Designers’ bodies
Women and body hair in contemporary art and advertising
in The last taboo
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In recent years, contemporary artists have been increasingly devoting attention to human hair, and specifically to body hair. When it comes to picturing and representing female bodies, often even the most radical and iconoclastic artworks can be seen as reproducing the same ideal criteria that have their roots in centuries of visual representation, sexual aesthetics and patriarchal ideology. This chapter analyses some examples of images of female bodies with body hair – both in advertising and in contemporary art. It examines the way in which such images might endorse or indeed try to expose the taboo of body hair and the different representations and constructions of female bodies across the diversity of Western cultures. First, the chapter compares two images used in recent advertisement campaigns with Mixed Metaphors (1993), a painting by the artist Dottie Attie. These three images share a common concern with the female body and its hair, and all depict female genitals with pubic hair or a semblance thereof.

The last taboo

Women and body hair

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