#dontgiveapluck by Janice Quiles-Reyes

Frida Kahlo, by photographer Nickolas Muray

Frida Kahlo, by photographer Nickolas Muray

March is National Women's History Month, which is perfect timing for my lady-centric investigations regarding body image, starting with body hair.

After a handful of conversations with friends on the subject this past weekend, a few thoughts occurred to me:

 1.    Perhaps I should, with all the fear of judgement and my perfected negative self-backtalk, attempt a month without shaving or waxing or plucking.  What kind of feelings, dialog etc.. will that bring up for me as an adult?  I should just “walk the walk” and do it.

2.   What would Frida Do? As in Frida Kahlo, the artist. Who just so happened to sport a singular brow and mustachioed upper lip.  What would this iconic figure with her incredible presence and (seemingly) rooted self esteem say on the subject on how body hair is perceived here in the U.S.?  I’d like to have a sit down, share a cup of coffee with her and have some lady-talk. 

3.    I need to document said imaginary conversation with Kahlo after having it.

4.    Ohmygod am I taking this too far?!

5.    Hey?! There should definitely be a book on the history of body hair maintenance right?!


That's pretty much my manic thought process when I'm on to something I've yet to learn.                                                                          With that, here are my March projects at hand:

·      Have a mini zine made with in the next few weeks to help ignite my creative juices on this topic.  – Make the zine available to the public (PDF/ Download) and have a few (personalized) hard copies made ready to send out to those that would like old school snail mail.

·    Read and report back on Plucked: A History of Hair Removal (Biopolitics) by Rebecca M. Herzig  (Cause YES! There is a book on it!)

·         AND I will continue to collect stories/ experiences and asides and will illustrate the most common themes collected within the lot of ideas.

You can follow it all by checking my Instagram / Facebook posts on the co-created movement:  #dontgiveapluck.  AND, Hey!  You can also subscribe to receive these updates as they come about.

Hairs to you! (wine glasses go-a-*clink*)

Hairy Up by Janice Quiles-Reyes

I have a daughter. She's two and a half and is extremely eloquent when it comes to asking questions.   She also loves to mimic, 'cause that's her job.  To record, mimic then repeat it all out loud, when you least expect it.  It's wonderful and surprising and scary.   She watches me intently while I apply my moisturizer, mascara and lipstick.  She wants to do the same.  I'm all about helping her establish a routine BUT not such a specific beauty routine. Not just yet. Like waaaaay not just yet. 

Our babes are going to copy us.  My pal has two daughters, four and two years old.  She tells me that she caught the four year old pretending to shave her legs while in the bath. Ever since then, my pal decided to stop shaving all together. 

  " I stopped all hair removal because I didn't want my daughter to grow up think it was necessary or even normative for women to remove the hair that marks them out as adult. The rest of society will be modelling the alternative, so I feel I have to show her what the other option was!!"

Just this past weekend, while riding on the 7 train, I couldn't help but sigh and shake my head while reading the new THINX underwear advertisement.   It reads:  

"Period-proof underwear that means you have one less NYC smell to worry about (LOL is that too gross? We weren't sure)."

I've read though the THINX website, their mission and their blog . I really do appreciate their perspective on women and body image.  However, I feel that this particular worded ad continues to feed the notion of women's bodies being "smelly" and their lady parts being "unclean".  

How do we, as creatives, help change the idea that women's bodies are "smelly" "ugly" "disgusting" "dirty" if we chose to not shave, and whenever we're on our  menses?  I wonder what my conversation with my own daughter will be like when she brings up the subject in the near future.  And what kind of image-information would I wish for her to have access to when she's old enough to start looking into this subject for herself?          I grew up without the access of the internet and the how-to videos of You Tube.  I depended on encyclopedic information and Jane and Sassy magazines.  What are my imprinted beliefs regarding my own body and what are my everyday "beauty" regimen routines telling my little one? 

The next few weeks will be full of research, investigations and conversation with friends on BODY HAIR.  I've started a board of hairy body positive images on my Pinterest page.     

I've posted the questions I've asked friends to answer.  

1) How many of you were taught by your mom / dad /main caregiver(s) how to maintain your body hair: shave, wax, pluck?   If you didn't learn from a caregiver from whom did you learn?

2) Were there any moments in your prepubescent /tween/teen years where you were totally comfortable with allll of your hair?

3) When was the first time someone told you that your "hair" was a problem/issue.

4) How much negative feedback came from magazines/ television?

If you feel up to it, I'd love to hear your responses.  Please feel free to private message me at jqrart@gmail.com if you'd prefer not to share on this board. Thanks so much for your time.






This is how I "do" by Janice Quiles-Reyes

I've been hesitant building up to this moment - the moment where I offer the internet a full-scale look, an up-close, super personal examination of my work.  Where, after publishing a page and "going live" I'll be seen as a fraud as a child in the arts, dabbling... and all of those nay-saying thoughts and one liners that go through many artists head, when exhibiting their work in a public forum for the first time. I'm no stranger to social media. I do however shy away from posting in-process, in progress work;  Where all of my under-drawings and beginning sketches and  really silly mistakes are visible.

But, silly mistakes and under-drawings are the foundation to every piece of art I've made. That's how the work grows.  

I'm comfortable being silly around my closest friends.  I'm going to imagine that this whole internet galaxy is jam pact with friends, with whom I'll let my hair down and make a face or two without letting the naysayer choke out the fun. 

For now, I'm heading to my first ever Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrator's Conference (#NYCSCBWI2016).

Deep breath in....and out.