THE BODY HAIR mania continues. By now, you’ve probably heard about eyebrow transplants — that strange, fairly invasive, quite expensive (yet admittedly pretty effective) way to fake your way to Cara Delevingne — and now, Taylor Swift — brows. If you haven’t, that’s totally a thing. But the fun with body hair transplants isn’t stopping there, apparently. These days, women in Korea are getting the treatment done to ample up their South-Korean-of-the-border bushes. That’s right, pubic hair transplants!
In the United States, the sheer number of salons and beauty aestheticians offering all kinds of waxes and depilations suggests that we have an aversion to pubic hair: hair today, gone… today (and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next). No carpets in the USA — (mostly, if you like just a little) smooth floors all the way. In Korea, on the other hand, pubic hair is seen as a sign of sexual health and fertility, which is understandable, even if the notion is aesthetically foreign to most people. After all, pubic hair does grow during puberty and signals that you’re physically and hormonally an adult — or at least on your way to being one. No matter how early that puberty is starting these days.
While people choose to showcase their sexual health in a number of different ways, in Korea, where an ample crop of pubic hair has come to mean what a bountiful bosom, large muscles or a pert booty might mean to some in the West, some Korean women have been struggling with feelings of inferiority after comparing themselves to their compatriots. According to the Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors, 10% of Korean women have a disorder called “pubic atrichosis,” which is, of course, characterized by a low amount of pubes. Many of these women suffer psychological stress from this and, taking matters into their own hands, have started to do something about it.
The transplant procedure costs about $2,000 and takes a couple sessions for the hair to take root. Technically what happens is they cut off a piece of your scalp and transplant the hair follicles where you desire the new hair growth. With the eyebrow version, the transplanted hair will all fall out and then start to grow back in on its own time. According to one hair restoration clinic, in Korea the most popular styles for pubic hair transplants are the “shield” and “fan” shapes. (In for a penny, in for a pube — might as well make it fancy!) A whopping 87% of women go with one of those shapes, so consistency seems like a pretty big theme here.
The majority of this trend is taking place in other countries, but it’s fully available to people in the U.S. as well. A quick trip to many hair restorative websites will list pubic hair transplants under unique processes with promises of restoring hair coverage resulting from natural causes of hair loss to excessive waxing over the years.
The interesting thing about this phenomenon is that it seems that most of the women are doing it to keep up with the perceived aesthetic choices of other women, not necessarily to meet the desires of their boo-thangs. Because when you spend a lot of time in a same-gender sauna or bathhouse, which many people of different cultures — Koreans included, who call it a jjimjjilbang — do on a regular basis to relax and socialize, you tend to check out the competition. A few voices have been claiming that these Korean women have the right idea, that going au natural removes the costly pressures and hassles of having to conform to imposed cultural standards of beauty. It’s important to remember, however, that they’re still conforming to these kinds of standards — just on the other side of the spectrum — and going to extreme lengths to do so.
Newsflash — it’s your vagina. You can dress it up or dress it down however you want to, and it will still be the same vagina it’s always been, so you should do what feels natural (or not), because it doesn’t matter in the long-run when it comes your reproductive health or ability to experience sexual pleasure. Since that’s much easier said than done, apparently, at least you can feel fairly confident that the next time you catch that girl at the bar eying your shapely legs with a cutthroat gleam in her eyes, she’s guessing how many calf raises you did that week and not evaluating how you’ve chosen to landscape your secret garden.
Image Credit: Kelly Povo