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The Casualties of the War on Body Hair

Looking for a way to save $10,000? Have you considered not shaving? According to a survey by the American Laser Centers, over the course of her lifetime, the average woman will shave 7,718.4 times and spend $10,000 on related products.

Should we be reclaiming the razor as a symbol of female strength or abandoning shaving altogether? Who wants to look like a child down there anyway?

The Atlantic has quite a bit to say on the subject:

“Hair removal, at its core, is a form of gendered social control. It’s not a coincidence that the pressure for women to modify their body hair has risen in tandem with their liberties, Herzig argues. She writes that the effect of this hairlessness norm is to “produce feelings of inadequacy and vulnerability, the sense that women’s bodies are problematic the way they naturally are.”

And yet, if you ask many women why they voluntarily shave or wax, they might say that it’s a method of self-enhancement. That they want to, it’s a personal choice, and they just feel better when everything is smooth. Hair removal as self-care might be one of the biggest lies women have bought into. It keeps us in an impossible loop, one in which we are constantly in pursuit of velvety limbs and the moral virtue of cleanliness.”

Maybe so, but who is going to stop shaving and start the hairy revolution? Until hairy limbs are normalized and shaving companies cool their marketing, getting women to rethink this practice is going to be a though sell.

I will think more consciously about why I feel like shaving some days, and who I am really shaving for. Let’s start this thoughtful hairy revolution y’all.

menstrala

Singer Sarah Steffen‘s menstrala print (above) uses ink rather than blood to represent that sinking feeling that you experience when you pull down you pants, only to realize that your period has already started. Her work is a contemporary take on a long standing tradition of representing bodily fluids in artwork.

“Coined in the early 2000s by the “menstrual painter” Vanessa Tiegs, the term menstrala describes art created from menstrual blood as a way to rid the shame associated with it. The 1970s saw the emergence of period blood art in association with the women’s liberation movement, with a flurry of artists producing work inspired by that time of the month.”

Read more about the movement here: https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/the-history-of-bodily-fluids-in-feminist-art

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Becky Qilavvaq- artist, throatsinger, cultural educator, and fashion designer

The Inuit are resilient. Not only do they face the cold, but their entire life style has changed as they have become less nomadic and more sedentary in recent years. Westernization has changed many surface level features of their culture, but Becky Qilavvaq remains convinced that her people will overcome the latest challenges, just as they have always done.

Becky notices an identity crisis in many Inuit youth that she meets, and she has worked on many projects to help reconnect them to their Inuit roots, while staying in the present. One of the tools that she uses is clothing, both allowing young adults to touch and try on the traditional clothes of their families, as well as designing contemporary clothing inspired by Inuit objects for her “Inuk and non-Inuk friends”.

Becky is an incredible ambassador and speaker. Her art gives many Inuk a way to show their pride, and spreads her culture to non-Inuk people. She believes that her people will move forward with the best of both worlds. Her leadership helps her people go forward while holding onto their traditions.

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Becky Qilavvaq
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Kakivak Leggings

New American Best Friend

Meet your new best friend- Olivia Gatwood (not Atwood y’all).

We were blown away by Olivia’s performance in Brunswick this week- and not only because she has a poem called Ode to the Word Pussy (which we love).

Olivia mentioned how she loves the sparseness of poetry, and how it gives added weight to the words that you choose.

She challenged the audience to try writing a poem about periods without using the word blood, so here is my best effort:

Ode to my Period.

by Sarah Steffen

Welcome beautiful red,

anticipated but always catching me off guard.

Connection to generations of wise women,

before me and after me.

Learning the rhythm of my body,

my responses to stress and exercise.

Questioning the price of tampons,

growing into the Diva Cup.

Taking my breath away with your ruby red,

but fades to brown too soon.

Watching another month of my youth

swirl down the toilet.

Trading your monthly reassurance

for the reassurance of an IUD.

