Brazilian, Californian, Hollywood, thong, full, French, landing strip … is anybody else confused?
For women of a certain vintage, there was a time when a bikini wax meant only one thing. You were going on holiday and wanted to wear a bikini, so it was time for a little tidy up.
These days, the list of options is endless and woe betide any woman who gets mixed up and asks for the wrong one when she gets to the salon.
It’s a very odd place in time right now where women between 20 and 30 probably wouldn’t consider anything other than the whole lot off. This is considered “general maintenance” and involves contorting yourself into positions more aligned with Bikram yoga than bikini waxing, and then having the hair ripped from your nether regions – butt, box, and all. And if that’s not enough to make your eyes water, the cost of it certainly will. Typical prices for this wonderful experience are about €50 and it is recommended that you get it done every four to six weeks. Ouch indeed.
If you’re over 45 and reading this, you will probably be scoffing at how preposterous the whole charade is, whilst thanking your lucky stars for the first time in your lives that you weren’t born in the 80’s. (You are also singing along to Mark Morrison in your head since reading the title of this piece.)
Those of us who fall in between the two, in the 30–45 category, are in a bit of a no man’s land (not literally – man will always want that piece of land). Too old to find it simply “normal”, but too young to just write it off as for the new generation. Some of these women may have dabbled with the trend, but since kids and mortgages took hold priorities have changed and the money simply isn’t available for it any more.
Others in this age bracket simply won’t go there on principle. Stripping off their womanhood in order to look like a prepubescent girl just isn’t something they buy into. A bit of topiary, fine – but a humiliating, bank-busting, agonising dive into something the male-dominated porn industry has, excuse the pun, thrust upon them, just isn’t going to cut it.
In recent months a number of celebrities seem to have joined this side of the fence. Gwyneth Paltrow famously admitted in an interview that she “rocked the 70’s vibe”, and Cameron Diaz’s new book urges women to consider leaving their parts “fully dressed”.
Caitlin Moran’s bestseller How to Be a Woman famously took on the subject, and in an interview later she said:
It’s just the fact that that seems normal now, and I feel that anything that’s normal that involves pain and costs a lot of money that boys aren’t doing is something that I would really urgently want to have some kind of massive fucking inquest into.
Even the voice of a generation, HBO’s Girls, showed one of their characters with full-frontal muff in all its glory during this season’s run.
So is the backlash finally here? And do we want it to be?
Well, it seems that the choice is a very individual one when it comes to female topiary (or deforestation as the case may be), but it is something we should all take time to ponder instead of simply accepting. Why are we doing it? For whose benefit? Is it something we want to pass on to our daughters? And most importantly – where will this “perfecting” of a woman’s privates all end?
For those who respond to the last question with, “Well, it can’t really go any further than taking it all off, can it?” I have just two words for you.
This blogpost originally appeared on parent.ie