These students created a film to eliminate the stigma around girls’ pubic hair

It’s called ‘how do you shape your bush’

Two female students have tackled one of society’s last taboos with a survey of girls’ pubic hair preferences.

Alex Heal and Jess Sartenaer decided to quiz others about their personal designs after chatting about the topic with friends. After some initial giggles the women bared-all by drawing pictures of their choice on a whiteboard for the video entitled ‘How Do You Shape Your Bush?’

The majority said they preferred a Hollywood – the removal of all hair – or a Brazilian – the removal of all but a strip of public hair. Only one student said she kept hers natural shape, preferring just to “give it a little trim”. All the women said they based their hairstyle on their own preferences, but many admitted that they also consider the opinions of sexual partners.

One said: “I usually go for a nice neat little landing strip.” Another added: “I think of it as a nice little decorative piece on my bare naked body.”

But some voiced worries over the porn industry forcing their choices. One girl said: “The porn industry does alter thoughts on women’s view on women. There’s an expectation from guys that there will be only a little bit of hair there.”

The students produced the three-minute video for Bristol University TV channel UBTV by filming women on their preferences In their university library. Alex, a final year Politics and French student and co-head of women’s interest for UBTV, said: “The idea came about when my fellow head of women’s interest, Jess Sartenaer, and I were chatting with one of our friends who was complaining about how painful, expensive and inconvenient she finds waxing.

“It got us thinking about the reasons why we put ourselves through this and started wondering if other women felt the same way. We both feel it is vital that the media addresses topics which have previously been seen as taboo. It’s so empowering to see the women on the film talking about their pubic hair with such confidence and assurance.

“We really want to prompt women to step back and take away social expectations and think about what they want to do with their pubic hair. And the more we do that the more we as a society promote a healthy attitude to our bodies.”

Jess, a final-year Law and French student, added: “I personally was surprised by how many women said they prefer the Hollywood style, but that is just because of my personal preferences. When I think about it objectively, I guess it’s not a shock.

“I brought up the topic with my mum and she said that hair removal was completely unheard of 30 or 40 years ago and it really hit home how much of a new phenomenon it is. I believe that the full clean shaven look was first used in porn films so you could see more.

“But slowly it has moved in to a statement of beauty, and for many young men and women it is what they expect. There’s no malice in this expectation, but this idea of hairlessness is being subconsciously picked up by young people who watch porn and use it as their introduction to sex. I’m sure if we were to ask teenage girls about their pubic hair preferences, the majority would chose Hollywood.

“But then again, that is not to say that all women who choose to remove their pubic hair do so because of social expectations. As we saw during filming, several said they prefer it because it feels cleaner and is easy to maintain.”

The filmmakers, both in their final year of study, are planning a series of short films next year on other topics including slut shaming and body confidence.