Pudenda Agenda

The Shaved-Vagina Monologues

Beecroft's regimented models, and her predilection for beautiful, blond Aryans, have always made us think beyond the nude, to type; now she introduces race. But with the black women clad, the suggestion is that we're not ready to handle this particular truth—which is that the power of the shaved pudenda increases in direct proportion to the "otherness" of the woman in question. Or does it? After all, the more you see of the female anatomy, the less "difference," "otherness," or "mystery" you can project on it. When difference is accented, it is sometimes reduced.

An irksomely shallow yet strangely illuminating mirror: Vanessa Beecroft’s VB 45, Kunsthalle Wien, Austria (2001)
photo: courtesy Deitch Projects
An irksomely shallow yet strangely illuminating mirror: Vanessa Beecroft’s VB 45, Kunsthalle Wien, Austria (2001)

When it comes to nudity, women have always been in the artistic vanguard, whether they liked it or not. The female body has been presented much more naked, much more often than the male body. It's anyone's guess what could happen next. But if men follow in these footsteps it could lead to our particular last frontier: the visible hard-on.

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