Tag Archive | pubic hair

May – Claire Doyle

Visual Female of the Month for May is the fearless feminist, Claire Doyle. Claire is a multi-faceted artist from England whose work looks at gender and the body. This month I got to know more about the eloquent and passionate woman that is Claire Doyle. And you can too.

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Genital Panic

valie export

Valie Export’s photograph Action Pants: Genital Panic shows her sitting with genitals exposed while pointing a gun at the viewer. Export’s work draws attention to the ideas of phallic power and whether it truly comes from biology or can be attained otherwise. Export showcases her lack of penis by exposing her own vagina but reclaims the gun as her phallic object and power. It was rumoured that this photograph came after a live performance, where Export walked around people seated in a theatre, her vagina at their eye-level, and pointed a gun at them while offering sex until the theatre was empty. This imagery reminds me of the film Magic, Magic where, post-hypnotism, the female protagonist walks into the room of a man who has been sexually harassing her (verbally) and rubs her naked vagina in his face, all while being asleep. The woman has no recollection of events the next day and appears mortified when the man confronts her about it. This scene acts to remind us that such overt sexuality is not ‘acceptable’ in a woman with both male anger and female humiliation driving this. Export’s photograph works in the opposite way, purposefully pairing femininity with macho aggression (common in a lot of her work) to blur set gender boundaries.

Performance artist and photographer, Claire Doyle, recently paid homage to Export’s work in her performance piece Habitual Body Monitoring: The Costume. Doyle draws attention to female body hair through her performance which you can watch above. The acceptance and freedom of female body hair has been gaining support in recent years with other artists like Petra Collins and Rhiannon Scnhiederman springing to mind.

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weapon Rhiannon Schneiderman

Weapon

Liv Thurleys artwork, Weapon, is to die for… and almost in the literal sense. When I first saw this image I wasn’t aware of the materials used and just thought they were gimmicky underwear with rubber bristles sticking out to represent pubic hair. I thought this was pretty cool and how funny it would be to flash people when wearing these knickers. Upon research and discovering the wonderful Liv Thurley, I was pretty happy to discover that these were hundreds (?) of tiny pins – sharp end sticking out. Thus the title, Weapon, becomes even more true. As a woman, I know that vaginas are very much weapons – commonly used against us, but also able to be used by women as personal power and influence. Thurley explains she overheard a group of boys talking about how they would never sleep with a woman if she had pubic hair. Soon after, this brutal creation was formed.

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Rhiannon Schneiderman

I found Rhiannon Schneiderman‘s ‘Lady Mane’ series on The Ardorous (curated by Petra Collins) and fell in love with both the concept and execution. These amazing self-portraits reclaim pubic hair in a refreshing, beautiful manner. As women have fallen out with pubic hair, choosing to wax, shave, pluck and attempt anything for it to go away, I am happy to see a generation returning affection to the bush. Schneiderman’s series is all about empowerment, reclaiming femininity as a woman rather than adhering to male-approved versions. The series is powerful and highlights the hilarity of the modern-day emphasis given to make ones genitals fashionable. Each ‘lady mane’ is different and reminds us that, yes, it is okay to do whatever we want with out pubic hair. It is ours, nobody else should get a say. Here’s my four favourite pieces from the eight-part series. Enjoy x

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