Plug in. Switch on. Buzz.
(Not what you’re thinking, I promise.)
As I prepare for battle the mechanic pinching teeth of death whizz around at ultra-fast speed. But as I sit on the side of my bed I wonder, is this really a good idea?
This will make me irresistible, right? An easy solution. I will instantaneously become a goddess: flawless from top to toe, resembling my pre-pubescent golden era that every man… desires, right? What? I’ll be just like the woman on the packaging, smiling as she promotes a hair-consuming, flesh-eating product of sadomasochistic beautification. I’m your Venus… fire… pure desire, right? OW… No.
Am I sexy now?
Is that… An ingrown? I know I shouldn’t dig but it’s like that tiny little hair under that little… itchy… spot…it just asking me to… OUCH… YES… got it…that hot quick flash of victory. I’m going for another.
I’m sitting on the edge of the bed, essentially oiled, plucked, raw and very red, like a cheap chicken that’s been reduced for quick sale. It’s okay, there’s a product for this – a cream, a lotion, a solution. And it doesn’t matter anyway because you can compensate for it in other ways. You can cover it up, with the ‘glow’, that you bought in a bottle. You watched a YouTube tutorial and you saw it advertised on the TV so it must work. And it was expensive too so it must.
And it doesn’t matter how much you spent because you can’t put a price on self-esteem, right?
Leaving the house can feel like walking into battle. Even now, it is seemingly impossible for women to get things ‘right’. From clothing, hairstyles, makeup and shoes, to whether that new sprouting follicle of a hair poking its way through stays or goes. Every part of our visual identity is scrutinised from every angle. While one person calls oppression another will call a lack of self-preservation, and then everything in between.
So how do we survive this endless battle? One way is by applying our war paint. We adorn ourselves, or strip away from ourselves, whatever we feel we need to in order to fight our way through societal standards.
War Paint is an exploration of these private, intricate moments of transformation. We are offering our own stories to start a conversation about why we are forced, choose, or want, to carry out these rituals of transformation.