This Oaxaqueña Is Using Her Photography to Challenge Body Hair Beauty Norms

Zuly Garcia is a 23-year-old student studying photography at Cal State Long Beach with the goal of becoming a photography teacher. Since her first show “Flores Politicos” she’s had a few projects that have gotten buzz on the gram. Her style is distinctive, posed muses, pink and purple hues, flowers, diverse faces and provocative topics like “Soft,” a photo series of men showing non-romantic affection toward each other, something she wanted to use to dismantle toxic masculinity.

Her latest series focuses on dismantling the stigmas surrounding the relationship society has with women’s bodies, specifically their body hair since the conversation about women’s body hair in the western world always revolves around removal. As Garcia tells HipLatina, “I was starting to grow out my hair more than I ever did before and I was just really inspired by other women of color that were just like always on body positivity. It made me think like damn, how many people are actually like me and who are they? It was really interesting because I kind of explored that though my social media. All these people from different religions and identities advocating for body hair and I thought it was really cool.”

The series was released on Valentine’s day, which also held special significance “[Valentine’s Day] is just so heteronormative and capitalistic and I was like ‘okay, I can do this in a totally different way,’” she told HipLatina. Garcia’s photos create cute and romantic scenes of sisterhood, but also gave viewers a perspective on body hair from the Sikh community through one of her models. “Sikh’s believe in leaving their body hair out of respect for God’s creation. It was a cool learning experience for me since I’ve never known anyone from the Sikh community.”

For those of us who have always been obsessing over “being too peluda,” it’s a nice reminder that for people all over the world hair is more than an inconvenience or something that needs to be modified to be sexually appealing – it’s a symbol of divinity. Garcia also says that she was surprised by how many women wanted to participate and by how many women have already begun embracing their hair. “It was really exhausting, I was getting requests every single day. I was really happy but like also really overwhelmed. I didn’t really think of how many of them had hair. It was really cool because at the end of the day it ended up giving me the representation that I needed.”

Garcia says that the reception from the shoot that brought together women from all different backgrounds has been good so far, “It’s really heartwarming because I thought that because of the way society is structured people were going to be like ‘ew gross’ but I did have people unfollow me after that.” 

Garcia has a show planned in L.A. and the East coast for 2018. You can keep up with her work and future events on Instagram here.

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