Title

Pubic Hair Removal Practices in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-14-2018

Publication Title

Cross-Cultural Research

First page number:

1

Last page number:

23

Abstract

The literature on pubic hair removal (PHR) practices primarily focuses on women in Western societies and attributes recent increases in PHR to product marketing, pornography, and pop culture. Here, we explore PHR and retention practices outside the cultural West through content coding of societies in the Human Relations Area Files’ database, eHRAF World Cultures. Thirty-one societies noted distinct PHR or retention practices. Descriptive data on 72 societies provided additional context to the perception of pubic hair and reasons for its removal or retention. Results indicate that women practice PHR more commonly than men cross-culturally and practices are often tied to concerns about hygiene and sexual activity. Findings show that some features of PHR cross-culturally resemble those of the cultural West in which these practices have been best characterized, though these practices cannot be attributed to the same suite of factors such as exposure to pornography or product marketing. We interpret these findings within cross-cultural and evolutionary perspectives.

Keywords

Pubic hair; Pubic hair removal; Hygiene; Cross-cultural; Secondary sexual characteristics

Disciplines

Social and Cultural Anthropology

Language

English

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