Video 4K, 26:40
Women of three different generations are taking part in the action (they’re 20, 40 and 60 years old).
They perform an individual ritual which any woman would carry out when preparing for a romantic date or sex. The heroines shave their legs, armpits and pubic hair then apply makeup. Old school, that is — classical — feminist theory would argue that the presence or absence of hair on woman’s body is determined by the desire of men, not by the woman’s idea of feminine beauty. In this context, masculinity is regarded as a constant intention to dominate, while dominance requires weakness and immaturity as a background to reveal itself. Sandra Lee Bartky supposed that the requirement for a woman to maintain smooth and hairless skin carries the theme of inexperience further. An infantilized face has to be accompanied by an infantilized body: “a face that never ages, or furrows its brow in thought” — she emphasized. Virginie Despentes took it much further, tagging all women who keep on adhering to this image of beauty “collaborationists''. According to Despentes, by doing so, women are maintaining male power and male order. One may conduct a refusal to conform, to “collaborate” is followed by the return refusal. Loneliness follows as the consequence. “I want Love” — says each of the three heroines in Masha Naumova’s video. No one wants to be alone. But is loneliness only an outcome of the refusal to maintain an attractiveness of a certain type? Isn’t it also caused by fear to trust the Other? Doesn’t it also comprise a will to alienate someone by struggling and building barriers? We sometimes forget that love is a tender dance, invented both by man and woman. This is the entanglement of practices of care and sympathy and it is not merely a demonstration of power. Furthermore, love is the territory in which any power vanishes, melts. But to enter this territory, one should be brave enough to play and to communicate with the Other. By giving or doing something, one gets something in return. Not only a woman possesses the desire to be loved and to charm, but so does a man. A woman in contemporary society can choose any scenario she likes, therefore the decision how to transform or biomodificate her body is solely of her own free will. Documenting the ritual of women’s beauty, the artist seems to mock any ideologies. Isn't it better to let ourselves enjoy the effects of mutual desire and to feel the sparks of pleasure running through our smooth skin, touched by someone beloved?