Friday, January 20, 2006

To Shave or Not to Shave

As a woman-who-would-like-to-sleep-with-women (as I'm not currently sleeping with anyone), this is an important question. It's not like "What is the meaning of life?" big, but it is fairly large.

Traditionally, I've always thought that lesbians would be more feminist or women-centered than most women. I've never thought that all feminists were lesbians, but I think I always thought that lesbians were feminsts. (I've since learned that this is definately not the case, but I'll talk about that later.) I was reading Female Chauvinist Pigs a few days ago and the author, Ariel Levy, even discussed how many radical feminists thought that feminist women could only have lesbian sexual relationships because heterosexual relationships were inherantly oppressive. Since these were also women who wanted to get rid of traditional views of beauty that they thought came from what men likes and that men used to control women (bras, constrictive clothing, shaving legs & underarms, make-up, etc), I would think they would not have wanted their lovers to shave their pubic hair. In fact, if they slept with a woman who did have a shaved bush, I would think they would feel that woman was not politically aligned with them.

When I was talking to another lesbian friend of mine months ago, we'll call her N, she brought up another point that I might not have thought of. She was dating a woman who insisted that she shave all her pubic hair and thought it was sexy to shave N herself. N did not like her girlfriend shaving her and didn't really like being shaved at all. When she talked to other friends, both male and female, all her friends thought that it was weird. While they all understood trimming, they thought that it was going too far to ask a woman to shave it all off. A few of her friends remarked that a fully shaved woman would really look more like a prepubescent girl, and they didn't want to sleep with girls.

Growing up, I always shaved my legs and armpits and bikini line. I had never really thought to shave my pubic hair until I was with ex-J. He liked porn and, before me, those were the only girls he had ever seen naked. All porn chicks are either totally shaved or have a Brazilian wax and the rest is very trimmed. I tried to do that for him, but I didn't really like how it felt or looked. Later, when I told T about this, he said, "Why would a guy want his girlfriend to look like a porno star? He should want her to look like a real woman." But in ex-J's mind, that is what real women looked like.

Now I have a small but uninhibited group of lesbian friends. Last week, over Friday night drinks, we discussed this topic. They are all shaved and they all expect their lovers to be shaved as well. They even seemed a little offended at the notion that, just because they like completely shaved bushes, they maybe liked prepubescent girls. L's response was, "When I get done going down on a girl, I don't want to have to pick hair out of my teeth." I can definately understand where they are coming from on this topic. I have also realized that, to them, their identity as lesbians is completely about who they fuck (other women) and not about politics or feminism.

So, my question is--Should I make this decision based on practical matters? Political ideals? Or should I just wait until I get a lover and do whatever she likes?

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