Look At This Pussy

BY ASHLYN ACE

I was pretty psyched when I discovered Look At This Pussy. There are very fundamental, very literal things that catch my attention in other humans, as though I function like a nimble minded fly—anyone who can reduce the complexities of life to a simple and hilarious explanation wins the prize. The particular topic and context in which we are speaking, however, can be viewed in many different ways. And it’s not all funny and light hearted. We all get that. Women have struggled on this planet E to fit within the messy contents of this world since forever. But I believe, within all of the inevitable drudgery and pain we experience as human beings that there is indeed room for a reflective snicker at our own existence and baffling contextualizations. Knowledge creates understanding, but you know, there are many different ways to disseminate what you think you know. Bending the ideas and frameworks a little bit to look at fear straight in the face, asking that dweeby projection of the mind, why don’t you just look?

Eva and Chelsea are the, well pretty brilliant, women behind Look At This Pussy. Together they are bringing attention to gender politics and feminist topics that often go unrequited on social media and particularly Instagram. Why aren’t we using this platform to talk a little bit more about normalization of our differences surrounding the bod(ies) we inhabit. Really don’t you feel that this central idea, being such an essential (actually) part of existence, that this very beautiful part of life goes very hushed into a shameful corner of the public mind? I do. I feel like the past few years of my life have been spent trying to casually insert these ideas into a colloquial conversation. How can you explain to one that they can be free? You can’t tell them. Of course everybody has their own set of experiences coming to the table. How can you describe a world with lesser anxiety surrounding sexuality not only as an act but in everyday existence? You can’t tell anyone, anything, ever. Don’t try. Quietly hope to guide them, gently point to it, and maybe, hopefully they’ll take a look.

LATP 2015-04-06 at 11.27.19 PM

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 12.28.09 AM
Ashlyn: I guess to start off would you tell me a bit about yourselves? Also how you two met.

Eva: I’m from LA originally. I studied art history/ contemporary theory and italian literature in college and since graduating have worked in fashion and marketing.

Chelsea: i’m from orange county (don’t judge me) but moved to LA 4ish years ago to go to ucla, from where i graduated in 2012. i now work for a website and do social media marketing
eva and i met through a mutual friend/creative genius on new years eve. we kissed at midnight but just a peck
(kidding) but we did meet on new years and then discovered we lived a block apart from one another
so we are essentially best friends and also neighbors

Ashlyn: Wow so recently?

Look At This Pussy:
new years eve 2014

unnamed-9

ashlyn: I’m curious to know how you would describe your Instagram project/movement?

Look at this Pussy:
our pussies are chalk full of great feminist-y shit
its about relating to other women, about recognizing yourself in a foreign and sometimes inhospitable landscape, it’s about charting “sameness” and “difference” in a purely aesthetic sense.
it’s a minor feminist disruption, “disruption-lite”
i think it’s also specific to the medium being easily accessible and catering to both image and word

Ashlyn: I’m wondering do you mean disruption in a sense like we are women who are going to disrupt the social understanding, or disruption in a sense that’s more like we’re uncomfortable?

Look at this pussy: it’s as much a writing project as it is a visual one
and a huge component is that we are asking our audience to engage with us, to see the world around them differently
we’re not necessarily seeking to change anything but we come to this with strong stance of acceptance, hugely anti-shame
normalization would also be a goal also, insofar as women are viewed almost entirely as purely “one thing” by the patriarchy, we’re kind of saying fuck it. sure. we’re all just vagina on legs and we are also tight.
the images are visceral, graphic, full of texture. they aren’t necessarily meant to be “disturbing” so much as evocative of the human body but it’s the medium and not the message. it’s suppose to be jarring to get your attention.

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 12.35.52 AM
Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 12.36.26 AM
ashlyn: I definitely want to talk about that further …I’m wondering though you’re so visually grounded in the yonic symbol and what is the essence of the yonic symbol as you understand it?

LATP: The whole world worships genitalia dude
womb, nurturing, safety, warmth, etc.

shy 2015-04-07 at 12.30.18 AM
Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 12.31.05 AM
ashlyn: Your colloquial approach to, I don’t want to assume you understand it as an ‘issue’, but I’ll say ‘topic’ for now, seems to have a strong base of humor and love. I think that’s why I was drawn to speaking with both of you initially. Are there any feminist approaches, branches of study, or thinkers that you particularly admire or who have influenced your approach?

