"Well nobody wants to see a hairy fanny do they?": Exploring the everyday narratives of young women's perceptions and practices around genital appearance and sexual identities

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


With the rising use of social media and in particular the visual elements of 'selfies' by young adults, recent research has explored the ways in which images of the female body are scrutinised and stigmatised if non-conformity towards an idealised body image is apparent (Chrisler, 2011). This current trend of social media surveillance and self-regulation has led to recent moves towards young females removing their pubic hair with clinicans claiming that it is now unusual to examine a female under the age of 30 years who still has pubic hair (Braun, Tricklebank & Clarke, 2013; Riddell, Varto & Hodgson, 2010). These are ways in which the intimate appearances of genitalia become enveloped within everyday life. This qualitative research uses one-to-one, semi-structured interviews analysed using a discursive analysis with females ageed 18 to 30 years old, with differing sexual orientations to explore their own perceptions and practices of this particular grooming regime. This research is still in progress at this time but initial findings suggest that participants predominantly cite the removal of pubic hair as a hygienic issue together with narratives of non-shaving resulting in a lessening of sexual activity (this can take the form of self-monitoring whereby not having shaved before a night out will stem sexual activity together with partners’ (either male or female) influencing shaving behaviours by refusing to have oral sex if the vaginal area is not fully shaved. All participants cite pornography and the media (television programmes such as Geordie Shore) as being instrumental in this trend.
Period21 May 2015
Event titleRoles: A Gender and Sexuality Forum 5th Annual Conference
Event typeConference
LocationBirmingham, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational