Archive for January 15th, 2013

Pthirus pubis … at risk from ‘deforestation’

Yes, another creature is heading for extinction.

Hardly surprising, we hear this word so often, extinct this, nearly extinct that.

Big cats, polar bears, pandas and Javanese Rhinos, all have extinction looming over the horizon.

But…

Is there a creature whose demise we wouldn’t lament?

Are pubic lice in danger of extinction?

Some doctors have suggested that modern pubic-hair grooming practices, such as the Brazilian wax, are destroying the natural habitat of Pthirus pubis

Pthirus pubis … at risk from ‘deforestation’. Photograph: Alamy

Pity the poor pubic louse. Every few years, a story comes along predicting its demise, most recently a Bloomberg article that blames the increasing number of women – and men – who remove their pubic hair. Think of it as deforestation on a massive, global scale.

It wasn’t much different in 2006, when doctors Nicola Armstrong and Janet Wilson, two sexual health specialists, in a letter titled “Did the Brazilian kill the pubic louse?”, raised the possible link between the decreasing number of people coming to their clinics with public lice, and increase in the number with shaved, trimmed or waxed pubic hair. Where does this leave the woman who has so far resisted all patriarchal and capitalist pressures to wax her bits until they resemble a child’s, but would like to do her bit for parasite annihilation? Tricky.

 

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