an exercise in miscellany

Merkin

In wild card on December 13, 2011 at 9:31 am

A merkin (first use 1617) is a pubic wig. Merkins were originally worn by prostitutes after shaving their genitalia, and are now used as decorative items, erotic devices, or in films, by both men and women. In Hollywood film making, merkins are worn by actors and actresses to prevent inadvertent exposure of the genitalia during nude or semi-nude scenes. If a merkin were not worn, it would be necessary to restrict the shot to exclude the genital area; with the merkin in place, brief flashes of the crotch can be used if necessary. The presence of the merkin protects the actor from inadvertently performing ‘full-frontal’ nudity – some contracts specifically require that nipples and genitals be covered in some way – which can help ensure that the film achieves a less restrictive MPAA rating.

via Merkin

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