Coming from a standard of a landing strip and hairless everything else, even as I rebelled in other ways (like shaving my head skin bald) I have rarely left my body hair growth in a natural state. I’ve gone from trimming to shaving to brazillians to doing my own waxes; an intense and weird sensual pain ritual where I’d spend an hour+ doped up on vicoden spread in front of a mirror with resin wax, watching my skin get red and angry and blood spotted and, somehow, more desirable. Even to myself.
It’s still a bit hot to think about the orgasms I had after doing that to myself, a strange bonding ritual I had with my role as a sex symbol and pleasure producer for others, after systematically and painstakingly ripping my own hair out. As I’ve moved away from.. that, and expanded my perspective, advocating for other women’s hairy freedom, and such moved away from my judgements of other woman and their own images of hair, I had still managed to retain this idea that I was hideous how I am, having not shaved or ripped out a damn thing on my body in nearly a year.
I’ve retained the idea that I’m probably going to have a hard time, when I’m ready, hooking up with someone who isn’t going to freak out that I have hair in my ass crack (unless of course they’re completely unkept and incredibly unattractive to ME). Someone who isn’t going to judge my body and want it to be and look like something else, who isn’t going to refuse to interact with my nipples because I’ve got aureola hairs.
I’ve retained the idea that I’m giving up being desirable, giving up connection, in order to stick it to The Man and just be. That there was no way to dress this up, no way to avoid this in-your-face medusa clam taint I have now, this wretched hairy curse of a body; as opposed to the tiny pink hairless one I used to torture myself to get.
The pictures from this shoot are ridiculous, not because of what they are, but because of what I thought they would be. I expected the images I took last weekend to be utterly about the hair. I expected it to dominate, to be the only thing that a retained focus around the makeup and the clothes. That was the juxtaposition I expected — The concept was ‘let me go ahead and get pretty for you’, and the point was that no amount of ritualized beautification was actually going to accomplish that.
I don’t know what the fuck I was actually thinking. I saw the raw images and my first thought was, wow, my hair isn’t really very impressive. And then I thought.. why the fuck did I ever think it would be? How many feminist images have I seen where I didn’t give bush or leghair a second thought at this point in my life? Why did I think I was different?
Conditioning, that’s why. I’m also struck with how deeply, fundamentally below-surface conditioned I still am to conform, to be small and sassy (but ultimately agreeable), to be pretty and tight and hairless, to be the fantasy I know I’m capable of, and am very well versed at being, if I want to really honestly be valued for my sexuality. How deeply conditioned I am to distance, to divorce myself from my womanhood being my connection to the life and the universe and everything, and to reduce it to being pretty and fuckable.
At the same time I shake my head remembering my little naive 20something white feminist self, where growing my pit hair for like a month was a STATEMENT, the biggest revolution ever. Knowing what I know about what Black feminists are fighting for, I really can’t help but chuckle over how frivolous this all is, how patriarchal conditioning intersecting with white privilege makes the stupidest shit seem so important.
But, to me, this was important. The shoot has caused and will continue to cause me to contemplate my identification with the societal brainwashings I’ve written about so often, from the perspective of a person who deeply hates the unattainable beauty standard that’s constantly placed upon us, but who can embody it with an ease that, frankly, when I’m honest about it, fucking disturbs me.
So, I gave myself a tree penis. Or, something. Cause for some reason that made sense.
Buy the leggings I’m wearing/designed, which say “I poop on rape culture”, at http://shop.bombsheller.com/products/pooponrape