When people find out what I study, they’re either a) intrigued, b) uncomfortable, or c) defensive.
In fact, one of the most popular defensive tactics is to either tell me that women remove their pubic hair for their own pleasure (and thus I should not be critical of the practice), or to try to justify it as a lesser problem because “guys are feeling pressure to do it too.”
So here’s what I have to say to that:
As much as it concerns me that young men are feeling increasingly societal pressure to do away with their body hair (the result being more and more young men who may be feeling insecure about their bodies as-they-are), I don’t think it’s fair to compare them.
As far as I can tell, a man doesn’t view his bits as less-than-worthy if they are wearing a furry sweater.
There’s a lesser chance that he will be seen as someone who is “not taking care of himself” if he is not meticulously groomed (he may merely be viewed as someone who has better things to do – or he may be cultivating the scruffy look).
To speak generally, consumer culture simply doesn’t target men the same way that it targets women.
So when we DO hear about men getting intimate wax jobs, we’re still a little amused. We can cavalierly toss around terms like ‘metrosexual’ (the wikipedia definition of which is “a heterosexual urban man whose lifestyle, concern for personal appearance, and spending habits are likened to those considered typical of a fashionable male homosexual”) and speculate about what would compel him to press hot wax to his family jewels.
We certainly wouldn’t judge him if he opted to let it all grow in for awhile.
I’m thinking about this today because yesterday I happened upon a really great article on the topic in The Good Men Project called Waxing Insanity. The article, by Ted Cox, tells the hilarious tale of his first Brazilian wax and its resulting discomfort, all while exploring how our culture views body hair on men and women. It’s definitely worth a read. Here’s his most-excellent concluding line:
“But I do know this: any guy who expects his partner to get waxed, if he’s not regularly getting waxed himself, deserves to be set on fire and run over by a fucking bus.”
Read the whole article here: