A little excerpt from a conversaion between Andy and myself
A: I'm not quite sure how it'll look once it's done but I'm planning on making work using long human hair. I find attitudes towards hair have some parallels with society's views towards women. Hair has obvious connotations of fertility, femininity and life. When it is attached to the head it is admired, adored and envied. The praise, attention and attraction only apply when the hair is still attached. Once it has become detached from the head people's attitudes towards it change dramatically to one of repulsion and baulking. This shift from desire to disgust is not dissimilar to the attitudes towards women once they move outside of a sphere society has claimed to be "acceptable". This is inclusive of identifying as a "feminist", or expressing ideas, objections or opinions that differ from that of the patriarchal society.
I am trying to make a work that is visually simplified so that the viewer can focus on the materiality and experience their own reaction.
G: I think once it's not on your head, like for example body hair is a massive thing also. I mean I'm not fussed by it but I still find myself waxing my legs even though I can't afford it sometimes. Every time I do it I'm like, who am I doing this for? I find it so strange that men and women both have hair growing all over their bodies and always have, yet why is hair on a women's body looked at differently than on a mans? It's designed to keep us warm. Are we warm already therefore we (women) remove it? And why are people judged so harshly if they so choose to keep their body hair?
A: Exactly my thoughts. Why does the idea of armpit hair repulse me? I see it on other women and I'm all "YEAH! EMPOWERMENT! DO WHAT YOU WANT! ANSWER TO NO ONE YEAAAH" but then I look at my own and recoil and try to get rid of it quick smart. And isn't it interesting how hair has become an identifier of feminism? It has almost become a costume or uniform of feminists, particularly in the 90's, but does that make a hair-less feminist less authentic? Isn't the purpose of feminism freedom of choice and an unapologetic attitude for one's decisions regarding their own body and behaviour? The policing of hair from both ends if a curious phenomenon.
G: But how interesting that when women shave their heads that it is so confronting to people too! Instead of a symbol of control and power its usually considered to be threatening and confusing for people.