Who’s afraid of a bit of muff? No Shave November and pube-phobia

This month is No Shave November, a month wherein moustaches are grown and hair is left unshaven to raise money for prostate cancer. It’s a little easier to do than NaNoWriMo, and I’d’ve participated had I had time to get my shit together for sponsorship. I could probably grow a better tache than many of the men I know.

The extension of “growing a moustache” to “not shaving at all” has provoked no measureable rejoicing among women, but a peculiar backlash to such invisible jubiliation.

“Attention ladies,” barks the top tweet in the trending topic, “No Shave November is meant for men not women.” The whole topic is riddled with such shit. “If you are a female participating in no shave November im forced to believe you have no morals,” admonishes one tweeter, using the sexist red-flag “females”. “Ladies,” begs another, “No Shave November doesn’t apply to you. Please”. One bellows, “LADIES NO SHAVE NOVEMBER IS FOR DUDES AND THEIR FACIAL HAIR. So you nasty bitches still need to shave everywhere like normal.”

After immersion in the topic–which I thoroughly do not recommend–it becomes abundantly clear that the hair grown by women that is the subject of such terror is of the pubic variety. Muff is apparently terrifying.

I wondered why. I asked. I got some jokey replies. @Commuterist suggested that “a lion might hide in it and eat me”. I got some serious replies. @sredniivashtaar proposed “what frightens them is the idea that women might not perceive themselves solely as sexual subjects of men”, while @Cruimh postulated in a Freudian fashion “the reason men are scared of lady muff is that we exit through balded ones”, referring to the traditional practice of shaving before birth.*

Why are so many people so averse to a bit of bush these days? My guess would be that it is related to porn: younger men are exposed to plucked-chicken porn quims long before they encounter a real cunt. And so the expectation rears up: there’s not meant to be hair there.

And it trickles down into women, many internalise this expectation. I invite you to guess which tweet came from a man, and which from a woman.

A. No Shave November… God, my sex life will suffer with the bush down there…

B. Lol at someone writing “Bring the bush back” In the No Shave November trend! I am against this.

In truth, it doesn’t really matter, but click the links if you want to find out. The fact is, we’re all participating in the double standard for a binary that shouldn’t exist.

And it’s fucking ludicrous. As @mortari succinctly puts it,

I don’t care much about body hair. But seeing the reaction of absolute horror to No Shave November has convinced me to ditch the razor.

Quite. We have nothing to fear from a bit of fanny-fluff. Pubes aren’t disgusting. Society’s reaction to them is.


*It is now not routine to shave women before birth. In fact, removal of hair from the perineum leads to an increase in maternal infections after birth, so a full Brazilian is inadvisable.

10 thoughts on “Who’s afraid of a bit of muff? No Shave November and pube-phobia”

  1. Well done for coming up with the expression “pube-phobia”! I can’t wait to use it.

    As for whoever said…
    “God, my sex life will suffer with the bush down there”

    My sex life has suffered with the invention of porn, but so far I haven’t been able to use that as an argument to make it disappear. Just sayin’

  2. I’m 46, and in my distant youth there was no fear of the bush, it was worshipped ( by me at least) . I think you are right on the porn issue, my youth was pre-internet, we relied on the porn mags of older brothers, older mates, or dad’s badly hidden stash. I did once share a porn stash which was hidden in the hollow of a tree in rainbow woods in Bath. Almost bush in the bush. And it was mainly glorious 70s style German porn, bush dominated.

    Younger men do seem to insist on a bushless existence, which is very sad imo, same goes for under arm hair , of which I am also a fan.

    Anyway, good blog post, I don’t think I’ve written as much about the mighty bush before.

    1. I’m 20 and have never once shaved. Trimmed, but that was for the benefit of a swim. But then again I’m not the sort of girl that has ever done anything that I don’t want to do, and certainly not appearance wise for anyone else. Funnily enough, have never had trouble finding boys. Maybe you’re right about porn, but I suspect it’s female fashion mags that are truly to blame.

  3. Do we need to explain why depilation became de rigeur in pornography in the first place, or how profoundly disturbing the reasons are?

  4. Are smooth and hairless ladyparts *really* a big thing for guys? I’ve always found it a bit of a turn-off personally – something slightly paedo about messing around with a woman who doesn’t have any pubic hair. A big, crazy, Brian Blessed beard-type bush might be a bit unwieldly in the getting hairs caught in the back of your throat and ticking your nose kind of way, but that’s a practical rather than aesthetic issue.

    That said, most of the women I’ve spoken to about this (not that many tbh, not exactly an issue that crops up regularly in conversation) keep trimmed because they like to be generally ‘clean and tidy’, not because of any particular preference on behalf of their partners.

    So I wonder if it really is a big issue for men in general, or just those that care enough to Tweet about it? And I wonder if it’s a cultural thing – Americans do seem to be quite militant about aspects of personal presentation in a way that Brits and Europeans seem more relaxed about.

    As for women not participating in ‘No Shave November’ – I think the argument here is a bit disingenuous. Surely the reason for men to do it is to do something that is highly visible and, trends for short skirts not withstanding, it isn’t quite the same for women. I’m not entirely sure I would feel comfortable asking for proof that shaving had been curtailed for a month – and I expect my HR department would probably take a dim view of me asking too.

  5. As of today and reading this I am re-embracing the bush. Am I psycologically defunked if I say I might still keep it a bit trim around the edges? I reckon I am. DAMN IT. These are confusing times. Must be strong.

  6. I started getting pubes at age 11. By the time I was 13, my bush was full and thick. I’ve loved showing it off to other dudes ever since, and i can happily say that it’s never been trimmed even ONCE!!! Dude bush is HOT!!

  7. The first time I heard the phrase ‘No-Shave November’ (about two years ago) it was in connection with an appeal for women to not remove their underarm hair for a month. The moustache thing is a new development to me and of course, it being male-focused, much more positive media attention is being given to it.
    Personally I think the whole ‘hairy men’ thing is just male appropriation of a worthy female cause – no-one gives a shit if men look like they slept in a bush for a month, but just hear the howls of disgust (from all genders) if a woman dares to reveal two weeks’ hair growth under her arm or on her legs.

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