Mother says it wants to raise awareness about the pressure to wax by inviting women to ‘present their bushes in all their glory’ for its campaign. But what are they hoping to achieve – and would you do it?
What to think of Project Bush? Ad agency Mother, best known for a knitted monkey and a repututation for being “creative”, is asking women to come and have their pubic regions photographed. Lest you recoil at the very thought, the agency promises that the campaign has been launched in association with “a number of feminist groups”.
On the Mother London website, a letter describes the campaign as “a call to action for women to stand up to the pressures of modern society and present their bushes in all their glory”. Using pro-choice language usually reserved for a woman’s right to choose whether to give birth, it continues: “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.”
It goes on: “For many women, it’s about choice. Waxing culture has become so mainstream that some young women don’t see it as a choice. So Project Bush is about questioning the status quo, as a means to discuss the state of feminism in 2013.”
So far, so laudable. Like many feminists, I hate the idea that even the bits of a woman’s body called “private” must resemble those of a 10-year-old. Celebrating difference and not feeling the pressure to confirm to a fashion for pubic hair removal is a good thing. The area could do with a few more high-profile campaigners, I suppose. Even a famous supporter of something she called a “seventies vibe” pubic area – Gwyneth Paltrow – suffered a backlash from a brother-in-law who criticised her for having a “big bush”. And yet is it not a bit weird to have this project launched by an ad agency that promises anonymity – with pictures taken by photographer Alisa Connan – while offering participants an invitation to “a swanky Private View and debate event” at Mother’s trendy HQ in London’s Shoreditch.
How will the pictures taken in fame-inducing “15-minute slots” convince young girls whose boyfriends have typically been exposed to more shaved porn stars than their fathers that they should be as hairy as they like?
Launching #projectbush with a twitter hashtag and letters to journalists will ensure that the campaign gets maximum exposure, of course. So, if after reading this you want to book your own slot on 3 October by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, be my guest. But let me know why first.
UPDATE: On Twitter @MotherLondon said the idea for Project Bush had come from female members of staff and conversations with The Feminist Times over the past month, adding there was “no client at all”.