"I looked fairly femme that evening. I was wearing my mum's red cocktail dress. The dress was too large for her, but hugged my body perfectly. It was remarkable that it happened at that place. A gaybar in Rotterdam. I was talking to a friend during a bad remix of Paparazi by Lady Gaga, when a guy tapped us on our shoulders. He asked us if we were a couple. I confirmed. We weren’t, but I wanted to get rid of him. He wasn’t planning on leaving. “But you girls look so straight”, he said. “Do you know what isn’t straight?”, I replied. I raised my arm and uncovered my armpit. He looked at it, turned around, got his stuff, called his friends and walked out.""
"I saw the shocked look in the eyes of my physiotherapist when I raised my arms to pull down a weight. For a moment I had forgotten my armpits were uncovered. It surprised me how much the look in his eyes got to me. I thought I didn’t care about what he thought of me. After that moment I decided to go for it for a while and try to not let those looks get to me anymore. In a way I also wanted to see myself without all the embellishments. Now I am getting more and more attached to it. I actually feel like they are very lovable bushes."
Body hair is often seen as dirty or unnatural. Especially for cis-women or people with a feminine gender expression. In a shop window where mannequins normally appear clean-shaven, you come across a living mannequin that does not comply with the norm. Seated in the ultimate 1950s dressing room, complete with all the necessary beauty products for a desirable appearance, she gets herself ready. She combs her hair. With HAIRY
, writer and performer Senna Pauli and designer Eva Arends question the prevailing gender norm and search for beauty in the extreme.
Are you hairy just like us?
The idea for this project arose from Eva’s desire to create lifelike armpit hair for the performative installation Hairy
. She worked as an apprentice with an established wigmaker to create four lifelike hairpieces, based on photos of people with armpit hair. We also asked them about their experiences, living with armpit hair. Visit the instagram page @areyouhairyjustlikeus
for the portraits and interviews.
With this project, we hope to contribute to the visibility of armpit hair and the lived experiences that go with it. We are aware that this exhibition still shows a predominantly white and young image of people with armpit hair. In order to create a more inclusive representation and collect many more stories, we have decided to keep continuing ARE YOU HAIRY JUST LIKE US
Do you want to join? You can sign up via: email@example.com
. It is also possible to participate if you don't have armpit hair, but would like to know how it feels. You can then have your picture taken with one of the four armpit hair pieces.
“I feel like it's little, but I know it isn’t little. But I would like more of it ánd darker. So that you could braid a pattern with it.””
“I came up with the idea because I loved my boyfriend’s armpit hair. His hair is very nice and soft. I wanted that as well.”
“I also have had three hairs on my chin for a very long time now. And that feels like a sort of religious territory to me. Those hairs can’t come out. ”
Concept: Senna Pauli & Eva Arends
Performance: Senna Pauli
Design, costume and hairstyling: Eva Arends
Artistic advice: Bianca van der Schoot
Technical advice: Gibson Houwer
In coproduction with: What You See Festival
Flyerdesign: Charlotte Brand
Website: Charlotte Brand
Are you hairy just like us?
Photos: Eva Arends
Texts: Senna Pauli
Models: Djuna, Bart, Saar, Nana, Falun, Suus en Effie
Coaching hair: Pilo Pilkes
In co-production with: What You See Festival
Pilo Pilkes, Municipality of Utrecht, Joel Derksen, Charlotte Brand
and all participants of ARE YOU HAIRY JUST LIKE US
©2021 - Hairy