I know some people have been posting this project today and expressing admiration, but honestly? I just find it incredibly boring. Not only are almost all of the models conventionally attractive outside of their supposedly unusual underarm hair, but I’m just tired of this ‘challenge traditional beauty standards’ malarkey. Surely women have to have higher aims than being ‘allowed’ to be considered beautiful?
Admittedly, I am exposed to numerous women who freely grow their body hair and seeing it is neither here nor there for me.
But for goodness sake - can we stop training the camera lens on women and pretending that all it takes to challenge beauty’s ritual of objectification is to create a larger sample of those considered ‘good enough’ to be objectified? Especially in cases like this when such supposedly transgressive artistry is being claimed by a guy whose entire catalogue of subjects conforms to a pretty typical standard of attractiveness.
Jesus, if you want to see amazing, subversive photographs of women with hairy pits who are also in control of how those images are presented, all you have to do is run a cursory search on Tumblr. This stuff isn’t new, and celebrating it as if it is doesn’t just reinforce some pretty damaging ideas about the commodification of women’s bodies, it also once again praises the work of a man as original when he’s actually doing nothing more than stealing from women who have been saying this stuff (and creating art about it) for years, and in far more interesting and confronting ways.
Hopper argues that women shouldn’t be told what defines beauty (even while the narrow catalogue of his work seems to do exactly that), and that’s true - but nor should we be fooled into thinking that being considered beautiful is one of the greatest gifts the world has to offer us. We have to want more than the reassurance that our bodies and the way we look when we walk through the world are acceptable and pleasing to an outsider’s gaze.
Otherwise, what exactly is it we’re fighting for?