Patricia Alvarado is a Chicago-born photographer who forces the observer to think about societal norms and the culture we live in through her work. She uses her talent to question and make points on what attracts us versus repulses and shames us. Patricia also uses her work to investigate standards upheld for women within a patriarchal society, visually exploring the differences between natural and unnatural. If you take a look at Patricia Alvarado’s website, a few of her works feel deeply personal – from typed letters to former friends/lovers, a handwritten letter shaming she received via Tumblr regarding her rape and projects in which she uses herself as the subject. As an artist, she is very concerned about questioning femininity and gender inequalities. In her project, “I thought you said you liked long hair,” she examines society’s ideal of women with long hair…as long as it is not anywhere else on a woman’s body. Straight from her website:
Women in our society grow up believing that body hair is unnatural, and that the removal of hair is a ritualistic practice to be done as often as possible. We see ads for shaving creams featuring long, lean, hairless legs being caressed by a man. We see hairy women being automatically labeled as man-hating feminists or as being unkempt, dirty, and lazy if they make the decision to keep their body hair. We want women to look like girls; hairless, fresh, clean, and new. We’re scared of aging, of growth, of change, and so we shave, and we wax, and we pluck. Body hair makes society cringe, and so we put in the work. In “I thought you said you liked long hair…”, I attempt to address the problematic ways in which society views hair. Long hair is the ideal, but only if it’s in the right place. So to the countless men who have told me that they prefer women with long hair, you’re getting what you’ve asked for.
For more information about women who are speaking out against patriarchy and society’s standards, check out The Women’s Issue!