An artistic duo are hell-bent on getting women all across the world to love their bums.
Montreal-based artists Emilie Mercier and Frédérique Marseille - who’ve been best friends since they were 12-years-old – have been “collecting the beauty of the female form in an attempt to address a widespread obsession: hating our backsides.”
Their project, 1001 Fesses (in French) – or 1001 bums – aims to collate 1001 photos of women’s bare bums in the hope of addressing their own insecurities and to find out how other women feel about theirs too.
“Maybe we would discover how crazy it is to hate our own bodies and simply see how unique each and every woman is,” they’ve written on their website.
“And this way start loving ourselves a little bit better.”
In 2015, the pair started a crowd funding campaign to find subjects for their project. The funds raised has helped them to travel around the world to capture unique bottoms.
Through the medium of Facebook, the friends manage to find volunteers, who they shoot with a Mayma 645 film camera. "We never," they say, "show faces, or identify images."
So far they’ve captured 600 since 2014, showcasing the individual bottoms on their Instagram account and their personal website – but they hope to one day produce a book of all 1001 images for a “visual poem”.
“The goal was to desexualise the female body and just show its authenticity outside of a sexual aspect,” they told Stylist.
The notion of women’s sexuality and nude body parts being oversexualised rather than seen as something beautiful has been a hot topic of late. From Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful line of “we teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are” in Beyonce’s Flawless song to model-come-actress Emily Ratajkowski asking us to ditch our repressed and puritanical mindset when it comes to women’s breasts.
“It really bothers me that people are so offended by breasts,” she said in an interview with Allure magazine in July.
“That’s when I realised how f**ked our culture is. When we see breasts, we don’t think of beauty and femininity. We think of vulgar, oversexualised images.”
Which is why the pair claim Facebook deleted the project’s fan page two years ago due to its “pornographic content” – which meant they lost 6500 members. And yesterday (13 August) they claimed their posts were once again censored on social media.
“It’s hard to build the online community with nude images. It’s always considered to be obscene content and pornographic images,” they told Stylist.
But the duo still want to achieve their goal, regardless of any set-backs.
“It’s so rare to feel safe with other women we don’t know. It’s our goal to make the woman feel good about herself. The project is not about showing all the things we hate about our bodies, even if we shouldn’t feel that way, but to show the body in a way that feels good and beautiful.”
We’ve reached out to Facebook and Instagram for comment and will update this article accordingly.