My mom used to say “magnificence is ache.” She chanted the phrase as she combed knots out of my tender head whereas I writhed in ache between her thighs. Years later, I repeated that very same mantra to myself once I laid on the desk for my first Brazilian bikini wax, my vulva bared because the esthetician ripped hair from my pores till I bled.

I wound up on that desk as a result of everybody swore up and down that waxing was “the one factor that might do away with my ingrown hairs,” and promised it will harm much less the extra I did it. After my waxer ripped off the primary strip, although, I used to be able to bolt—It felt as if I used to be being stabbed by a thousand tiny needles. The ache felt like a hum of warmth over my vulva and pelvis, and harm a lot I could not even put my underwear again on.

For hundreds of years, girls have been conditioned to consider that magnificence ought to include a sure degree of struggling. All through historical past, we’ve repeatedly seen them sacrifice their consolation for the sake of what society deems stunning— drinking arsenic for the sake of clearer skin, swallowing tapeworms to lose weight, or using lead powder to cover up acne, to call a couple of examples. All of those practices have (understandably) fallen out of favor, but painful hair removing processes have stood the check of time.

Girls have been eradicating their pubic hair since ancient Egyptian times, after they used every little thing from flint stones to sugar paste to get the job accomplished. This set a normal that carried by means of to the Greek and Roman empires, the place hairless our bodies (which had been usually achieved by burning or tweezing particular person follicles) had been immortalized in stone, and has transcended into our trendy world. A 2016 study discovered that 84 p.c of ladies within the U.S. between 18 and 65 take away some or all of their pubic hair—and I can solely think about a lot of them repeating “magnificence is ache” on the waxing desk each 4 to 6 weeks, similar to I did.

But in keeping with dermatologists, there’s good motive to embrace “big bush energy,” regardless of what society could have you ever consider. “The hair that is in our armpits, groin, and legs is definitely evolutionarily serving its personal useful objective,” Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology, beforehand advised Well+Good. “Hair prevents pores and skin from irritation when it rubs in opposition to itself, defending from chaffing in lots of areas of our physique, particularly within the underarm space. Hair additionally prevents totally different pathogens from invading our physique, resembling within the pubic space.”

Fortunately, within the final decade, the painful dedication to being “naked down there” has—slowly, however absolutely—began to alter. In 2015, FUR launched a line of merchandise particularly designed to take care of pubic hair, and within the years since manufacturers like Bushbalm and Truly have adopted go well with with pubic-care choices of their very own. Simply this 12 months, razor model Billie just lately revealed a youngsters’s ebook titled A Kids Book About Body Hair (which got here on the heels of its 2018 “Project Body Hair” marketing campaign), and Venus launched its viral “Say Pubic” marketing campaign together with a line of pubic-care merchandise as a technique to destigmatize the dialog round girls’s physique hair.

The queer neighborhood—which was speaking about pubes lengthy earlier than they got here fashionable—has additionally helped push this motion ahead. Physique hair is central to gender expression, and LGBTQ+ celebs like Amandla Stenberg, Miley Cyrus, and Halsey have proudly showcased their physique hair in public. They’ve made it clear that struggling by means of a bikini wax (or some other type of hair removing) is fully as much as me.

“For years, as girls, now we have been conditioned to make decisions for our associate or what would make us extra engaging to another person,” says Angelica Sele, founding father of Angelica B Beauty, a body-hair optimistic salon in Los Angeles. “We wish to break the mould on the concept ‘magnificence is ache,’ [so that women] could make decisions primarily based on what they like. It’s excessive time for girls to cease residing in keeping with the wonder requirements of others.”

What you determine to do along with your physique hair is your alternative—however my singular expertise getting waxed made me determine as soon as and for all I’ll not subscribe to the concept “magnificence is ache.” Getting hair ripped out of my genitals for the sake of residing as much as a sure societal customary of magnificence? No thanks. As a result of when it comes proper right down to it, magnificence is who you’re—and that needs to be painless.