Free the Leg Hair – The Campaign

I created the ‘Free the Leg Hair’ campaign after looking into hair and how it projects the feeling of disgust. Hairy legs on females is seen as unattractive, unhygienic and lethargic. I wanted to change this preconception as after all, having hair on our legs is completely natural. And if its alright for men to flaunt their bushy legs why is there a different rule for woman?

I stuffed natural coloured tights with hair and then removed it, leaving some hair behind clinging to the material of the tights. I then wore the tights and had my friend photograph me in a sexy, pin-up style photo shoot. I wanted to mimic an advert for female razors where the ladies are portrayed in a sexy way with their glossy smooth legs, except mines would be hairy.

My aim was for the viewer to feel disgusted by the hair on my legs, but to then question why they feel disgusted by it. Leg hair should not make woman look or feel any less attractive than when they have smooth legs. If men can do it, then so can we.

I printed off my photographs with ‘Free the Leg Hair’ typed on them, inspired by the ‘Free the Nipple’ movement. I have placed these posters around my university near other posters that advertise events in my city. People may think it is poster for an event, or perhaps a club for feminists. Whatever they think, I hope that the posters capture people’s attention and make them stop and ponder about our hair and how we judge it so cruelly.

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Using my Microscope Pictures

My microscope images of hair were so amazing that I had to use them in an amazing way to do them justice. I was advised to try screen printing using the screen printing medium and to then sprinkle hair on top. I thought this would be a great way to create an image of hair using hair. It would also highlight how amazing hair is but in a grotesque way as hair on paper is not as appealing as paint.

I tried a few different images until I got one that worked well. However, I preferred the images that were not so magnified so you could see the separate strands but these images did not show the detail of the grains.

 

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I then thought about scale. I wanted to create a fairly large piece that would be able to show the detail of the grains but also have the shape of the strands. Again, this did not give me the detail I had hoped for. I still love the shape but I had really hoped for the strands to come through.

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I tried a different image using half tone dots which was an absolute disaster and resulted in a large square of hair. But if at first, second, or third you don’t succeed try, try again! I will continue to play about with different images and maybe change the medium I am printing with as I am determined to get the image I want. I will update you all on my progress as I go.

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Drawing with the laser cutting has become my new favourite tool. I used this method to draw the image of hair onto black card which gave an amazing ghostly effect. I am not sure yet if I will develop this any further as I am still concentrating on my screen prints and making more soap hands but it is a possibility.

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Lastly, I used my Free the Leg Hair images of my legs wearing hairy tights from my previous post and Photoshopped the microscope images of hair onto them. The idea behind this was to show that hairy legs on woman is not disgusting as hair is such a magnificent thing. When magnified we can really see the shapes and structures that make up our hair which takes away the feeling of disgust and replaces it with awe and amazement.

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Free the Leg Hair

We all know the ‘Free The Nipple’ campaign, the movement to stop the censorship of women’s nipples in society. What I propose is something similar in the realm of equality but different in the area of the body.

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Free the Leg Hair was an idea that came to me after I stuffed tights with human hair. The tights looked disgusting, like hairy legs. But then I asked myself, why am I disgusted by hairy legs? Men walk about with thick black hair on their legs without anyone taking a second glance, but not women. Women with hairy legs are outlawed in society, they are seen as unhygienic, repulsive and definitely not sexy. And so Free the Leg Hair was born. This is about equality and questioning our disgust of hair.

My lovely friend photographed myself wearing high heels and a lace skirt. We firstly photographed my legs in our studio space to see how well it would work. The pictures looked great, I wasn’t so keen on the fishnet pictures so I didn’t carry on with them. We then took more photographs in my living room to give a more luxurious effect. I wanted the images to have a feminine and sexy look to them, like an advertisement for female razors. When the viewer looks at these images they can feel that something is off. They then feel disgust when they notice the legs have hair on them.

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I wanted these images to look like a campaign, so I added text. I played about with different fonts and styles but I felt like staying close to the original ‘Free the Nipple’ font in a plainer style was the best way to go so I discarded my first attempt.

The last image is a more masculine pose to highlight the fact that if these were male legs there would be no problem. I hope to blow these images up and display them alongside my grotesque and microscope work. I want to show a comparison between the disgusting side and the amazing side of hair and I hope these images lie somewhere in between.

 

Hair Under the Microscope

Hair is fascinating. I have been concentrating on the disgusting side of hair but lets not forget how amazing it is. Hair holds our DNA, the information about us and our families. It also looks pretty amazing under the microscope.

I had the opportunity to have a look at a few strands of hair under a light microscope which was fascinating but the images weren’t quite as clear as I wanted.

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I was then introduced to a life scientist who helped me use an electron microscope. This allowed me to get more magnified images where I could see the grain and texture. I had to coat the hair under a beautiful purple light which made it look like little bits of wire. The three samples were blonde, ginger and brown hair.

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I think the images are beautiful. You would never guess that this is what hair looks like when magnified. The texture looks completely different, almost chalk like. There is a lot of things that the images remind me of; the bark from trees, ripples in sand, cellulite. It was an amazing opportunity to see such an every day object in this way and I am excited to put the images to use. I plan to Photoshop the images onto my legs to represent hairy legs in a new way. I also plan to screen print the microscope images using glue and sprinkle hair on top so the hair creates the image. I will post my development as I go so stay tuned.