Our purpose of creating The Hairy Pit is to talk back to post-feminist magazines, particularly Cosmopolitan, with an exaggerated feminist voice. We re-purposed clippings from two Cosmopolitan issues to not only mock Cosmo’s messages but also to create new messages of our own. In this way, The Hairy Pit exposes the ridiculous objectification of women and commercialization of beauty in post-feminist magazines like Cosmo. Though The Hairy Pit follows the same template as Cosmo, it falls on the opposite end of the spectrum, highlighting the absurdity of “Hippie culture.” Furthermore, The Hairy Pit pokes fun at the “formula” of how to be a women (as told by women’s magazines): 1) Look and act sexy, 2) Please your man, 3) Buy shit.
We address this formula in The Hairy Pit by putting a minimalist spin on each of these three requirements. On the front cover, we used a photo of Eva Mendes, proudly showing off her natural body hair, in response to the “look and act sexy” requirement. Body hair is basically non-existent in ideal constructions of female beauty and the contemporary world of fashion. In The Hairy Pit, we encourage women to appreciate their natural bodies with our segment entitled “GO TOPLESS: Why Being Naked Fuels Your Soul”. Here, we send a message that beauty is not a product you can purchase.
Frankly, The Hairy Pit does not care about pleasing your man. In the “Who Cares” section, we took articles from Cosmo including “I Crashed a Wedding With a Hot Stranger”, “Guys Talk L-O-V-E”, and “Is That Dude Nude?” and asked the reader to question whether or not these things matter. This is a playful yet feminist call to action, informing women that a hot man does not equal a happy or successful life. In another segment titled “4 Scents Guys Can’t Resist” (an actual Cosmo title), we reversed gender norms by listing the scents of a woman who is not concerned with pleasing her man. Furthermore, two of our entries (“Girl” and “Find Your Inner Goddess”) focus on self-discovery and self-liberation – without any connection to “finding the right man.”
The Hairy Pit also plays into DIY culture – sans additional costs. Two articles, “Rejuvenation in a Jar” and “Craft of the Week: Dreamcatchers,” give readers the opportunity to create homemade projects out of items they can find in their homes or backyards. Though we dramatize the “hippie culture” (i.e. adding dirt to your smoothie, “gathering nature’s vines,” etc.), we reinforce the fact that most “DIY” projects in women’s magazines necessitate the act of buying supplies, instead of using raw materials. While Cosmopolitan appeals to women who have lots of spending money, The Hairy Pit might appeal to women who are more sustainable.
Our zine is the most effective way to address absurd, post-feminist magazines because it emulates what a normal Cosmopolitan might look like. DIY is important because it gives underrepresented communities the opportunity to express their frustration with top-down media in a cheap and creative way. Furthermore, though these communities are excluded from mainstream culture, they can gain a sense that their voice matters, knowing that their creations can be read and appreciated by like-minded individuals. Even though DIY productions may not reach a broad audience, they can empower individuals to challenge the current state of the media.
Obviously, The Hairy Pit is just as extreme as Cosmo, albeit in a very different way. We are not trying to suggest that The Hairy Pit is a positive alternative to post-feminist magazines. Both magazines prescribe a specific lifestyle for women, without leaving room for personal expression and choice. In both Cosmo and The Hairy Pit, women are given step by step instructions on how achieve ideal womanhood. However, by showing an intersection of two extreme portrayals of femininity in one magazine (post-feminist vs. Au natural) we show how the media dictates what it means to be a woman. DIY culture gives women of all sexualities, nationalities, and lifestyles the opportunity to define themselves.