Different cultures have different norms regarding the acceptability of body hair. For example, in many countries of the world, women are largely expected to shave their legs and underarm hair when going out in public. But what about that other, far less public patch of hair?
The latest edition of Shogakukan’s News Post Seven teamed up with an online research agency to check up on the status quo of what Japanese women nowadays do with the ‘hair down there,’ especially now that attitudes in Japan are becoming increasingly similar to those in the West. Do they shave it? Tidy it up every so often? Leave it as is? The internet survey disclosed some revealing results.
If you’re a woman and visited a Japanese hot spring before, you may be able to guess that things are about to get a little hairy…
One thousand Japanese women between the ages of 20 and 69 participated in the survey about their own habits regarding pubic hair. The average age of the respondents was 41.9 years, placing a large number of them into the ‘married-with-kids category.’
When asked about the density of their pubic hair, a little more than half of the women, or 53%, said “It grows thick.”
Those women with ‘thick growth’ also provided answers to the question “How do you groom down there?” The most common answer was “I do absolutely nothing,” making up 56.2% of the total responses. Other comments included:
“I remove the hair outside my bikini line” (26%)
“I trim the hair shorter” (23.6%)
“I remove the hair up to my genital region” (7%)
“I remove the hair up to my anal region” (5.5%)
(Writer’s note: Sorry if you’re just waking up to this, folks!)
The article also featured a confirmation by one Ms. Minori Kitahara, who works at a shop in Japan called ‘Love Piece Club’ that offers hair removal services, including Brazilian waxing. This is what she had to say:
“Even nowadays we still see lots of women at hot springs who don’t shave down there at all, so the results of the survey make sense. Even though women shave their underarm hair, they leave their pubic hair as is.
“The customers who we remove pubic hair for here often want it removed for hygienic reasons, because “it’s hot and humid,” and because they place importance on the appearance of the lower half of their bodies.”
Of course, there are an unlimited number of personal reasons why many women see the need to remove pubic hair. To give you some more perspective, in 2012 the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN) provided an interesting overview about historical practices of pubic hair removal and some recent academic studies into the matter. According to one researcher, pubic hair removal was uncommon among Western women before the 20th century. The razor manufacturing company Gillette proved instrumental in spreading the practice after they began advertising with the message that body hair on women was “unsightly,” which seems a bit harsh to us.
Here’s a look from one Canadian study at some of the motivating factors for why women remove their pubic hair:
Although the presence of body hair went in and out of style in the mid to late 20th century, swimsuits and other fashions dictated the gradual cultural trend of women choosing to remove pubic hair. A study from 2008 found that 61% of undergraduate Australian women removed their pubic hair, with the following breakdown: 20% removed a little, 44% removed most of it, and 36% removed all of it. The study also investigated the influence of fashion magazines and popular TV shows on whether women’s decisions. Similarly, a large online study in 201o indicated that 20% of American women between the ages of 18 and 24 reported total hair removal.
Guess we’ll have to wait a few years to see what practices concerning women and hair removal will look like down the road!