The Veet ad that has been causing controversy over the past few days was pulled yesterday, with the depilatory cream company issuing a statement that did little except throw further fuel to fire. Commenting that most consumers had found the ad “wacky and entertaining”, the company seemed to put fault on the Mary Whitehouses who objected to it, saying they’d simply taken it up the wrong way – “We are very concerned by any misinterpretation of its tone or meaning, and in the light of the feedback received we have decided to withdraw it.”
The ‘Dudeness’ ad sparked uproar, drawing attention to an issue that often gets brushed aside, that of women and body hair. Many of the comments and articles spoke of a sense of outrage at being reminded unnecessarily of feelings of shame around their natural female bodies. In IMAGE HQ the ad was generally considered distasteful. Eve Wiseman in The Guardian spoke of the ad reinforcing women’s natural inclination towards self-hatred, which already forces them to spend hours on the herculean effort to remove as much hair as possible in order to achieve smoothness.
But as the debate rages, a new school of thought in hair-removal has already been gathering adherents, as it favours a return to a fuller au naturel look. For a long time now, trends in hair removal have leaned towards a form of hairlessness that takes inspiration from porn. For anyone unfamiliar with waxing, there are a variety of options available to the punter from Californias, which see very diminished ‘landing strip with a trim ‘underneath’, whilst Brazilians consist in the landing strip, minus anything underneath, and Hollywoods subscribe to a total minus and hairlessness of the southern regions. Now a fourth option for those eager to give up on this tyranny of hairlessness offers itself – the Hairywood. The Hairywood is much like a Brazilian except it consists of a fuller bush and has been described as “hippy in the front, porn underneath.” Whilst the description may sound rather unappealing, nay offensive, it sounds like it is set to become a fixture. Celebrities such as Gwyneth and Cameron among others, have already stated publicly that they have abandoned the noughties’ obsessive hairless fetish, in favour of a fuller existence. Every hair must have its day.
Aside: The Good Taste Bad Taste panel we had the good fortune to catch at this year’s Vogue Festival, consisted of Lily Allen, Jasper Conran, and Grayson Perry bandying opinions around a plethora of divisive subjects. Hair removal inevitably cropped up, particularly with ref to armpit hair. Lily came out in favour of a more hairy future, and even went so far as to discuss her habits when it comes to downstairs maintenance. In other hair news, Madonna last week posted an image of her undepilated armpits on her Instagram with the catchy little phrase “Long Hair….Don’t Care! #artforfreedom”
Roisin Agnew @Roxeenna