Beating about the Bush

Beating About The Bush

Naturally, the porn industry also plays a part shaping pubic styles. ”It started with the censorship issue”, says James Hundleby, editor of British Escort magazine. But how did pubic hair styles evolve over the centuries?

Pubic relations

In classical European art pubes were very rarely depicted. The same was true in much Indian art, and in other Eastern portrayals of the nude form. The idea of removing pubic hair is an old one. Some European women (and probably some men), had been removing their pubic hair at least as early as the 1500s. In its place they sometimes wore a merkin – a pubic toupée. Female bodies remained hairless below the head throughout the Renaissance, but by the 17th century intimations of female pubic hair appear in pornographic engravings, such as those by Agostino Carracci.

Full frontal

It has been alleged that John Ruskin, the famous author, artist, and art critic, was apparently accustomed only to the hairless nudes portrayed unrealistically in art, never having seen a naked woman before his wedding night. He was allegedly so shocked by the discovery of his wife Effie’s pubic hair that he rejected her, and the marriage was later legally annulled. He is supposed to have thought his wife was freakish and deformed. It’s a pity he had not seen Francisco Goya’s The Nude Maja before that fatal night. The painting was executed some time between 1797 and 1800, and is sometimes said to be the first clear depiction of female pubic hair in Western art.

But it was only Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World (1866) that showed a galore of bush exposing female genitals in their totality with thick hair. The picture scandalized society not only because it displayed a flash of pink, but because it portrayed the female sex in its full, hairy glory, rather than classicised and bare. Today, Ruskin might have been much more at ease, and Courbet’s canvas might be viewed as unkempt.

Venus in Furs

While the fur coats of many heroines are obvious metonimic hints about the hair around their pubenda, men have consistently denigrated women by reducing them to animals through descriptions of their pubic hair: beaver, pussy, muff, etc. If you want to know why, you only have to turn to the master. “Fur and velvet – as has long been suspected – are a function of the sight of the pubic hair, which should have been followed by the longed-for sight of the female member”, declares Sigmund Freud in ‘Fetishism’.


Beaver eaters

Trimming or completely removing pubic hair has become a custom in many cultures. It may be ‘in’ and ‘out’ depending on the prevailing fashion, but there are men who prefer their ladies to keep their public curls natural. Others go for the newest fashion.
In the 1930s the louche Baron Martin Stillman von Brabus shaved the pubic hair of his lover Margaret, Duchess of Argyll into a representation of the Mercedes-Benz 3-pointed star.

There is a wide spectrum of possibilities as concerns the styling of pubic hair, starting with natural, through different types of trimming including the landing strip – hair sharply removed from the sides to form a long, centred vertical rectangle to its shorter, square version dubbed the Chaplin moustache. The next step is the Brazilian or G-wax, where public  hair is completely removed except for a very thin remnant, a centred, narrow strip above the vulva, with hair length in the sub-centimetre range, all the way to the full-brazilian or the Hollywood, in which pubic hair is completely removed. Then, there are also variations of the Brazilian/G-Wax, where a design of a heart, an arrow, initials and so forth is formed in the pubic hair above completely bare vulva. How is the industry reacting to changes of fashion? It is enough to have quick glance at magazines or films from different decades to realize how the evolution of the ’hair down there’ was a search for the bare truth.

Furry tales
‘70s rock’n’cspoon

Even before the release of  Milos Forman’s legendary film ’Hair’, the ’70s were noticeably hairy in many respects. The era of ‘Hair’ was marked by the predominance of ’70s bush aka disco bush or disco mitt. While Penthouse broke new ground in the early ’70s by being the first mainstream men’s magazine to show full bush (Playboy merely hinting at it by teasing their readers with pictures of nude women with something covering the lower regions or being topless with maybe a pair of jeans with the top button undone and the fly open right down to the pubic hairline), the heroines of 1970s-era pornography films sport untrimmed, overgrown ’public’ hair. Nowadays, while classic rock refers to music from the ’70s and ’80s, classic bush refers to letting your pubes grow wild, as women did in the ’60s and ’70s.
But it was also the ’70s that brought the important breakthorugh for the…

Bald question.

