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"Without dictatorship of beauty": Interview with Juliana Jacyntho


Juliana Jacyntho’s ‘Brazillian wax’ responds to society’s expectations of women, in particular the focus on specific beauty standards. Media coverage of sportswomen, female politicians and actresses (to name just a few) often foregrounds their appearance. ‘Brazilian Wax’ encourages us to question and challenge beauty standards and their importance.

Featuring a papaya with and without seeds, we might be reminded of the way in which, throughout art history, fruit has been used to connote femininity and fertility. In ‘Brazilian Wax’ the seeds of the papaya have been scraped away. Here, the image carries a sense of tender rawness, of fruit-flesh prepared for consumption.

Juliana and I discussed her work over email - reflecting on the social pressures for girls to conform to particular beauty standards.

What impact do social judgements of female appearance have on girls (as they become women)?

Girls who are constantly judged on their appearance frequently turn out to be a woman with self-confidence and anxiety issues. She grows up with the misbelief that she has to reach determined beauty patterns to be accepted, when, in reality she doesn’t need to. Can art change or impact these issues?

I do believe art can help girls and women in general to feel that they are not alone and their problems are not theirs only – to create representation. Once we artists are vocal about a gender concern, the voice of the whole group is also raised. If you had one piece of advice you could send back in time to your 13-year-old self, what would it be?

If someone tries to diminish you because of your looks, your hair or your body, remember that the problem does not lie with you, but with the person who is judging you. They probably have issues, not you. You are powerful just the way you are.

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