Throughout the centuries, artists and creative individuals have used their art to express their ideas, thoughts, and emotions, which are oftentimes vastly different from the prevailing standards and ideologies of the age and society they live in.
Some create art to become objects of marvel and aesthetic inspiration, while some use art as a creative venue to question the status quo, to push the limits and blur the lines between what is acceptable and what may be considered taboo. London-based photographer Ben Hopper is an example of the latter.
For his ongoing project called "Natural Beauty," Ben asked models and actresses to grow their body hair to challenge the idea that hairy women are unattractive. It aims to question the modern standards of beauty and femininity simply by showing women with underarm hair. It questions how what used to be 'natural' is now considered in many societies as unattractive, unhygienic, and "unfeminine." As Ben 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. "Natural Beauty” could be classified as a type of protest. 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."
Some of you will probably find it empowering, some will secretly cringe at the pictures, some will say "to each their own!" and some may find it downright disgusting. But as Rainbow Rowell said in her book Eleanor & Park, "She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”
See more pictures from Ben Hopper's "Natural Beauty" project here.Image credit: Ben Hopper