The Beauty Experiment

Bush (not George): public consumable or private luxury?

by on Feb.11, 2014, under criticism, gender, media, self-image

So American Apparel has a store window up with the work of  Petra Collins in it: mannequins with bush, modeling panties. First, this calls to mind the labia-revealing “Onionskin Jeans” in Gary Shteyngarts Super Sad Love Story (great book, brilliant imagination). Secondly, it gets me riled up about prioritization of the visual.  Bold actions and public statements about the invisible aspects of womanhood read as more “Womanist” to me:  pay, healthcare and health awareness, leave policies, undervalued caregiving, global gender inequity, and others. Yes, there’s something right about desensitization when it comes to anatomy; it’s a shame that Gore is deemed less offensive on TV than Healthy People Parts. And yes,  TV and storefront displays are inherently visual and artist Petra Collins in a visual artist. But when we over-prioritize visuals, we alienate ourselves from our other senses, those which sometimes tell us more about our health, comfort, and even subconsciously, how we view our genitalia.  Do we think of our bush (or lack thereof) as inherently meant for general public consumption and assessment or is our bush—and all it is designed to protect and conceal—our own property? I don’t mean to be Victorian but here’s what I might do with my window:


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