Feminist publication Ladybeard has returned with its third issue, unpacking the personal connotations as well as the wider implications of beauty. Following on from previous issues exploring sex and the mind, the third issue investigates how “we make and unmake ourselves in the image of what our culture finds beautiful,” through the work of over 100 contributors, each more fascinating than the last.
Over previous issues, Ladybeard has displayed a unique ability to “take the form and format of a glossy magazine, but revolutionise the content”. The beauty issue is no different, through both its visual and editorial narrative, including pieces by writers Chris Kraus and Maggie Nelson, photography series’ by Bex Day, Anton Gottlob, Ellen Pearson and Judy Lewis Jones, or illustrations by Fran Caballero.
By “shape-shifting through time and across continents,” Ladybeard is able to fully explore several elements of beauty, from the Playboy Mansion to a waxing salon on the West Bank, with the idea of disrupting "what we mean when we say something is beautiful”. It does this in playful ways but also combines content with sincere and significant pieces, whether it be comedian Phoebe Walsh detailing “the very specific pleasure of squeezing a really massive spot,” or war photographer Lynsey Addario discussing “reconciling beauty with horror,” says the magazine.
“Mainstream media has created a culture of self-hate,” explains Ladybeard. “We grew up being sold stories about purity, femininity, and perfect happiness; now we want to tell new ones. Taking the glossy magazine as a point of departure, Ladybeard is a space to play with gender, sexuality and identity, rather than dictate their terms.”
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