“Payne’s Womanhours demonstrates the oppression of Instagram. In a series of videos, the artist employs her own body to reveal the level of self-correction needed to achieve the perfect self-portrait. She appears to endure an extreme physical and psychological makeover through female cosmetic rituals such as waxing, tanning, bleaching, plucking and shaving. The perfected self is captured for a fleeting moment in the virtual realm and the ritual is repeated all over again.”
The Conversation
Source: theconversation.com


A strategy is to return the gaze, to say, ‘I see you seeing me.’ This is an act of defiance.
Tyler Payne
Fake Tan (Woman Hours)

© Tyler Payne 2016

DSLR video, 4:47

Brazilian Wax (Woman Hours)

© Tyler Payne 2016

DSLR video, 18:40
The cosmetic rituals I explore are decided upon purposefully. I was fifteen-years-old when I was told by my friends that my boyfriend would expect my vagina to be ‘clean’ and free of hair. And so, for many years, I dutifully waxed my vagina, despite the discomfort, the first degree burns and bruising I had experienced from different waxers. For years I was convinced I looked my best with fake tan smeared across my body, ashamed of my white legs. Over time many friends and colleagues have discussed with me certain cosmetic rituals – body-correcting practices – that they underwent for the same reasons I had, and I began to develop this research as a way to express comradery with these women.
SKINNYFAT (Woman Hours)

© Tyler Payne 2016

DSLR video, 4:27

Brazilian Wax
The Brazilian wax has become an everyday grooming practice for many younger women, and an expectation from many male partners in heterosexual relationships. The image of a waxed vagina is widely disseminated, whether in something like bathing suit commercials for teenagers, or hard core pornography, and has become the norm. In fact, that expectation has morphed into disgust or derision toward women who fail to depilate their pubic mound. But the pain involved in waxing is suppressed in advertisements for waxing and ignored or not discussed by men for whom a bald vagina is expected. Entry into sexual adulthood, for women, is now gated by a painful ritual, and the natural female body, before the wax, is an object of sexual exclusion. The fetishizing of the bald vagina is both a kind of sexual objectification and an attempt to transform women’s pain into men’s pleasure. To foreground the pain of the wax, by showing the suffering on the woman’s face as she is being waxed, is also to foreground the humanness of women who undergo waxing, it is to challenge the sexual objectification that the Brazilian wax entails. The tight framing on the face resists the urge for the male gaze to objectify by focusing on the de-personalised body part (the bald vagina).