tv

This scene from Normal People finally shows what a woman in 2020 with pubic hair looks like.

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Stan’s new TV show Normal People. It also contains the image of a woman with pubic hair, so click away if either of these things aren’t for you.

Normal People is, without question, the best thing I’ve watched in isolation so far. And I’ve watched a lot of TV over the last several weeks.

The highly-anticipated small screen adaptation of Sally Rooney’s New York Times best-selling book of the same name, launched on streaming service Stan on April 27, and already, audiences are far more emotionally invested than is reasonable.

Take a look at the trailer for Normal People, now streaming on Stan. Post continues after video.

Video by Stan

Normal People covers a topic pop culture is familiar with, teenage love. Only, it’s done in a way that isn’t fluffy, sugary or cringeworthy in the slightest.

The story follows Irish teens Connell (newcomer Paul Mescal) and Marianne (Cold Feet star Daisy Edgar-Jones), whose slow-burn relationship stops and starts through high school and into university. (You can read Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik’s brilliant review of Normal People here).

From how the series portrays an emotionally vulnerable male character to what consensual sex looks like, there are a lot of things to like about Normal People. There are also some things we haven’t seen from a TV series about young love before, or in quite the same way.

For starters, there are the sex scenes, which are so sensual, The Cut recommend watching them alone, with a vibrator. As it is in the book, sex is a huge part of Connell and Marianne’s on-screen relationship, and features heavily in almost every episode.

normal people
Sex is a huge part of Sally Rooney's book, Normal People. Image: Stan.
ADVERTISEMENT

But what struck me more than the frequent, yet balanced, nudity, was a scene in which the audience sees Marianne's pubic hair. Or more accurately, the simple fact she has any at all.

Pubic hair is a deeply personal topic and every individual has the choice to do with theirs what they like. In mainstream TV and film, we're used to seeing women with one style of pubic hair: none. And if we do see a bush, it belongs to a conventionally unattractive woman, a woman 'of a certain age' or from a different time.

For a deeper dive on Normal People, listen to this episode of The Spill.

On the contrary, not all women prefer to remove their pubic hair in 2020. This much was clear when we asked 52 women to draw their pubic hair for a previous article on Mamamia. What came back was 52 drawings displaying full bushes, patchy regrowth, ingrown hairs, landing strips and Brazilian waxes.

It's for this reason I found the decision to show Marianne with visible pubic hair - which would have been a deliberate decision - refreshing. Even if it was unexpected.

The scene in question is shown in the sixth episode of the 12-part series. Before spending the weekend apart, Connell asks Marianne if she would feel comfortable taking a nude photo of herself for him, which he'll later delete for her privacy. She says yes, and does so from her childhood bedroom while visiting her family back home.

Using only the light from her lamp, Marianne removes her bathrobe and takes a selfie of her body, which has pubic hair.

Image: Stan.
ADVERTISEMENT
normal people
Image: Stan.

It's not a long scene, but when I watched it, I noticed how Marianne's pubes were just... there. A part of her body, not an accessory or a device to attract or serve someone else.

The sequence of shots isn't gratuitous or overly sexualised. It's just a woman trying to find the most flattering light and angle for a nude photo of herself for her partner. Which is as unsexy as it sounds.

When she opened her robe and we saw her body, the bush genuinely caught me off guard because I'm so used to seeing young women on screen without a single hair anywhere, let alone on their pubic bone. Even leading up to the scene, I wondered what kind of pubic hair Marianne would have - I assumed we'd see it eventually given the level of nudity in the series, but I didn't expect it to look so, well, normal.

It's worth acknowledging the same treatment is used for Connell's full frontal nudity scenes. Rather than zooming in or panning down to show his penis, his body is displayed like anyone's would be laying in bed, catching their breath after sex. His pubic hair isn't meticulously trimmed, either. Because grooming your pubic hair is an effort and sometimes, you just can't be bothered.

Even though the appearances of pubic hair in Normal People are fleeting - we only see Marianne's once - it's enough to show there's more than one way for a young person to keep theirs.

Whether it's to your taste or not, it's just hair, after all.

Feature image: Stan.

What did you think of Normal People? tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

00:00 / ???