Last weekend, I was hoping to see my Bush in bright lights (in the pages of The Sunday Times' Style section) but my muff didn't make it. Neither in fact, did 92 other Bushes and I'm not happy about that either.
On October 3 2013, 93 women went and had their Bushes papped by photographer, Alisa Connan. They had all responded to press and twitter conversations in relation to ad agency Mother London's campaign Project Bush, that sought to get people talking about the state of feminism today through the subject of 'choice'.
Mother London wanted to start a conversation around the very current issue of women feeling obliged, nay, pressurised, to shave, wax or laser their pubic hair to be sexy/wanted/current. I was one of the women who bared my lady-garden in an attempt to get the conversation going. I took part because I literally couldn't think of a reason not to. Not only was it something different to do with my Thursday afternoon but also it was damn empowering to feel part of a conversation for a change. I might have some very basic views on David Cameron's latest policy regarding allotment allocations but I know my voice will never be part of that conversation; my Bush however, had the chance to be part of this one.
Of the other 92 other women who took part, one was The Sunday Times Style section's Commissioning Editor. She too got out her short and curlies for Alisa and at some point it was decided that The Sunday Times Style section were going to publish a piece on the project, to run the weekend before the unveiling of the photographs. The article ran yesterday. It mused and quaffed and it was all very lovely, but one thing was blindingly missing- a bit of Bush. There was nothing. Not a slither of a pube, or the mere whisper of a lip. Nada. Nil point. Truth is, they bottled it.
The Sunday Times was meant to be the first and only periodical to publish the final Project Bush pictures and they didn't. Apparently, upon seeing the work, they got cold feet as they felt the photos were 'too explicit'. They copped out with a picture of a sodding rose and my God is it depressing. In one foul swoop, that article shat on every single positive conversation that has been had regarding Project Bush since it's inception. You might think that's harsh but when you think that by choosing to find the pictures too 'risqué', too 'in-your-face', too 'anything' they just proved that we don't have a choice at all.
Well I still think I do. So here they are, in all their bare-naked beauty.
You see, its just Bush. The photos are not erotic. They are not icky. They are not weird. They are beautiful and they are ours. In a way, they are yours too.
I doubt there will be men who's crotches are currently burning with passion, nor are their children getting the wrong idea. There can't be anyone who feels ill or offended and I'm sure the PC police are on their high horse somehow but realistically I bet you're all fascinated. Some of you are probably a little shocked or hysterical laughing and maybe possibly even feeling like you missed out or made a fuss over nothing. I'm sure you're all zooming in and asking questions, pointing and musing on who's who. You're probably talking about ages and races and those wonderful idiosyncrasies that make each photo so unique and that's the sodding point that The Sunday Times missed. Talking is good. Talking is the point.
If Sinead O'Connor hadn't done the open letter to (13 paragraphs) death, I'd write an open letter to the mainstream media titled, 'What's wrong with a little Bush?' because The Sunday Times aren't the only rag that aren't publishing any pictures. None of them are. Baring in mind that last week The Daily Mail published a picture of a porn-still featuring the porn star, James Dean and writer Jenn Tisdale going at it, and every newspaper from between here and Timbuktu has published pictures of Petra Collins' absolutely revolting menstruating vagina shirt for American Apparel, I don't understand why everyone's come over all shy.
In one way, some good has come out of newspapers deciding not to show any Bush, it almost proves Mother's point. But I think the 93 of us who took part, deserve to know why our attempt to start a mainstream debate has fallen foul of exactly the kind of censorship of 'real bushes' we were attempting to address from the very people who are meant to be able to provoke discussion.
I for one didn't do this for some self-serving gratification; I did it because feminism shouldn't be seen as a taboo and we need to talk about it. It shouldn't been seen as aggressive or scary or indeed something to censor. We need to talk. We need men to talk. We need to talk to each other. We don't need to hide it. We don't need photos of roses as embalms for issues. We need Bush. We need all the plucked turkeys and the Chuck Norris' and we need to celebrate them, because by doing that, you're celebrating your choice and that's what is so great to be female.
Join the conversation #projectbush
Private View: 7pm Wednesday 13th November
Exhibition: 14th - 18th November at Mother London, 10 Redchurch Street, E1 7DD