The worship of the female genitalia is a timeless one.
The ancient symbol for the goddess was a butterfly representing the vulva.
Where did it all start and what does it mean today?
There is a well published theory that every baby begins as a female. The human embryo in its first 8 weeks, is an “indifferent creature” with the potential to be either gender. That’s when the Y chromosome comes in, creating a change to the male form.
The clitoris and penis are essentially the same organ, formed from the same tissue.
The labia majora and scrotum have a similar position, relation and structure. In the male body, “the two lips simply grow longer, fold over the midline, forming the scrotal sac.”
Yes, that means Adam came second, formed out of Eve!
A Quick Look Back at the First Pubic Hair
Back in the times of cavemen, we needed pubic hair for protection and pheromone scent. No-one wore underwear and everyone may well literally have had ants in their non-existent pants.
Let’s sweep that back under the bear skin rug and fast forward to modern civilisation, and the appearance of the bare skin movement!
The fate of pubic hair has had a tangled story throughout history.
The practice of removing female body hair can be traced back to ancient Greek, Rome and Egypt. This is when pubic hair was removed in the name of beauty. They considered pubic hair as “uncivilised”.
The Egyptians of Cleopatra’s time used a sugar mixture for hair removal similar to modern day waxing. Wealthy Romans in the sixth century BC viewed pubic hair as low-class. They used everything from pumice stones, tweezers and depilatories to achieve complete hairlessness.
The Continuation of Hair Removal
Throughout the Middle Ages, women were still getting rid of body hair with a particular focus on pubic hair removal.
The philosophy was to associate hair removal with staying or recapturing one’s youth and as an attempt to maintain an air of purity and chastity. There was also the theory that women removed their pubic hair to prevent or remove the dangers of pubic lice.
By the 14th Century, the issue of pubic hair turned on its head and some women were shaving their pubic area only to then don a fluffed pubic hairpiece/wig called a ‘merkin’. Rather than a decorative device, this was apparently used to hide the unsightly sores that came with gonorrhoea and syphilis.
By the Elizabethan era, there was little to no mention of body hair, though the Queen herself did popularise the trend of plucking her eyebrows and hairline. A deep forehead was a sign of nobility.
The first signs of razors for hair trimming came around the 1840’s. There was also the use of a plaster mixture spread over a leather strap to remove unwanted body hair which proved popular.
The Hair Removal Ways of the Modern Day
With the changing fashions of the early 1900’s and the display of exposed limbs brought the social pressure for women to shave their armpits and legs.
The Gillette company launched an anti-underarm hair campaign in 1915. With the first safety razor specifically made for women, Gillette ads urged them to remove ‘unsightly’ and ‘objectionable hair’ from their bodies with a particular focus on their underarms.
The wartime shortage of nylon in the 1940’s meant women couldn’t wear stockings every day. This meant having to go bare legged. What started as a fad, soon became a custom and one that continued for years to come.
The Uptake of Waxing Downstairs
There was one significant fashion item that led to a huge uptake in women trimming their pubic hair.
In 1946, the bikini was created and soon enough it became the iconic beachwear item.
This was soon followed by the advent of mini skirts in the 1960’s, which led to women routinely shaving their legs. There was a turn away from the pubic area because some men were suspicious of a woman without pubic hair.
With the move to less clothing of the times came the need for less female hair.
The ideal of a hairless female body was shunned by the feminists of the 1960’s. There was a movement to leave any body hair alone and embrace it. This campaign however, was short lived.
It's Brazilian Time
The Brazilian wax hit the mainstream in 1987 mainly through simple word of mouth.
This was already popular in Brazil where beaches boasted swimsuits which were little more than dental-floss.
Then came the famous scene in Sex And The City around 2000, even Carrie Bradshaw gets one! There was a growing demand for this special wax treatment.
Brazilian Butterfly opened its wings in 2002. Founder, Tanya Farrar “wanted to make Brazilian waxing mainstream”, leaving its somewhat seedy image behind. The idea was to establish it as just another beauty treatment that helps women feel more confident and comfortable about that hidden part of their natural body, taking it out from under the covers.
The most popular Brazilian waxing was the landing strip where everything is waxed; the labia, including the bottom and where a small strip is left on top of the pubic bone.
The Age of the Brazilian Revolution
At Brazilian Butterfly, we designed 6 shapes which included;
- the heart,
- the star,
- the moon,
- the dollar sign,
- the lightning bolt
Initially, we would bleach and colour the pubic hair in crazy colours, then create the shape with our special stencil design template.
Then came the Vjazzle or BB Jazzle and the sparkly VJs.
After waxing off all pubic hair, small diamante stones were adhered to the pubic bone for decorative effect (or even for flashing your ‘bits’ at parties).
After years of removing all the pubic hair by waxing and with the introduction of laser and IPL hair removal systems, pubic hair is in sparse and short supply.
The most popular wax is now all off! A reclamation has occurred.
Where to next? Vajacial anyone?