This Is Real Science: Pubic Lice Populations Endangered by Brazilian Bikini Waxes
4:30 pm, January 14th | by Colette McIntyre
As the popularity of Brazilian waxes and other hair-removal procedures increase, pubic lice (also known as crab lice) populations are diminishing. To the scientists who have had to explain to their mothers/labmates/bar hotties that they spend their time researching crabs and waxing trends: thank you and we’re sorry.
As reported by Bloomberg News, crab lice, the insects that lay their eggs on pubic hair and have inspired many the furious scratch, are disappearing. “Pubic grooming has led to a severe depletion of crab louse populations,” said Ian F. Burgess, a British medical entomologist. “Add to that other aspects of body hair depilation, and you can see an environmental disaster in the making for this species.”
When women (and men!) shave, trim, and wax their pubic hair, they are inadvertently interrupting the pubic lice’s breeding cycle and destroying their natural habit. Pubic lice are now becoming an endangered species. Yes, really: a health clinic in Sydney, Australia, hasn’t reported a woman with pubic lice since 2008 and male cases have fallen 80 percent; English doctors have been noticing a drop in pubic lice cases as other sexually transmitted infections increase for about ten years. Researchers are explaining the reducing population by pointing to the upswing in genital grooming — a report released by Kenyon College found that a majority of college men and women in the U.S. and Australia remove all or part of their pubic hair and a 2005 study found that 99 percent of pubescent British women engage in hair removal.
“It’s like a freedom,” said Jonice Padilha, one of the Brazilian sisters behind the famous J Sisters salon. “When we started the salon 26 years ago, we never thought it would be a success.” Saying J Sisters is a success is an understatement — the salon was a catalyst for the now-global waxing trend and presently sees about 200 clients a day. The outstanding success of the Brazilian-industrial complex has us wondering who exactly is funding all this hair removal research: the J Sisters themselves; the nation of Brazil; Maxim MAGAZINE?! Don’t stop asking questions, sisters! The pubic louse is just collateral in misogyny’s war against body hair!
Yet with pubic lice being one of the world’s most contagious sexually transmitted infections, this would be one case of diminished biodiversity that I won’t mourn. Who knows; in the near future, our favorite television programs may be interrupted by commercials featuring black and white crotch shots and still photos of bugs with frowning faces, a sad Sarah McLachlan song playing in the background.
[H/t The Raw Story]
[Photo via Shutterstock]