Ruby Bird for 'Natural Beauty' by Ben Hopper (2014)
“I first stopped out of, I guess my “laziness”, and later realising I was just actively allowing myself to be more comfortable. So I let it grow, curious to what it would feel like au natural in an area so taboo and visible to the rest of the world.
It made me feel good! Like myself, like I couldn’t care what others felt, sort of empowered and comfortable in what my body naturally decided to look like.
People’s reactions were surprisingly very positive. It attracted partners; curiosity and questions that were enquiring and appreciative in fairly equal measure.
There was of course some confusion, but I didn’t really feel any response that was actually directed at me in reality to be negative. Through the project with Ben, I did receive some rather alarmingly nasty comments from Internet trolls on my photo, but I thought in a round about way they were even more empowering than the compliments.
These people were commenting this way almost unanimously, out of ignorance, and perhaps their own insecurity. In the face of something so natural, this reminded me that I’m lucky as hell not to have that narrow mind holding me down.
The people complaining have a lot more to deal with than their own body hair growth. They feel they have to conform to a societal pressure I really don't adhere to. So negativity equalled empowerment and much hilarity for how small minded some very unfortunate souls could be in the face of natural physicality.
Having body hair is kind of in contrast to my job sometimes, and I don’t always have a full set of underarm lady hair or a generous lady garden! In fact sometimes I have the exact opposite. For me what it’s about is pro choice. If I choose to grow it, it’s because I feel like it, equally if I choose to take it all off.
This isn’t for me a professional pressure either; as a performer I don’t adhere to a anyone’s rules and a lot of the time actively enjoy challenging my audiences views on aesthetics with my own body as well as my costumes.
However, in saying that sometimes I like to feel all smooth and bald. Through this whole practice of liberated body image, I just wish to promote my own choice and to be conscious about what makes me happy in my skin.”
– Ruby Bird. Producer, performer and costumier (2014)
Disclaimer from Ruby: "..dyslexia isn't always a virtue, so please be understanding on my jumbled sentence structure..."