Last month, South Korean designer Kaimin sent models down the runway at New York Fashion Week decked out in futuristic metallic jackets and… merkins. Yes, merkins, a.k.a. pubic wigs. Some models walking the designer’s show skipped bottoms altogether in favour of big, bushy, well, bushes, while others donned nude underwear adorned with faux landing strips.
Of course, Kaimin’s show might be the most recent indicator of pubic hair’s trendy resurgence, but there have been other signs that bush is slowly but surely making a comeback. Last summer, Amber Rose posted a sexy shot of herself on Instagram with the hashtag to promote her annual Slut Walk. And remember back in 2013, when Gwyneth Paltrow told Ellen that she was rocking a in her nether regions? Women either applauded or were appalled—at the time, the Brazillian reigned supreme and wax bars seemed to be opening up on every corner. Nevertheless, it helped to open up a discussion on how we dress up (or down?) our lady bits.
But now that the trend is swinging the other way, are non-celeb women as interested in going au natch, or are we still hanging onto two decades of barely-there pubic hair, which the patrons of porn would still have us believe is the sexiest choice? And how does the F-word (feminism, duh—what did you think we meant?) play into it all?
We talked to 10 women from across Canada about exactly that. Here’s what they had to say.
Judy Virago, 33, Toronto
Pubic hair—and hair in general—was something Virago was aware of from a young age. “I don’t think body hair was ever really discussed in my Irish Catholic family, but I remember seeing my dad in the shower when I was about six years old and being totally and utterly repulsed by seeing a body covered in hair,” she admits. “I was really upset about it actually and started crying! Being a sensitive little boy who knew on the inside that she was a little girl, and being told that when I grew up I could end up looking like that, it absolutely horrified me.”
For Virago, who is “bald from the eyelashes down!” thanks to laser treatments, hair was equal to maleness. “Shaving my pubic hair was, for my adolescent self, a way of rejecting and controlling that. That’s absolutely not how I see body hair now—we’re mammals, we all grow hair and it isn’t gendered, you can be fluffy and feminine, bushy and beautiful. But I think that deep trauma, the connection my child mind made between hair and masculinity, probably still runs pretty strongly in the way I view my own body.”