I was recently inspired to talk about the topic of hair removal, by a comment on my XConfession Female Ejaculation by user Newbi.
Kudos to you guys for not enforcing this “shave all your pubic hair” dogma that so much of the porn world (and outside world) seems to follow blindly … Interestingly it is again mostly women who are pressured (or pressure themselves) to follow it.
Erika Lust says:
It’s an interesting subject! Because for some feminists they find it empowering, or necessary. It also depends on the kind of hair you have and how easily you can or can’t remove it – I think a lot of the conversation around pubic hair is focused on white women.
It’s true that for a long time mainstream porn has perpetuated the patriarchal ideals that women should be completely hairless, whether it be their pubic hair, underarms or legs. The industry expects women to appear young and nubile, so hairlessness is a big part of that! And considering that most major porn sites are catering to a large young, male demographic, it’s no wonder so many more young girls are getting into camming (perhaps without full knowledge of what it entails) and why older female performers are constantly trying to make themselves look younger. In Rashida Jones’ documentary Hot Girls Wanted, she explores the abusive way young girls are lured into amateur porn, without knowing the lasting effects. Meanwhile, one of my favourite ethical adult film makers Ovidie, created a special double-release called SUPERMACHO vs. X Girl. One short directed by her and one directed by a man. I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that the actress was asked to shave for the male directed short…
So of course, I prefer to work with and encourage performers who are free to make their own choices about how they want their bodies to look and feel! I want them to be themselves, whether their hair removal (or lack of) is based on a personal preference or a statement! If that’s your kind of thing, you can see bodies in all their hairy glory over on my tumblr page!
Recently in the western world, body hair came back into fashion (and so did bleaching it!) with a new rise of feminism in which women were reclaiming body positivity, and that’s super important! However, this new freedom was largely based around white women and their ability to maintain body hair comfortably and easily.
This article by Paniz Khosroshahy NOT SHAVING ISN’T ALWAYS A CHOICE FOR WOMEN OF COLOUR talks about the importance of understanding that people of colour don’t have it so easy. She talks about growing up with darker, coarser hair than that of her white, fair skinned classmates and the alienation she felt when they would boast about the “peach fuzz” they would grow after not shaving for a week. Firstly, it can simply be uncomfortable and difficult for women of colour to let their body hair grow.
On top of that, it’s important to remember it’s not just leg, pubic and underarm hair. A lot of people struggle with hair on much more obvious parts of their body which, throughout their lives, has been perpetuated as “bad” by those more privileged. She also highlights differing social norms and different types of oppression for people of colour. She says, “for many women of colour in activist communities that do remove their body hair, shaving is survival“.
She finally reminds us that for everyone, regardless of your body, hair removal routine or specific area of activism, “your feminism is valid“. I couldn’t agree more! It’s incredibly important for me, and for everyone in the adult film industry, to encourage body positivity and encourage each and everyone to feel sexy, empowered and accepted in their own body! Thank you Newbi for your comment and thank you to Paniz for writing such an interesting piece!
Main image courtesy of Marilyn Minter in Paper Magazine. Checkout her gorgeous homage to the bush here!