Photography: Cassandra Cacheiro
In the crazy world of the internet, safe spaces for women to discuss their experiences comfortably are hard to come by. On every Tumblr and secret Facebook group, there’s a legion of trolls waiting to pounce every time a woman shares a story about her period. That’s why photographer Cassandra Cacheiro and Sara Hini have created The Womanhood Project, offering women across the globe the opportunity to share everything from their darkest secrets to what they ate for lunch. A platform that provides space for visual content and dialogue through photography and interviews, The Womanhood Project is all about shining a light on the sometimes bleak realities of being a girl, without focusing solely on all the pretty stuff.
“We wanted to talk about the taboos women face on a daily basis,” they said. “The general media rarely talks about subjects like body hair, body fat, menstruation, gender, depression, etc. […] These are things all women go through and we wanted to give them the opportunity to tell their stories with no filter.”
Currently in Montreal, Cacheiro and Hini photograph different female creatives and ask them questions about their life. These portraits illuminate the universality of the female experience while also representing each subject’s personal struggle.
“It’s important to create visual content that will challenge mentality and show things simply as they are,” they explained. “All kinds of women opened up on their realities. Each of them were photographed in their own environment depicting who they really are in the most personal and natural way possible. […] They tell their stories like they want, with transparency—there is no limit to what they can write and that’s what we wanted.”
Not only a place for women to speak freely, The Womanhood Project also reimagines our current cultural tendency to present only the most perfect images of ourselves, depicting women’s bodies as they really are. Cacheiro presents her subjects with all their imperfections, pushing back against oppressive beauty standards and shallow notions of what it means to be a woman.
“We’re still seeing too many photoshopped models in the media and it’s still affecting women in a very bad way,” they said. “I think it’s super important for a woman to be able to open a website, their Instagram or whatever, and read an interview/see photos and recognize herself in what she is seeing and reading—there’s not enough of that out there and there will never be.”
For Hini and Cacheiro, that’s what The Womanhood Project is really about.
“It’s more than necessary to diversify our photographic culture,” they added. “This is how we consume media and this kind of project is another way to bring some diversity in terms of images and stories.”
Through The Womanhood Project, Hini and Cacheiro hope to expand cultural perspectives about the female identity, and more importantly, give all woman both a voice, and face.
“We want it to be normal for people to see stretch marks, menstrual blood, fat bodies, body hair,” they said. “It needs to be normalized because that’s what’s real—that’s what we’re all actually like.”
View Cassandra’s photos, above, and visit The Womanhood Project, here.