"I have decided to finally allow myself to be hairy, a road less travelled for women, somewhat out of the ordinary. And I want to know why I'm so reluctant to be in my natural state," narrates poet Anam Cara.
Why is hairlessness equated to femininity? Why is it considered okay for men to be hairy but not women? By giving voice to her hairy legs(and other hairy body parts), Cara challenges the taboo and shaming that surround women's body hair in A Prickly Subject, directed by Helen Plumb.
The film, presented by the Barbican Centre as part of their series The Art of Change questions inequality, vulnerability and the self-sacrifice we endure to meet a certain set of beauty ideals.
Plumb's art direction frames Cara as a work of art surrounded by prickly cacti, with focus on her embracing unshaven legs. The film also follows the woman walking proudly through fields of tall grass and swimming freely in bodies of water - diving deep in the sea, walking through a shallow pool of pink water and reclining in a milky bath.
"The taboo of female body hair is something we cannot deny" she states. "Why does a bald body equal femininity? When in some places, hair is a symbol of divinity. A sign of a goddess in the immediate vicinity."
Watch the video in full here...
The Art of Change is a collaborative series presented by the Barbican Centre and The Smalls throughout 2018. It features twelve short films by emerging filmmakers on subjects to change such as Feminism, Community and Censorship, among others.