In a Guardian feature about "unconventional models," 19-year-old Charlotte Free made a case for herself as a kind of feminist body hair activist.
When a reporter asked if her recent shoot for Terry Richardson, which included a close-up photo of Free licking her unshaven armpit, was "a feminist statement," the model responded in the affirmitive:
"'Absolutely!' Free says, shocked that I would wonder. 'It's an equal rights thing. It's ridiculous that women have to shave their armpits and legs every day.
I don't have time. I think it's asinine that men have this standard that women should be perfectly shaven…
I only shave them once in a blue moon for a really big job. I like to keep my body hair. It's a symbol of how I'm not going to conform to something that's so ridiculous.'"
Free claims that her commitment to women's rights extends past matters of body hair:
"I stand up for other girls in the industry. If I see someone taking pictures backstage, I'll grab their camera, expose their film or delete all the photos. If you're taking photos of 16-year-old girls naked, you will not get away with it. It's paedophilic."
Whatever's happening under her armpits, it's hard to take Free's declarations of feminism seriously since she so willingly collaborates with Terry Richardson. The photographer's pseudo-pornographic aesthetic is matched by a pervy public persona: some of Richardson's former subjects have come forward alleging that the photographer's method borders on sexual abuse. The most graphic account came from model Jamie Peck, who claimed that Richardson asked to remove her tampon during one session, and then got naked and suggested she touch his penis during a second session. If only Charlotte Free had been in the room with them, surely she would have stopped the madness.
[via The Guardian]