Muff watch with Mother
This guest blog was written by Gail Parminter
Project Bush is an initiative by ad agency ‘Mother’ that’s “a call to action for women to stand up to the pressures of modern society and present their bushes in all their glory.
Whether waxed or never tended, young, old, black, brown or white, we want to display London’s lady gardens in all their variety, and demonstrate the choice that many young women –particularly – may not realise they have when it comes to waxing.”
Intrigued, I signed up to get my muff photographed. I was lucky to get in. Over 150 women tried to book their bushes in, and they turned quite a few away.
Agency strategist Katie Mackay said they were overwhelmed with applicants and had a lot of choice – there were some with tattoos, vajazzles and the like – made me feel extremely boring.
The whole point of the project is to open a discussion on what women do with their pubic hair and why. The feeling at the agency is that women feel pressured into waxing or shaving by porn culture. And because they believe women don’t discuss the subject with each other, they want to show us the variety of options available in a public (or should that be pubic) exhibition.
I have to say, I’m a waxer. And, while I’ve seen a fair bit of porn, I haven’t been influenced to go for the full Hollywood. I just like it nice and neat with a bit of a ‘landing strip’. My reasons are totally selfish. It makes sex better –especially oral. It also feels cleaner and fresher – especially when you’ve got your period. So, even though I’m looking forward to seeing the what’s out there (or under there) whatever shape, size, state of baldness or hairiness, I really don’t think it will change what I do with mine.
Now Mother is a very fashionable and creative agency and it also seems to have a bit of an obsession with female genitals. They have an infamous initiation ceremony that involves new employees walking through a giant vagina. And the creative department was pretty full of huge bushes, but these were on the faces of the trendy young blokes. So it was an odd feeling walking through the agency to the ‘Bush Booth’ as they called it. Everyone knew what was going on – but there wasn’t a snigger to be heard, so that was encouraging.
The actual muff shot experience was a bit like going to the doctors. I was led behind a screen to undress, where there was a chair and a towel (not quite sure what that was for) and a full-length mirror for pre-close up preening.
The lovely Alisa Connan, famous for the Dove ‘real women’ campaign, was taking the shot, and it was all over in a flash (excuse the pun).
I had a quick look at the shot on the computer screen after and it looked presentable enough. Nothing to be embarrassed about, that’s for sure. But what I’m not sure about is quite how this project is going to change attitudes or why attitudes need changing?
I’m all for starting a conversation about vaginas – it’s still a taboo subject and we still have very few words we can actually use for female gentalia. With all the acceptable words for the penis available, each with its slightly different meaning, it’s so very obvious that cocks rock, while female genitals are still mysterious to many and always spoken of in hushed tones. A man I know recently told me he didn’t know where women wee out of. And he’s 48.
So for me, the real debate is how we remove the stigma, educate men and women about female sexuality and make everyone more comfortable with it. It’s still a taboo subject. Nobody likes the V word and the C word is seen as something men can use, but if a woman says it, it’s shocking. At the Southbank’s Women of the World conference earlier this year, I sat in the Royal Festival Hall listening to Dame Jude Kelly in conversation with Naomi Woolf about, guess what, vaginas. At one point Jude said she wondered what people would think about women discussing vaginas in such a revered place. And that’s the point isn’t it? It still isn’t seen as acceptable. So while Project Bush is unlikely to push the feminist cause a lot further, at least it will get people speaking about what’s usually unspeakable.