14 photos that show what women really look like when they laugh

Women laughing thumb
Maud Fernhout put her photography skills to work to celebrate how women look when they’re laughing like no one’s watching. Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography

The INSIDER Summary:

• Maud Fernhout took photos of women laughing out loud for a photo series she calls “What Real Woman Laugh Like.”
• She wanted to show women laughing naturally as opposed to stiff smiles often seen on models.
• She hopes to encourage women not to hold back or be embarrassed of their laugh.


Maud Fernhout wants women to laugh. Not just giggle quietly, or chuckle with their hands over their mouth. She wants full-bodied, scrunchy-faced expressions of joy.

An anthropology and psychology major at University College Utrecht, she’s found that a lot of women are embarassed of what they look or sound like when they find something hilarious.

In her photo series called “What Real Women Laugh Like,” Fernhout put her photography skills to work to combat the stigma and celebrate how women look when they’re not thinking about how they look at all.

[slideshow]
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title=”Maud Fernhout is a 20-year-old student at University College Utrecht, originally from Amsterdam.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d29/image.jpg”
source=”Maud Fernhout Photography/Facebook”
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[slide
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title=”She’d been doing photography work for about a year when she started thinking about topics tied into social issues that she wanted to tackle.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d2a/image.jpg”
source=”Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography”
caption=”Andrea, 19: ‘Proud to be happy. Proud to be human. Proud of my laughter. Proud to be a woman.'”
credit_href=”http://www.maudfernhout.com/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#a-true-feminist-at-heart-the-one-dimensional-and-objectified-portrayal-of-women-in-media-came-to-mind-pretty-quick-she-said-3″
title=”‘A true feminist at heart, the one-dimensional and objectified portrayal of women in media came to mind pretty quick,’ she said.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d2b/image.jpg”
source=”Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography”
caption=”Emma, 19: ‘As the camera was pointed at my face I suddenly became aware of every single muscle one uses to truly laugh out loud.'”
credit_href=”http://www.maudfernhout.com/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#fernhout-decided-to-photograph-women-laughing-out-loud-naturally-to-oppose-the-stiff-emotionless-look-we-often-see-on-models-with-one-full-of-character-and-individuality-4″
title=”Fernhout decided to photograph women laughing out loud naturally ‘to oppose the stiff, emotionless look we often see on models with one full of character and individuality.'”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d2c/image.jpg”
source=”Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography”
caption=”Daan, 19: ‘Laughter carries no judgements or presumptions; it is an unbeatable force.'”
credit_href=”http://www.maudfernhout.com/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#she-called-the-project-what-real-woman-laugh-like-5″
title=”She called the project ‘What Real Woman Laugh Like.'”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d2d/image.jpg”
source=”Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography”
caption=”Emma, 20: ‘I think if any force can break the claustrophobic box of civility, it is the force of child-like laughter.'”
credit_href=”http://www.maudfernhout.com/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#fernhout-asked-her-subjects-to-come-in-pairs-or-groups-so-that-they-would-be-less-nervous-6″
title=”Fernhout asked her subjects to come in pairs or groups so that they would be less nervous.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d2e/image.jpg”
source=”Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography”
caption=”Heleen, 22: ‘I read somewhere that dogs show their teeth to warn you not to mess with them. My laugh sometimes works the same.'”
credit_href=”http://www.maudfernhout.com/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#then-id-just-talk-with-them-and-laugh-with-them-naturally-or-put-some-weird-youtube-videos-on-she-said-7″
title=”‘Then I’d just talk with them and laugh with them naturally or put some weird Youtube videos on,’ she said.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d2f/image.jpg”
source=”Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography”
caption=”Jenny, 20: ‘…it was surprisingly liberating to be photographed laughing, at that moment I was completely free from thinking how I looked for the camera.'”
credit_href=”http://www.maudfernhout.com/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#if-that-didnt-work-she-asked-them-to-fake-laugh-until-they-began-laughing-at-themselves-8″
title=”If that didn’t work, she asked them to fake laugh until they began laughing at themselves.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d30/image.jpg”
source=”Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography”
caption=”Larissa, 20: ‘Keep calm and laugh like crazy.'”
credit_href=”http://www.maudfernhout.com/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#fernhout-feels-that-there-is-still-a-stigma-surrounding-the-way-women-express-joy-9″
title=”Fernhout feels that there is still a stigma surrounding the way women express joy.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d31/image.jpg”
source=”Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography”
caption=”Liedeke, 19: ‘Laugh as if no one is around and don’t worry too much about what others think.'”
credit_href=”http://www.maudfernhout.com/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#this-leads-women-to-suppress-their-laughter-or-cover-their-faces-with-their-hands-something-she-says-men-dont-do-as-often-10″
title=”This leads women to suppress their laughter or cover their faces with their hands, something she says men don’t do as often.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d32/image.jpg”
source=”Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography”
caption=”Mariana, 23: ‘I won’t quit laughing, dreaming, or fighting to become someone else’s ideal.'”
credit_href=”http://www.maudfernhout.com/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#just-picture-your-brother-dad-or-any-other-male-figure-in-your-life-laughing-loudly-with-their-hands-in-front-of-their-faces-she-said-11″
title=”‘Just picture your brother, dad, or any other male figure in your life, laughing loudly with their hands in front of their faces,’ she said.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d33/image.jpg”
source=”Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography”
caption=”Laura, 18: ‘In my opinion, laughing makes my face one big wrinkle, but at least it makes my insides feel all warm and lovely, and that’s what matters.'”
credit_href=”http://www.maudfernhout.com/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#she-hopes-the-series-will-encourage-other-women-not-to-hold-back-12″
title=”She hopes the series will encourage other women not to hold back.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d34/image.jpg”
source=”Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography”
caption=”Sita, 19: ‘If you can make me laugh like this, we must become friends.'”
credit_href=”http://www.maudfernhout.com/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#i-feel-there-is-a-discrepancy-when-girls-are-simultaneously-told-to-smile-but-not-laugh-she-said-13″
title=”‘I feel there is a discrepancy when girls are simultaneously told to smile, but not laugh,’ she said.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d35/image.jpg”
source=”Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography”
caption=”Renee, 25: ‘When I find myself focusing overmuch on future happiness, I try to remind myself that the things you do daily – not once in a while – give you joy in life.'”
credit_href=”http://www.maudfernhout.com/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#it-makes-us-feel-that-teeth-and-wrinkles-are-not-feminine-are-not-beautiful-14″
title=”‘It makes us feel that teeth and wrinkles are not feminine, are not beautiful.'”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d36/image.jpg”
source=”Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography”
caption=”Saar, 21: ‘When I’m laughing, I forget who I was, and know who I am.'”
credit_href=”http://www.maudfernhout.com/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#well-here-are-some-girls-who-will-show-you-different-15″
title=”‘Well, here are some girls who will show you different.'”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/584974c2dd08953b448b4d37/image.jpg”
source=”Courtesy Maud Fernhout Photography”
caption=”Mariana, 22: ‘I have no filter, so why would my laugh?'”
credit_href=”http://www.maudfernhout.com/”
]
[/slideshow]