Wishing for the ritual,

that celebration of my body’s strength and ability.

Knowing that you will be back one day,

missing you as a friend who has been away too long.

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See Olivia perform here.

Body Printing

Body printing- what is it good for?

“When I lie down on the paper which is first placed on the floor, I have to carefully decide how to get up after I have made the impression that I want. Sometimes I lie there for perhaps three minutes or even longer just figuring out how I can get off the paper without smudging the image that I’m trying to print.”

— David Hammons, 1970 interview with Joseph A. Young, LACMA

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David Hammons making body prints, 1974. Photo: Bruce Talamon

Critics and the public alike have long been fascinated by David Hammons‘ body prints. Hammons made body prints in the 1960s and early 70s in LA. He applied margarine and baby oil to his body and clothing, and pressed himself against sheets of paper placed on the wall or floor, and dusted the resulting impressions with pigment powder.

“A critically successful artist whose practice comments on race, politics and society-at-large and spans printmaking, painting and drawing, installation, performance and mixed-media sculpture, Hammons is as well known for his wry, innovative approach to art making as he is for flouting the accepted structure of the fine art world… Hammons once said in a rare interview with art historian Kellie Jones, “The art audience is the worst audience in the world. It’s overly educated, it’s conservative, it’s out to criticize not to understand, and it never has any fun. Why should I spend my time playing to that audience?” ”

See full article about a Hammons work at auction here.

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David Hammons. “Boy with Flag.” 1968.

Hammons is placed in conversation with Yves Klein in The Aspen Art Museum’s David Hammons Yves Klein / Yves Klein David Hammons exhibit.

Both artists draw on the power of the human form and the agency and directness of printmaking. What do you make of the results?

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Yves Klein, Anthropométrie de l’époque bleue, 1960
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Yves Klein and model

More Yves Kein works here.

Marcello Pastonesi: Dare2Dream

On the train from Milano to Padova today, we started talking to the Italian man sitting next to us after he forgot to plug in his headphones. We heard a brief clip of the video that he was working on blaring from his Mac, and as he apologized, we became intrigued by the film. It soon became apparent that he was a rather well known video journalist who had just had a story in Vogue. He has travelled all over the world, documenting what he observes as he goes. We watched his CV video, and asked about the different personalities and visas that he had worked with in various African countries. The story that he shares this time is one of hope and dreams.

Two Italian women are using fashion to inspire and empower young women in Nigeria. “The moment I arrived in Nigeria I felt its energy” says Bortolussi. “It’s a troubled country, but it is also a place where many people have talent and women are strong. I loved them. Loved their colorful clothes, loved their determination. They inspired me.”

We were inspired by the stories in Marcello’s videos, and we hope that you will be as well.

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See Marcello’s work in Vogue here: Kinabuti • Dare2Dream

Photos from Marcello Pastonesi’s website. See more here.

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Keith Haring a Milano!

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110 of the American artist Keith Haring’s works are on display in the Palazzo Reale in Milano until June. The exhibit places Haring’s work alongside the work of artists that inspired him, and arranges each room thematically. Some of Haring’s earliest drawings and most celebrated works are in the same rooms, giving a comprehensive overview of Haring’s process and artistic range. The exhibit is provocative, and has something for the graffiti enthusiast, the dedicated art historian, and everyone in between. The exhibit is for everyone, so book your tickets today.

 

Photos from repubblica.it and the exhibit site.

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Donne di Milano

Ok, you’re right, the Italians might be more known for Catholicism than for feminism, but we have found some pretty amazing women in Milano this March.

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The old interior of the statue of the Virgin Mary, the symbol of the city.
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Admiring the Virgin, who is the highest figure, in gold, atop the Duomo.
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Incredible cloistered nunnery, Monastero Maggiore
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Lapide sepolcrale del poeta Lancino Curzio, 1513

Tombstone of the poet Curzio Lancino, 1513.

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Made it!