A Bush in the Hand

Chris's picture

This might date me a bit, but when I first saw a picture of a shaved pussy, it was a real turn-on because it seemed edgy and sexually aggressive. It wasn't something that women did, as a rule. Now, it's so common that it's banal, and natural bushes, like the one that Furry Girl has made her trademark, have become a fetishized niche. The difference between the two styles still inspires a lot of heat and passion, and not always the good kind. Some people insist that shaved pussies make women look like children; others think that pubic hair looks scraggly and unclean. I'm one of the rare ones, someone with no preference whatsoever. But I can say that I utterly despise the vehemence on both sides, and their willingness to pathologize women's bodies one way or another. What I dislike about the shaved look is its total ubiquitousness. I hate that it's considered de rigueur for models to shave their pubic hair unless they're trying to appeal to a niche demographic, and that women feel like they have to shave to show up at a sex party or even to fuck their date. Shaved pussies are gorgeous, as are pussies with wild, full bushes. But homogeneity is boring and unsexy, and if the aesthetic flipflopped tomorrow, I'd say the same thing about natural bushes.

Playboy's web site has a pictorial that shows the evolution of the modern bald aesthetic in an interesting way, by showing one centerfold for each year from 1971 to 2008. It's a mini-narrative not only about bushes, but about how the aesthetics of desire and standards of photography have evolved in thirty-seven years, made the more relevant by the fact that Playboy is the most staid, conservative pornography out there, and doesn't explore any new territory until it's been well-tested by everyone else first. You don't get any closer to the Establishment view of sex than Playboy. One thing that catches my eye is how much more texture Linda Summers's skin has in her August, 1972 centerfold compared to Ida Ljungqvist, Miss March of 2008. The bodies as a whole have smoothed out, not only the crotches. You can see the transition from airbrushing to Photoshopping and the increasing availability (and the implied necessity) of cheap tit jobs. I can't say that it's an improvement; all of the above represent an increase in the homogenization of mainstream sexuality and a narrowing of erotic visions, even while indie smut-merchants on the Internet have increasingly used porn as a vehicle for their personal imaginations.