Have Merkin, Will Protest

Sinead King and Katie O'Brien, aka The Muffia, are British-based, feminist performance artists bent on challenging people's assumptions about beauty and gender roles. And then they flash their merkins.

As Viv Grosken writes for The Guardian:

Under the guise of the Muffia, they started asking questions of their own. Why don't we resent the way the media portrays women? Does no one care that women are mutilating themselves with cosmetic surgery? Why do so few young women know what feminism is?

They started out dressing up to look like the beauty stereotype they decry, and then flashing hairy armpits or their merkins to freak out the folks that are staring; they also dressed up once like construction workers and scratched their balls while heckling men. But their more standard routine goes something like this.

Dressed as the Muffia, they usually stand in the street writing messages on each other's body stockings, such as "Lose a few pounds" and "Eating disorders or a society of disordered eating?" O'Brien explains that their aim is "to use our bodies on the street to generate ideas and engage with people." To this end, O'Brien also once staged a one-woman performance outside Topshop, mixing up a pink concoction and then vomiting it into a bucket, to protest against the prominence of ultra-thin models.

Sometimes, they help people think about feminism and beauty standards while other performances are watched by men that are happy to ogle a couple of attractive women in body stockings. But they say they're not particularly focused on that aspect of it.

Most of all, they want to enjoy themselves. "I feel really liberated by flashing my merkin," laughs King.

Meet The Muffia [The Guardian]

Related: The Muffia