Interpretations of a Feminine Agency

In late December, I was in conversation with my friend, Amanda, about body hair and beauty standards. She'd forgotten her razor at home over Thanksgiving break, and hadn't shaved since. One Friday night, she was preparing to go out, which included applying makeup, styling her hair, and selecting an outfit. She picked a sleeveless top and was met with looks of disgust and nasty comments when others noticed the hair underneath her arms. Until this point, she hadn’t thought twice about this body hair. Many women put in so much effortmuch of which goes unnoticed but is nonetheless expectedto conform to gender norms. As evident by the looks and comments she received that night, visible body hair on women is still perceived as lazy, gross, and unkempt. 

In this series, the relationship between feminine beauty standards and body hair is explored. I chose to photograph her as she was on that same night when her underarms received negative attention. For decades, the Western world has told women to remove their body hair. Something that should be a personal choice has been made into an expectation, and those who don’t meet those expectations are meant to feel ashamed about their bodies. All aspects of the female body should be accepted and celebrated. Body hair is natural and beautiful. 

Photographed by Kayla Smith

Modeled by Amanda Weiss

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