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W HY PUBIC HAIR? M ETHODOLOGY A NALYSIS C ONCLUSION R EFERENCES Recently, pubic hair removal has become something of a trend in Western society (Peixoto.

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Presentation on theme: "W HY PUBIC HAIR? M ETHODOLOGY A NALYSIS C ONCLUSION R EFERENCES Recently, pubic hair removal has become something of a trend in Western society (Peixoto."— Presentation transcript:

1 W HY PUBIC HAIR? M ETHODOLOGY A NALYSIS C ONCLUSION R EFERENCES Recently, pubic hair removal has become something of a trend in Western society (Peixoto Labre, 2002). Increasing numbers of women and men are removing some or all of their pubic hair, but it is not yet known exactly why people do this, or what the implications may be. We want to know what people think about pubic hair and pubic hair removal practices, so that we can better understand this as a phenomena which has the potential to impact on sexual health and wellbeing. Research Tool: Qualitative Survey Questions: 8 general questions, 7 each about women and men Recruitment: Posters, snowballing, word of mouth, s Participants: 69 men and women aged 18 to 48 Theoretical Framework: Critical Realism with elements of Social Constructionism Its Personal Choice (Within Limits) We used a broad analytic approach of thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) to construct a complex understanding of peoples' perceptions of pubic hair and pubic hair removal, both of which are highly interlinked. After coding several times over, five main themes were identified in relation to both pubic hair, and pubic hair removal practices: Pubic Hair NOT Public Hair Participants expressed that: What you do with pubic hair is up to you (within limits). [Pubic hair removal] should be personal choice–if you dont want to, you shouldnt have to–but I dont want to see someone elses pubic hair hanging out of togs! (NZ12, Female) Individual and personal choice was expressed as the ultimate trump card – no matter what, personal choice rules all decisions and is the final word. However, participants also explained further, or attached certain caveats to this notion of personal choice. Given this, personal choice seems to be an unobtainable and ideal situation, and lacks the choice to not remove hair. Participants expressed that: Pubic hair is and should be private Private (NZ044, Male) I would prefer not to see it in public (NZ17, Female) The private nature of pubic hair was expressed as both a visual and social phenomena, and provided as a fundamental reason why people do and should remove some or all of their pubic hair. The importance of keeping pubic hair out of public view was stressed much more for women than it was for men. A general aversion to pubic hair was evident (see Figures 1 and 2) in some participants responses. A NALYSIS (cont…) It is removed to be attractivePubic hair interferes with sex Participants expressed that: Pubic hair is and should be removed to be more attractive [...] I think females pubic hair is less attractive than males pubic hair […] (NZ36, Female) [Women remove pubic hair] To look good? (NZ34, Male) The unattractiveness of pubic hair, along with the motivation of increasing attractiveness as a reason for removal, was overwhelmingly expressed in regards to women. There is a disparity between what is expected of men and women in terms of pubic hair removal. Is this fair? Not dirty, but less is cleaner Participants expressed that: Pubic hair is not dirty, but having less pubic hair is cleaner No, its hair – if you shower then its clean. (NZ47, Male) [People remove pubic hair] to be more clean and hygienic (get rid of any bad smells) (NZ50, Female) For both men and women, participants expressed that pubic hair was not dirty, but when asked why people remove pubic hair, increased cleanliness and hygiene was a fundamental reason for removal of some or all pubic hair. For some, removal was seen as a mandatory hygiene practice, even though this assumption is not medically supported. A CKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thank you to my supervisor Virginia Braun, and acknowledgements to both Virginia Braun (University of Auckland) and Victoria Clarke (University of the West of England) for piloting this study in the UK. Peixoto Labre, M. (2002). The Brazilian Wax: New Hairlessness Norm for Women? Journal of Communication Inquiry, 26(2), 113. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), Participants responses were varied and complex, but the main themes and points identified were as follows: The ultimate trump card for personal decisions on pubic hair removal is nearly always individual or personal choice. Pubic hair is a visually and socially private part of our bodies, and it should be remain private and not visible in public, especially for women. Pubic hair is not attractive, and women especially should and do remove some or all of their pubic hair in order to meet a social definition of attractiveness. Pubic hair is not dirty, but removing pubic hair for both men and women is cleaner and has hygiene benefits. Pubic hair gets in the way of sex, particularly oral sex, and should be removed to allow a full sexual experience and to be considerate to a sexual partner. Because of these seemingly convincing reasons, people in general, and especially women, may feel unduly pressured by external agents to engage in pubic hair removal, which may have negative effects on sexual health and wellbeing. A IMS To answer the following research questions: How are pubic hair and pubic hair removal perceived? Are these perceptions gendered, and if so, how? What are the possible implications of these perceptions? Figure 1: The pubic hare – why are we so averse to it? Figure 2: Spiders… perhaps as abhorrent as pubic hair? Participants expressed that: Pubic hair interferes with sex, particularly oral sex [...] Should be removed if it is in some way interring [sic] with sex life. (NZ63, Female) No pubes to spit out after oral sex. [...] (NZ09, Male) For both men and women, pubic hair was expressed as something superfluous that gets in the way of sex, and is particularly interfering for the giving partner during oral sex. As such, it was cited by participants as a compelling reason for pubic hair removal (either some or all), to be able to experience more pleasure and to be considerate to a partner. The expectation to remove hair for sex seems high. By Gemma Tricklebank


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