The Last (True?) Taboo

I’ve been working with a book called ‘The Last Taboo: Women and Body Hair’ as part of my research these days. Edited by Karin Lesnik-Oberstein, the book brings together a collection of fascinating articles around women and body hair and general socio-cultural views towards both.

But when I saw the headline ‘The Last Remaining Sexual Taboo’ in Friday’s Globe and Mail, I had to take a look (I mean c’mon, who doesn’t like a good sexual taboo, right?). The article explores female masturbation — specifically the fact that women, especially young ones, just aren’t keeping up as compared with men. The article states a bunch of obvious facts: male anatomy is more… uh…readily accessed and more publicly discussed than the female equivalent. Female masturbation is so often tied to performativity — ie. it’s often done as a turn-on for a partner, but isn’t necessarily embraced as a solo activity.

There are, of course, lots of reasons women should be embracing their own pleasure and their own bodies, most notably because it’s a way of really getting to know your own body and what makes it tick, rather than relying on a partner to figure it out for you.

As one expert is quoted as saying in the article, “young women are not encouraged to take ownership of their bodies or of sexual pleasure.”

And yet, they are expected to keep themselves impeccably groomed, presumably for “themselves”, right?

Anyone else see a problem with this?

Wouldn’t you think that living in an era when women are increasingly keeping their nether regions hairless would mean a lot more self-exploration? I mean really – if you’re going to spend all that time and money keeping everything bare and accessible, shouldn’t you be taking advantage? Otherwise, aren’t you always doing it for someone else?

hrmmmmm.

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