Body Hair, Don’t Care! Pak Artist’s Work Normalises Body Hair
The women in Ayqa Khan’s designs don’t care if they have armpit hair, even at the beach! We’re loving it!
With hundreds of advertisements depicting fair-skinned women removing their body hair from an already hairless, smooth hand or a (shapely and toned) calf, it’s refreshing to see art that subverts the idea that body hair makes women ‘less feminine’.
In a series of illustrations, Ayqa Khan, a Pakistani photographer and digital illustrator based in New York, shatters constructs surrounding the body, especially taboos about female body hair.
Khan draws body hair on the characters that make appearances in her art. Though it seems exaggerated, the idea is to normalise body hair. Especially for women, who are pressured by normative ideas of desire and social mores to get rid of the hair on their body.
Her illustrations incorporate people from the sub-continent, who often have darker hair that is more noticeable.
The designs are funky, and use of vibrant colours.
The advertisements will tell you: you don’t have to worry about wearing a sleeveless dress with armpit hair – because you can just “Veet it” at home.
But the women in Khan’s illustrations don’t bother with stuff like that, even in a bathing suit. Khan throws the idea of a ‘perfect bikini body’ pretty much out of the window.
Her characters seem to engage in activities that any 20-something urban youngsters are likely to be up to. They are burdened by existential questions, some are eating at a cafe, others lounge on a sofa and still others go dancing at a club.
But the leitmotif is how unperturbed they are by hair on their arms, legs, pits or thighs.
These are women in the comfort of their homes, among friends or even alone at a cafe, but are not being judged by hair growth on their skin, or frankly don’t care if they are.
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