It was about a week ago that an email pinged into my inbox inviting me to book a 15 minute slot in which to have my ‘lady garden’ photographed by Alison Connan.
It seemed like a joke. It was in my junk folder, from an email address I didn’t recognize, from a company I have no recollection of giving my personal details too. My hotmail account is on every conceivable mailing list known to man and I get daily offers of everything from diamond investment to penis enlargements. I put it down to my gap year reception job, where I would spend 10 hours a day entering every online competition I could find. This was in the hope that I could win my dream life, rather than work for it. Needless to say, I have nothing to show for it other than twelve years worth of junk mail.
So you can perhaps understand, that someone who has never come across Mother London, the agency behind the Project Bush campaign, could mistake the email as a hoax. Turns out… from a few seconds on twitter and a Google search, that #projectbush is an actual thing. And in true ironic form, photos of a range of women’s ‘lady gardens’ are to be exhibited to ‘grab feminism by the short and curlys!’ The campaign is said to ‘address the question of modern feminism – how does it manifest today, what are the challenges it faces, what does it mean to be a feminist?’
I like the idea. Kind of. I mean… I do think it’s a clever way to get some attention, from a PR perspective. Everyone knows that sex sells and a campaign centred entirely around vaginas is going to generate some buzz. I still don’t really see how it’s a feminist campaign and I certainly don’t feel like it epitomizes the challenges we face today. Mother London claims that women aren’t necessarily aware of the choices they have when it comes to waxing… What?? As a (relatively) young women, I’m slightly offended! For a start, waxing isn’t the only option in manicuring your nether regions, but surely the decision you make is pretty much restricted to: all on, all off, a bit on, a bit off? Wax, razor or removal cream? In terms of making a stand for feminism, it’s about as useful as taking lots of risqué photos of branches in a ‘save the trees’ campaign.
Personally, I feel that there are a lot more pressing issues than what we’re doing with our pubes? Equal pay for example? I’d rather see an exhibition where job descriptions and P45’s of men and women in the same roles were blown up and placed side by side for all to see.
Maybe I’m missing the point. I fully agree that feminism should be pro choice, but to publicly display our privates, doesn’t, to me, send this message. Perhaps I’m a prude, but in general, very few people actually get to see what you choose to do with your ‘lady garden’ and what you do decide, has such an insignificant impact on the rest of the world, that to pull this into the public domain, achieves nothing more than an exhibition of fannys? The private into the public. I can see that as a sort of arty thing, but I don’t understand how it’s making a stand to the pressures of modern society? I, for one, have never felt pressured when it comes to my bikini line. I’ve never lost sleep, gone to seminars, protests or picket lines focused entirely on pubic hair. The worst I’ve had to contend with is maybe an irritating shaving rash or the odd in-grown hair, both solved with savlon and a pair of tweezers respectively.
I think there are so many issues women face day to day that, and this might just be me, the maintenance of my downstairs area, is probably bottom of the list. Below what to have for dinner or what colour to paint my nails… Pro choice, to me is embroiled in the abortion debate, to have children or focus on career, to opt for IVF if biology has taken away that choice, to take maternity leave, to get a nanny, to look forever young, to have botox, to get a boob job or a face lift, what to eat right, when to eat, what not to eat, to avoid cancer, to survive cancer… Just a few things that spring to mind as more pressing concerns that women are contending with, than finding inspiration on whether to get a brazilian or not.
I’m a feminist, I’m pro choice and I’m all for equality… but project bush? I just don’t get it.