My design concept uses self reflection through mirrors and the naked, natural body to respond to the typical images in the media that tell us what our bodies "should" look like. The mirror holds the insecurities that these images foster, and is telling the person looking into it that they are wrong every time they think they need to change something about themselves. This project is defending the true and natural self by literally facing negative beauty stereotypes head on and challenging them.
I’ve watched people that I love starve themselves, hide themselves, scar themselves, tell themselves they need butt/boob implants, tell themselves their hairlines aren’t right, convince themselves they are ugly because they have a stomach without abs, not wear shorts in the summer because their thighs are too big, schedule surgeries to get smaller pecks, save money to get a nose job, feel ashamed of their natural hair and more.
Everything written on the mirror are things that I have heard people I love saying about themselves. People who are beautiful, but don’t think that they are enough. Not small enough, not big enough, not pretty/sexy enough because somebody told them so. Society tells us that our natural bodies are never good enough. We are told and reminded everyday through images and messages that we need to “fix” them, cover them, or alter them in so many ways. These ideas are destructive, dangerous, and not true. It makes me sad to see beautifully unique people trying to alter the features of their bodies that make them unique. People were meant to look different. Embrace what makes you special, don’t destroy it to try to replicate fake images from the media.
The title of this project is meant to spark that fighting spirit and get people ready to defend themselves. That defensive feeling is the energy that I am trying to redirect. Take that feeling and defend yourself. Defend your body. Defend your natural, true self to those who tell you you’re not good enough. And for those who believe they aren’t good enough, you’re wrong.
In the aftermath of this project, all were supportive of the message, but several guys expressed to me that they saw this as a women’s issue, something that men don’t deal with. In fact, half of this project was based on male insecurities and half on female insecurities from those around me. I think it is important to recognize that body positivity is not just an issue for girls, and is not a problem that was created by just guys. Females have recently found an empowering, loud voice that they are encouraged to use to speak out against injustices. On the other hand, in my personal experience, men are often silenced when it comes to issues like these and ridiculed when they speak out about body positivity for themselves. I’d like this project to serve as a reminder that we should all be more accepting of everyone’s natural bodies in an equal manner.