LATP: Simone de Beauvoir (bible) Caitlin Moran, Dan Savage, John Berger, Jennifer A. Gonzalez

ashlyn: Good ones

LATP:
re: humor
this is the language we use to communicate with each other. the hallmark of our relationship, really.
Weird twitter, the internet, meme culture, living in Los Angeles
we both love playing with words and find a lot of joy in our friendship this way

ashlyn:
It’s a modern day language of love and endearment

LATP:
exactly
a deep enough understanding to get sarcasm over text
sometimes its own language
deliberate/ non-deliberate mistakes

ashlyn: feel like you guys have a nice balance of intellect mixed in there too. I just want to jump back to normalization for a moment. The contents of your instagram could be interpreted in so many ways, what I found interesting was your approach of pointing directly at an object, guiding the audience in such a way to notice a very essential and beautiful human body part that seems to be so hidden in the public mind. There are so many reasons why this hegemonic understanding is problematic, but I am interested in hearing the positive change integrating Yonic imagery into our normalized sphere of acceptance could have on our society?

LATP:
thank you
positive change can occur when women feel comfortable being completely honest about what we are all experiencing literally all the time
for example,
https://instagram.com/p/x9obmkCZkt/?modal=true
menstruation
let’s stop hiding this
having your period fucking sucks. it never doesn’t suck
it’s also completely normal and special, unique to us
experience time cyclically gives women a unique outlook and this experience of the world should be honored rather than subjugated.
experiencing*
a positive change would be less isolation among women and girls
less shame.
a shared sense of community.
also though, the humor allows an avenue for men to consume our content
we have many many male followers
we’re making them laugh and secretly making them read simone de beauvoir at the same time
Dude! someone the other day assumed that we were dudes writing this! commented “these dudes are so funny”

ashlyn: LOL

LATP:
RIGHT

ashlyn:
that would be some serious spiritual awakening for a dude to be able to write that shit

LATP: we commented back “thanks for support. we not dudes”
ashlyn:
enlightened as f

LATP:
seriously
lol

ashlyn:
I agree though, I’ve always thought of moon cycles as a time when the queen needs to chill.

LATP:
word.

when life hands u2015-04-07 at 12.33.12 AM
Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 12.33.55 AM
ashlyn:
As I type Yonic it spell checks to “ionic” but phallus or phallic remains as is in my word processor. How do you see the acceptance of representation in phallic imagery in comparison to that of the female body?

LATP: Yonic imagery is everywhere, Phallic imagery is everywhere. When you boil down our most essential symbols across cultures we basically get a vagina or a penis, a circle or a line (I’d argue that these symbols are not arbitrary but simultaneous, dual experiences that are universals). The Virgin is a vagina. The Western world worships a benevolent female energy, she’s draped and almond-shaped and glowing. Lotus, Lingham/Yoni, these are all saying the same things to us.
That said, Yonic images aren’t fighting The Patriarchy. These forces are operating on different planes.
widely disseminated images of the female body are rarely on female terms

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 12.38.57 AM

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 12.39.06 AM

ashlyn:
benevolent, mystery. The western world doesn’t seem to unanimously and openly want a pure badass as representation at the forefront of our sexual understanding. In our email correspondence you mentioned a bit about the mystery around female genitalia and the pervading sense of misunderstanding, fear surrounding them. Could you give some examples of common misguided ideas that you come across day to day whether in sexual representation or in general? What are some common struggles that you hope to address?

LATP:
do you mean in a sexual context? or more gender-politics?
re: mystery surrounding female genitalia. the only answer is to know yourself. masturbate. every body is different. know yours.

ashlyn:
Both I suppose, but more leaning toward gender politics in terms of how we are to represent ourselves as females according to the public eye, the gaze

LATP:
in a broader, cultural sense re: mystery. not sure what can be done, exactly.
how should we represent ourselves? Do What Feels Right.
support other women, give the finger to any dude that honks at you. do a selfie when you feel good.

ashlyn:
:~)

LATP:
:~)

ashlyn:
Some girls feel good all the time. ;~) which is cool. Foucault has written about how power, in regards to sex, is thought of as having negative connotations because of simultaneously existing conditions that make up our understanding of censorship. Censorship comes with preventative ideas and measures, denying existence of certain aspects of actuality. Do you think power as it relates to femininity is often regarded as negative because of a prevailing passive nature of censorship? How do you view the relationship between female bodies and power?
I figure most of us are conditioned under this passive understanding of censorship, socially, publicly, through media etc. So when you get a women stepping out of the norm it is automatically viewed as negative/offensive/annoying. I feel like the word feminist is still loaded for some reason.

LATP:
Internalized censorship will always be the problem, definitely.
Yeah people get angry when women challenge the norms. Its easier to “celebrate” women (and still fully not include them) than it is to actually give us a voice and agency.  Treat me like a human, don’t celebrate me.
Feminism as a label is kind of malleable, which is probably okay.

ashlyn:
Let’s hope so

LATP:
re: particular censorship of the vagina

ashlyn: Like on instagram :p
or any public medium

LATP:
right. The internet is wild.