Would women feel more comfortable with their figures if clothes were modelled on more common and realistic women than the perceived perfect body? Here’s the answer.
Let’s face it. Regardless of our size, which woman among us didn’t hate standing in front of the mirror sometimes, and only saw the ‘imperfections’ instead of her body as a whole?
Lithuanian photographer Neringa Rekasiute and the journalist Beata Tiskevic make us reflect on this issue through WE.WOMEN – an exhibition which pays homage to the acceptance of women’s bodies.
To achieve this, they chose 12 women plagued by long-term low body-esteem due to the disease or criticisms from their surroundings. The selected women came from diverse age groups and morphologies, and had experienced difficulties, such as anorexia, bulimia, breast cancer, depression. They were asked to pose in underwear in front of a mirror. The photos were all accompanied by a caption of the model’s story and exhibited in Lithuania.
The 12 women expose their beautiful but familiar bodies to encourage women to love their reflection and stop being shy about their normal bodies. As Neringa says, “we wanted to inspire women to accept and love their bodies as they are: with all the inner and outer scars. And we believe that by doing so one can release a lot of energy and use it for what really matters: self-discovery”.
This is a good way to highlight the extent to which body image acceptance and self-esteem are intertwined and, consequently, the importance of fighting against the unrealistic beauty standards advocated by the media and our society.
INDSAY POUI-DI, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2014
What is a beautiful woman? Our media is full of images, attempting to construct what a perfect woman should look like. Sexualisation and standartisation of a female body in the media have direct negative consequences in the society. Objectivisation of body encourages the society to focus on physical appearance of women instead of embracing their personality and inner feelings. As a consequence, about half of women are dissatisfied with their bodies, which leads to a number of psychological and health problems.
Three Lithuanian women – actress and TV hostess Beata Tiškevič, photographer Neringa Rekašiūtė and communications specialist Modesta Kairytė – decided to protest against the distorted female image in mass media by launching the social project “We.Women”. This project seeks to inspire women to accept and love their bodies as they are: with all their inner and outer scars.
In the middle of October twelve brave women were asked to open up – tell their story and be photographed only in their underwear. Each woman shared her hurtful and profound stories; they fought with physical and mental experiences such as fat-shaming, skinny- shaming, vitiligo, anorexia, bulimia, depression, self-harm and breast cancer.
“This project showed us lots of deep scars in our society,” says Neringa.
Lithuania is usually praised for beautiful women and women are forced to keep up with the standard. This fosters permanent female dissatisfaction with their body and poor self- esteem, therefore, it was necessary to speak up about these issues.
“Media tends to sell the perfect woman image which is one dimensional and usually photoshopped. Yes, we are perfect, with all our stories, scars and experiences,” says Modesta.
Beata emphasises that we tend to forget that “we are not only our body – the body is only form rather than content”.
When the project idea and invitation for women to participate was posted by Beata on her Facebook profile, women from all over Lithuania started writing and telling their stories. After reading all of them, 12 women were chosen to participate in the project. As Neringa says, “it was a healing experience for all the participants and so inspiring for us all. We still keep in touch, help and advise one another, and we feel very bonded and strong”.
This social project was enthusiastically greeted in Lithuania, followed by the great interest from the Lithuanian media and society.
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