Sinny Sin Sins is an ongoing collaborative project which challenges the cultural, social and historical perceptions of female bodies.
Female body hair; a stigma, taboo, a social faux pas.
Even in circles that pride themselves on self-expression – that brand their rejections of cultural conventions – the idea of female body hair remains largely uncontested as an almost universal symbol of the societal misfit. So much is female body hair unaccepted, that women have internalized this as a default beauty standard. Removing body hair has long been associated with being neat, well-maintained, and sexually desirable.
Speaking to women flouting these conventions reveals a complex blend of shame and shaming, control and submission, aggression and passiveness; as a discussion point, the topic reveals how a combination of internal and external forces shape our actions and reactions towards sex, gender and ourselves.
Photographer Joanna Konieczna and art director Zille Bo wanted to explore this topic – so deeply rooted in aesthetics – visually. A play on the modern fashion editorial, typically a medium that consolidates current beauty standards, this project places female body hair in the spotlight, featuring it as a controversial accessory: what does it add, what does it stand for, why is it here?
By executing a polished shoot with a model who does not depilate, the project juxtaposes the subject against its own convention: the unsightly in a context of admiration. The origin of this beauty standard is called to mind. Whom does this convention benefit, and at what expense?
This last question serves to provoke conscious thought, encouraging us to think more critically about visual editorial standards. Or even to reverse the censorship of this socially constructed taboo.