TOPIARY

‘Topiary’ is a favourite euphemism amongst body hair ‘commentators’ from the popular pages of beauty/fashion magazines to the peer-reviewed pages of sociology journals. With its allusions to the ornamental, to care, to control, even to taming ‘natural’ growth, it tacitly imposes such regulatory demands onto women’s bodies/the female consumer, whilst fundamentally veiling the real and raw corporeality of body hair.

Admittedly Schick’s ad itself is not so subtle and in its product placement (…!) it apes Premier Estates Wine ‘Taste the Bush’ spot from a few months back now. Yet despite its subject matter, and in keeping with the majority of depilatory ads, not a single curlicue is seen and neither is a single hair even heard. ‘Bikini line’ gets a fleeting mention in the ad’s closing seconds but only once the smooth contours of the female body are safely off-screen – this ‘fracturing’ of image- and soundtrack I suggest serves a further denial of the presence of body hair on women’s bodies.

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