It’s a common meme these days that men liked women to shave the pubic area so they can look like little girls, but like many common memes it’s not factually correct. Over the long course of our evolution our behaviors were fixed to focus on reproductive potential. It’s easy to see that any organism unable to do this would be less successful in passing on its genes than other organisms that did better in this way, and so over time all members of the species have the genes that prompt individuals to look for markers of genetic fitness.

That’s why no one has ever made money selling strap-on sagging bellies or offering men penis reduction surgery, for example.

Why do women shave their legs? Is it because men want them to look like little girls? Why do women who are naturally hirsute wax their upper lips? Is it because The Patriarchy (whoever and wherever they are) has deemed the female mustache to be a threat to male dominance?

No. Women do these things in order to be attractive to men because they’re hardwired to want to be attractive to potential mates (even if, consciously, they have no desire for such an arrangement). Men, meanwhile, are equally hardwired to look for signals of fecundity. A hairy woman, back in the days of our ancestors who lived far shorter and far harder lives than we do today, would have been a woman whose fertile years were either coming to a close or already over. And so men are hardwired to look for that combination of smooth skin plus developed breasts because that indicates a female with strong reproductive potential.

Now here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter what we choose to think about this. Nature doesn’t care about our transiently fashionable beliefs, about political correctness, or any of our other mythologies. Nature is non-teleological, non-sentient, non-moral. It’s just a function of which genes provide some advantage in the never-ending struggle that is life for most organisms on the planet.

So bare pubic areas are neither new (people have been depilating since before the ancient Greeks 2,500 years ago) nor a sign of emotional immaturity in men. They’re just one more example of a wide range of grooming behaviors we all perform in order to increase our mating potential, even if — as is often the case — we don’t want to mate with anyone right now anyway.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.