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Project Bush: How A Photography Collection Of Women's Bushes In The Buff Is Starting The Debate Around Beauty And Choice

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What, you may ask, has a woman's pubic hair (abundance or lack thereof) got to do with starting a debate around the expectations of beauty that face modern women today?

Somehow, we've taken our eye off the ball, and while we're so busy trying to get equal pay and make our voices heard in the boardroom, we've accidentally left behind two generations of young girls and women who aren't quite sure what feminism is, or even that they have a choice about what their body is presented like.

Project Bush aims to shine a spotlight light on that, after communications director of Mother London Liam Fay-Fright was horrified that girls as young as 11 and 12 were getting Brazilian waxes.

project bush

The final project

The idea was to get 93 women together, and have their bushes photographed by celebrity snapper Alisa Connan. The resulting montage (above) will be displayed at the agency's headquarters for four days.

One participant, Nathalie Gordon, 25, says that although gearing herself up to be photographed in the nude was nerve-wracking, the shot was done behind a velvet curtain with just herself and the photographer. Afterwards, she felt elated.

Talking about her reasons for taking part in the project, she said: "It was pretty liberating – like nothing I’ve ever done before. I am a feminist and taking part in this felt like something I could do to contribute to the debate. I’m only 25 and there are so many women of my generation who don't talk about it."

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Feminism, she believes, has become a dirty word. Whereas once it stood for a particular set of beliefs, it has started to symbolise some of the more negative aspects rather than the good.

"The word itself - people think it’s aggressive. If I turned to my girlfriends and said I’m a feminist, they think it’s confrontational rather than about equality. The fact is, there is nothing wrong with saying I just want to be paid the same as a man. People in my generation have become submissive and don’t think there is an argument there. Probably the worst thing is that even if they are unhappy with something, they think “I won’t be able to change it”, which I think is a shame."

Nathalie's words add to a collective voice which believes that we need a new word for feminism, to describe the next set of women who have evolved with a slightly different set of beliefs that previous generations.

Speaking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, photographer Alisa reveals her reasons for getting involved in the project. "Initially," she says, "I didn't quite understand the concept. Then Liam told me that girls as young as 11 or 12 were waxing their public hair and I thought yes, that was important issue.

"The women who were photographer came in for different reasons. A very small percentage were completely comfortable with stripping off, the majority were nervous and then full of energy afterwards. And they all had different reasons - some were concerned about how the media portrays women in general, others were concerned about the world their daughters were growing up in. Most thought: "This is one small thing that we can do."

A key pillar of the pillar is around the issue of choice. Alisa says - and we agree - that if women want to wax and "be in pain to get that effect" then that is their choice. But if they're doing it because they think it'll please someone else, or that they aren't beautiful if they don't, then that is where it gets messed up.

What we need to focus on is that next generation - young people being pressure by other girls or guys.

HuffPost blogger and lecturer BJ Epstein recently wrote a blog on the choices of grooming, asking why she should have to wear make-up or groom herself, if she didn't want to.

"When you're younger," says Alisa, 'you don’t have as much free choice because your brain isn’t fully formed, you don't have the benefit of experience.

"And these pressures from other people can have such an effect. One woman I photographed was in her late 20s. She said she was 15 when started to get teased for having a big bush by other girls and I was shocked. It’s not something that is just starting to happen - this kind of pressure for women to conform to a certain type of beauty has been around for a while."

Do you think a new debate needs to start around redefining feminism? Or has it already begun?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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