Western society is full of double standards when it comes to men, women and their gender roles. London-based photographer Ben Hopper, however, has taken a small step towards dealing with some of these problems by creating a simple and elegant photo series that turns our ideas of feminine body hair and beauty upside down.
For this photo series, which is fittingly called “Natural Beauty,” Hopper asked models and actresses to grow out their body hair and challenge the idea that hairy women are in any way unattractive or unhygienic.
As Hopper explains on his website, “Although armpit hair is a natural state it has become a statement. Why is that? For almost a century we have been brainwashed by the beauty industry, encouraging hair removal. By creating a contrast between common ‘fashionable’ female beauty and the raw unconventional look of female armpit hair thoughts are intrigued and a discussion is made.”
Indeed, centerfold and beauty photos from before 1915 often display plenty of body hair. After the first women’s shaving campaign in the 1910s, the industry took off and hasn’t looked back since. Along with their new line of feminine hygiene products cam countless ads convincing women that armpit hair was unhygienic and unattractive.
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