Pubic Hair & Market Totalitarianism

If you’ve been fortunate enough to see — one way or another — much private anatomy in recent years, you’ll be aware that we live in an age of de rigueur pubic (that’s p-u-b-i-c, not p-u-b-L-i-c) shaving. Supposedly edgy and hip rather than creepy and infantilizing, this practice is truly rampant, from what I’ve (ahem) seen.

How hip and independent is it, really, though, to shave your junk?

Not so much. Not so much at all.

Take a look at this viral marketing video from the Gillette Corporation.

Note the instructions to “make sure” to use shaving cream not soap, the very latest 5-blade razor (one wonders where this bit of the marketing race will end — 57 blades?), and, of course “moisturizer” (the substance formerly known as “lotion”). All these just happen to be products made by Gillette, so what might a rational soul make of its chummy, flattering, “hip” shaving “advice”?

The real story, of course, is that the existence of body hair has now become a great marketing vehicle for the shareholding class, complete with the standard tools of big business marketing: false promises (larger penises and more “fun” will result for those who do as they’re programmed to do by Gillette and the “viral” “culture” it is sponsoring) and threats (if you don’t use the newest Gillette Fusion razor, you might shave off your vitals).

As in so many areas, all this speaks to our howling need to make the 2010s into a new and improved 1960s.

Along the way, why not lose the shave-bot programming and the sponsored pseudo-hipsterism? Why not lose the chains of corporate babydom and cull the living, hairy, grown-up flower?

Michael Dawson is author of The Consumer Trap: Big Business Marketing in American Life (2004). He is the publisher of the blog The Consumer Trap, which aims to expose capitalism, marketing and market totalitarianism. Read other articles by Michael, or visit Michael's website.