn’t meet society’s standard of ‘femininity’.”

Petra continued: “The deletion of my account felt like a physical act, like the public coming at me with a razor, sticking their finger down my throat, forcing me to cover up, forcing me to succumb to society’s image of beauty… these very real pressures we face every day can turn into literal censorship.”

A Seattle photographer also faced the same problem. Ashley Armitage, 22, posted a photo of her friend in a bikini bottom and faced a slew of nasty comments that called her friend “unhygienic” and “disgusting” for not removing her body hair.

“My intention behind posting the photo was to educate. I want to get more representations out there to show that women have a choice. Shaving or not shaving has nothing to do with our self-worth. We shouldn’t be shamed if we decide to grow our hair out,” said Ashley in an interview with Dazed & Confused.

“I think it’s rooted in the pressure of the beauty standard and fear of the ‘unruly’ woman who strays and claims her body as her own. An empowered woman threatens the status quo. The fact that so many people were calling a natural body ‘gross’ and ‘dirty’ confirms to me that we need more varied imagery of women and their bodies,” added Ashley. She’s right. After all, why should we be shamed by others for the decisions we make about our own bodies? Especially when that state is 100 percent natural.


It’s become a serious case of “be rid of your hair down there or be ridiculed”, but Ashley, Petra, Miley and Cameron are having none of it. They’re part of the so-called “bush resurgence”, which has helped those who choose not to remove their pubic hair to feel less like a freak for their decision.

That being said, it doesn’t mean you should let your bush grow if you don’t want to, of course. In fact, if the proliferation of waxing parlours is anything to go by, more and more Singaporean women are opting to go pube-free. What’s more, STRIP, one of Singapore’s most well-known waxing parlours, has observed that an increasing number of customers have progressed from getting Brazilian waxes to semi-permanent Intense Pulsed-Light (IPL) hair removal treatments.

Ultimately, it really doesn’t matter what the world tells you about how to deal with your pubic hair. If you decide to get rid of it all, then so be it. And if you feel more comfortable letting it grow, then that’s perfectly fine as well. What you decide to do with your body hair (yes, including the hair on your arms, underarms, legs and anywhere else) does not make you more or less of a woman, nor should it serve as a means for anyone to judge you by. At the end of the day, the only person you need to please when it comes to your own body is yourself.

It’s Your  Choice

Shave, wax, trim or do nothing at all - it’s completely your call.
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