After reading this article that talks about American Apparel’s new mannequins with visible pubic hair, the idea of natural beauty has become clearer. To begin, natural beauty does include hair on the body. Dating back to when artists sculpted the female body they eliminated all pubic hair. It seems as though these artists, predominantly male, not only sculpted female bodies in celebration of their beauty but also wanted to create this imagined perfect female form, which of course does not exist naturally. Apparently, a perfect female body has no hair, which is ridiculous because if natural beauty is being celebrated than everything should be included.
That being said, these sculptures may have had a bigger impact on society today than imaginable. A beautiful body for woman is still regarded as hairless, requiring woman and young girls to shave their armpits, pubic bone, legs, and even arms. This article raises the awareness around this idea that woman are suppose to look the way men want them to look and that women have become so accustomed to these ways of life, booking wax appointments and such, that they do not think about whether or not, after all the time and money, it is even worth it. Are they happier? Do they feel prettier? The answers to these questions come directly from the male’s response. Basically what comes out of this male dominance, is that woman feel prettier and happier and men are attracted to them and given them attention. Woman, in order to feel truly beautiful, must stop looking for external acceptance and look within.
So why are people so shocked by these images? The reason being is that the public has never seen them before. Pubic hair is completely natural. The only issue, however, that comes up is that this is a very private part of the human body. It is personal and not meant to be shown to the public. It is understandable that the message being made is about free will and body modification, but are there other ways to demonstrate the same message that are less invasive? Is such a shocking image the only way to see effective change in the way people perceive their bodies? It would interesting to go further into other possible campaigns that would highlight the issue of what society considers as natural beauty and body modifications that individuals choose to make. However, would they be as effective?
Regardless of whether or not famous sculptors depicted female bodies without hair intentionally to stir up such controversy around natural beauty, it is clear that men have a history of envisioning a woman with a man’s idea of the perfect body. The controversy that arises from this is that it has become natural for man and woman to want to appeal to the other sex, which of course is an extremely natural thing and there is nothing wrong with it. The problem with this relationship, however, is that what women do to make men attracted to them is completely unfair. Women undergo unnatural alterations of making themselves “attractive”, to fit this man-made image of sexy, by highlighting their hair, getting eyelash extensions, and getting breast implants, only to name a few of the transformations. Moving forward, it is important that woman start creating their own definitions of sexy and beautiful so that the alterations, if any, that they choose to undergo (because it is their body and therefore their choice) are to be made for their happiness and not for men.
That being said, how do women create their own definitions? The introduction of American Apparel mannequins with pubic hair is an excellent way. The image is shocking and so is the idea of it all, however, the shock factor is necessary to see rapid change. It is less about the mannequins and more about the awareness they bring to the idea of natural beauty and female agency. Gaining awareness around an issue can be tricky but shocking people and stirring up conversation among individuals and the media is an effective tactic. These hairy mannequins highlight the idea of individual choice and free will to do whatever one pleases with their own body. American Apparel celebrates this change in opportunity for woman to feel beautiful in their true natural form, not the “natural form” falsely created selfishly by men.