Pube Shaming: The Pressure To Be Bare Down There

by Kelly Maxwell

LET’S TALK ABOUT PUBES!!!!! It might just be a patch of furry business between your gams, but that is some hotly debated and highly contestable terrain, ladies. The world wants to know what you are hiding behind your under pants. So, sorry Mom and Dad… I am going to talk about my pubes. I am throwing my application in the ring to be the first “Pubes-Pundit.”

I’ve already discussed my adventures in IUD country; so obviously, the next possible outlet of over-sharing is on the pubic mound. I have gone from bare, to full 1970’s bush, to somewhere in-between. I was not able to maintain my pre-pubescent nether-bits for long, because I am cursed with super-duper-sensitive skin.  So shaving was out, what with the red bumps, irritation, and (ugh) cuts. At-home waxing went the same for me because the wax left some super un-sexy red welts for weeks. I tried epilation (double ugh!). Sugaring (Nads!). Those lady trimmers, the ones that look like little beard trimmers (high-tech!).

A recent post from The Telegraph urged us to talk about and break the pubic hair taboo. Pubic hair may be one of the last spaces on a woman’s body to receive the spotlight and endure the prodding, shaming and humiliation that the rest of our bodies have been subjected to. Our bodies have been manipulated by unfriendly media and the beauty industry and are increasingly subject to the standards of porn. I am not praising or condemning porn (this piece is about pubes, people!) but we need to realize that porn is acting as an extension of reality where extremes become the norm and highly specific and gendered expectations distort our reality. Our culture has a special relationship with porn, where it is at the same time verboten and mainstream. The result is fantasy expectations with real world consequences.

I have been with fellas who have obviously watched their fair share of porn and I have felt the pressure to conform. Saying that out loud makes me feel like I ought to turn in my feminist merit badge or something. But we all know how that feels! The expectations placed on our junk are things we cannot possibly live up to, without extreme cost, pain, and maintenance. I wanted to get some, so I tried to keep up. I do not want to go back to those awkward undergrad sexual explorations, but I did learn a hell of a lot from those casual hook-ups, one-night stands, and ill-fated relationships. I learned what my pubes mean to me.

We should talk about these things right out in the open and allow a frank discussion on the topic. Porn matters, but it isn’t the whole conversation. Pubic hair can be fun stuff. It can be another element of your appearance that you can experiment with and play with. I think it is a wonderful thing that pube dye is a thing. Remember vagazzling?

It ought to be about the individual decisions that we make, as opposed to sweeping expectations that might not be right for your bush! If you wax and it works for you and you love it, then wax on sister! If you shave and you have mastered the razor, then you get down with your awesome self. If you rock a full and beautiful bush, then grow on my friend.

I want the dialogue to open up where these things no longer feel taboo to discuss out in the open. We can start talking about the deeper societal implications as opposed to the issues with women’s bodies. I don’t want anybody to feel pressure to alter their body in order to work within unrealistic or unfitting expectations.  So where do you stand on the issue? Do you agree with Dina Rickman, of the Telegraph? Let’s talk about pubes!

Images Via:,,



You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.