Every six months or so a women's magazine will run a feature titled something like "What Guys Think About The Hair Down There," perpetuating the eternal pubic hair debate, which, when you think about it, is totally and completely absurd.
"I guess if I were to simplify it, it just came out of this frustration with the idea of 'femininity' and gender roles," Schneiderman explained in an email to the Huffington Post. "But, there was definitely a lot going on in my life when I started to develop the idea for this series. My photography school just happens to be in one of the seediest areas in Florida: Daytona Beach. It is a cultural black hole. I was constantly ridiculed for not wearing a bra, not shaving my legs, not sleeping with men, etc."
Schneiderman's series of self portraits is modeled almost like a fashion editorial, though entirely unlike one we've ever seen before. Each photo features Schneiderman striking a fashion-forward, feminine pose while boasting an unusually gaudy bush. The variations of hair down there range from a floor-length braid to Weird Al-esque curls, all designed to simultaneously make you uncomfortable and make you crack up laughing. The highly stylized pubic regions illuminate the bizarre ritual of styling them at all-- because they're pubes.
In an interview with Design Taxi, Schneiderman described her photography project as "a series that kind of laughed at conventional gender norms. I wanted to tell people that they were ridiculous, make them uncomfortable for a change. I wanted to challenge femininity and the objectification of women that is still so incredibly prevalent in society."
Scheiderman expressed her hope that the project would at the very least inspire women to question the established norms that guide many of our daily habits. "Why is it strange to have long, glorious pubes? Why is it gross for women to have armpit hair or leg hair? Why do any of these things make people uncomfortable? Why is it okay to openly criticize someone else's body?"
The series gives a definitive "hell no" to the objectification of women, and the pressures put upon them to conform to beauty standards -- even with regards to their pubic hair. After perusing Schneiderman's many shades of bush, the question of whether to wax, shave or tame all seems pretty ridiculous. Unsurprisingly, Schneiderman received a wide variation of reactions to her bold project taboo subject matter.
"People covering their kid's eyes, or slamming the book shut, or laughing hysterically. It was awesome," she explained. "I think the funniest thing was when my Nana saw the photos and de-friended me on Facebook. To this day she refers to the series as 'that naked pornography thing with the wigs.'"
Scroll down to see Schneiderman's "Lady Manes" in all their glory. You may find yourself feeling uneasy, hysterical laughing and totally empowered. Don't be alarmed, the images are just doing their job. And, if you didn't already catch this, the photos are decidedly NSFW.