My one-year-old daughter is totally into bears right now. Out of the ten or so words she knows, it’s definitely her favorite topic of discussion. She sleeps with a bear while wearing bear pajamas. Many nights she won’t actually sleep in the pajamas, because she just wants to hold the shirt, gaze at the bear’s face lovingly and say with a reverence normally reserved for the pope and Ryan Gosling, “Bewr, bewr, bewr.”
If we are out in the world and she sees a bear — not an actual bear, we live in Los Angeles, not Alaska, but, say, some graffiti of a bear — forget about getting where you are going. You must stop and consider the bear.
Occasionally she calls things that aren’t bears “bewrs.” Certain Sesame Street Characters, the occasional Muppet, and some unidentifiable characters in her board books have all been likened to the giant mammal. I’m not about to argue; I don’t know what the hell they are either.
The other night I was drying off after a quick bath when she hobbled into the bathroom to investigate. She stood up and peered closely at my unkempt lady business. Her face exploded into a huge grin, and she pointed while excitedly shouting, “Bewr! Bewr! Bewr!”
That’s just about the best thing ever: my daughter’s first association with my vagina, and by association her own, is that it’s a wild and potentially very dangerous animal that no one had better fuck with.
Recently I’ve been very happy with my decision to let my bush go rogue. Years ago, before marriage and kids came along, I’d handed over what little extra cash I had to a stoic Eastern European woman to mercilessly rip all the hair off of my genital area. It didn’t make my life one bit better. It was just another errand I had to run, money I didn’t have to spend, and, as you might already know, it hurts like a mother.
Someday my daughter is going to grow hair on her vagina, which is hard to believe, since, at thirteen months, she has about three hairs on her head. But when the day does come, I don’t want to be sporting a perfectly manicured minuscule triangle, on an otherwise hairless muff. I imagine that conversation being awkward.
“Mom, something is wrong with me. I have hair. Down there.”
“Oh honey, that’s totally normal. It’s a beautiful, natural part of becoming a woman.”
“Then why don’t you have any hair down there?”
“Uh, well, actually, I get mine waxed off.”
“I don’t know exactly. It used to be something only porn stars did, and then it crossed over to popular culture and regular women started doing it and um…”
“Does Daddy like you better if you do this?”
“Do I need to do this so boys will like me?”
I’m getting sad about the world just typing up this pretend conversation.
What if we stopped religiously ripping all the hair off of our privates and showed our little girls that we aren’t supposed to be “smooth down there,” like they are, but that our vaginas are actually powerful like bears? Think of all the extra money we’d have for our 401K or vintage Joni Mitchell records or a trip to Tulum with our best girlfriends, or whatever the hell we want? And if you have sons not daughters, let them remember the first lady garden they see be a verdant one.
Look, I’m not exactly some Mother Earth hippie over here. I wax my brows and my upper lip so I don’t get mistaken for Tom Selleck. I shave my armpits and I shave my legs. And yes, I even give my nether regions a little grooming, I don’t want to look like I’m smuggling a clown in my bikini.
However– there is a major difference between some general grooming and a full on wax assault of our genitals. Our vaginas are the center of our sexuality. This, my sisters, is where we hold our power. It is the center of our mystery and our magnificence. This is the jungle baby! Why are we turning our muffs from warm and cuddly bears into a scene resembling a litter of newborn hairless hamsters? Sure baby hamsters are cute, but are they really more fun to fuck than a real live woman with a grown-up pussy?
We don’t have to be hairless for men (or women) to have sex with us. We have vaginas. No matter what, men will have sex with us! Your vagina could be on fire, covered in barbed wire and blasting Celine Dion at full volume and most healthy heterosexual males would be game. If you meet a guy and he won’t have sex with you because you have hair on your vagina, he is an enormous fuckwit and you should run, not walk in the opposite direction. Let him get back to his unhealthy image of women and his online porn addiction. If men expect us to be hairless, and I don’t think they do, it is up to us to stand up with our hairy bears and change the tide. Are we going to let porn decide what is sexy about women? Are we going to let porn teach our kids what is sexy? Sure, they are going to see some porn, we can’t make it go away and we aren’t aloud to take out their eyeballs. Trust me on this, I already checked and it’s definitely illegal. But here’s some good news: we are powerful influences in our kids’ lives, and how we feel about, and display, our bodies will have an enormous impact on how they see their own.
Maybe you think there are more important things to worry about than whether you have a hairy muff. If you have a meeting with the UN later today to discuss global climate change solutions, then I’d consider giving you a pass. But I’d wager you’re more powerful walking into that meeting knowing you have a bear down there.
(Image: getty images)