In 1972, ‘Deep Throat’ was released. ”If you’re having a male sexual experience, after you have your orgasm your next impulse is not to bend down and look over and watch someone’s scrotum pounding against someone’s shaved beaver or whatever”, said Jack Nicholson interviewed by Screw magazine. He might not have been enthralled by the film overall but Linda Lovelace’s shaved crotch can hardly have gone unappreciated.
Although the film’s premise is deceptively simple – there is a heroine, Linda Lovelace, an incarnation of the perfect girl-next-door, played eponymously, having a common problem. She cannot come. Eventually, she decides to consult a doctor. Dr Reems’s diagnosis is surprising – he surmises that his patient’s problem stems from the fact that her clitoris is actually in her throat. Devastated at first, Linda quickly discovers a very satisfying cure and even sees “bombs busting in air” and so achieves orgasm. Delighted with her newfound ability, Linda sets out on the path to sexual freedom and copious amounts of satisfaction derived from exercising her newly-found clitoris. There are several shots based on close­­-ups depicting her crotch in which Linda doesn’t show off her sword-swallowing techniques, but in which her legs are spread as she is devoured by various male performers. It is Bob Philips who pours Coke into her cloister listening to the song ‘I’d like to teach the world to screw’. Her education completed, Linda goes for the ultimate gesture which is to mark her transition from the realm of the anorgasmic to the world of satisfaction and full control. In the last scene of the movie, she shaves herself and enjoys a solitary pleasure. The film became an all-time classic and marked the end of the golden age of pubic hair. In the ’80s, pubic fashion was influenced by…

Porno chic,

meaning copious trimming. Teresa Orlovsky the uncrowned queen of European porn in the 1980s, and the star of her self-produced movies, wore her beaver neatly trimmed. Porn actresses tended to shave, the better to show off their naughty bits. Men began asking their wives and girlfriends to do the same because it made giving oral sex more pleasant and seemed wicked. In the mainstream, the high-cut one-piece bathing suit hit big during the 1980s, so saying ‘goodbye’ to disco bush. The more skin the suits showed, the more trimming needed. Finally, women wound up with the ‘landing strip’, that little line down the centre that looked like a pencil moustache. Super-low cut jeans only added to the fashion imperative, mandating shaving from the top down.
Another notable example of Porno Chic was La Cicciolina whose ’Diva Futura’ inspired both PWEI to come up with the songs ’Touched by the hand of La Cicciolina’ and the iconic ’Beaver Patrol’, and Solange Hop to follow the same denuded suit.
 

Less is more

With the advent of the web in the mid-1990s, suddenly everyone saw how adult entertainers trimmed, shaped and buffed. Formerly, exotic practices like Brazilian waxes and stenciling your partner’s initials into your personal parts became The Thing. The ’90s stood for shaving. The shaved, waxed, trimmed and otherwise depilated female pubis has become a cultural norm.

As it concerns the industry, bare quims have been the standard for years for both sexes. ”I don’t think the bush is back, but we’re getting away from that really trimmed look”, James Hundleby explained in 2002. ”We’re more into the natural realistic look now, so we encourage models to leave more on than normal”.

Nevertheless, at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas in 2005, the only image that had pubic hair on it was a postcard for JT’s Stockroom (NSFW) – an adult catalogue known for its pioneering spirit. The photograph showed two women in an erotic domination scene, both sporting full, luxuriant pelts between their legs. Every other brochure, poster, box cover and live model at the show was as bare as a Barbie doll.

Retro chic still tranlsates to ‘Telly Savalas’ rather than bush nostalgia. The natural and hairy has become a niche for those who are after it. As the saying goes: ‘Give your man a treat, leave it dense but neat‘.

 

This article was posted in Porn and tagged .

Comments are closed.

^ top