I was beaming from ear to ear this morning when I read about the We.Women project initiated by three Lithuanian women to protest against the distorted images of women in mass media. Actress Beata Tiškevič, photographer Neringa Rekašiūtė, and communications specialist Modesta Kairytė launched the project in order to inspire women to accept and love their bodies as they are: “with all their inner and outer scars.”
Objectifying the body encourages society to focus on the physical appearances of women instead of embracing their personalities and feelings. As a consequence, about 50% women are dissatisfied with their bodies, which leads to a number of psychological and health problems, says the project’s website.
The project’s aim was to question what constitutes a beautiful woman. In October, twelve brave women were asked to be photographed looking at themselves in the mirror in only their underwear. Each woman was also asked to share her story: whether it was fighting with physical and mental trauma, anorexia, bulimia, vitiligo, depression, self-harm or breast cancer, or being confronted with fat-shaming or skinny-shaming. As Rekašiūtė says, “it was a healing experience for all the participants and so inspiring for us. We still keep in touch, help and advise one another, and we feel very bonded and strong.”
What the project ultimately showed was the existence of many deep scars in our society, says Rekašiūtė. Lithuania is usually praised for its beautiful women and this puts pressure on women to keep up with the ‘standard.’
“The media tends to sell the perfect image of a woman which is one dimensional and usually Photoshopped. Yes, we are perfect, with all our stories, scars, and experiences,” says Kairytė. Tiškevič emphasizes that we tend to forget that “we are not only our body – the body is only form rather than content.”
I try to look at myself naked in the mirror every day. It is not for vanity; it is for the exact same reason the We.Women project was launched. It is for confronting and accepting my body as it is. This is so important when we live in a society that ultimately tells us to hate our bodies (and believe me, I’m also tempted to click on articles which tell me how to get the body of a Victoria’s Secret Angel). Let’s give fat and skinny shaming a rest and let’s aim to only measure our bodies by standards of health. Grab a tape measure and find out if your waist is in the healthy range for your height and if it’s not, embark on a healthy eating and fitness regime to be strong and healthy, not look like a Victoria’s Secret model. And remember, we were born short or tall and with the particular body shape we have. We shouldn’t be trying to change it, just nourishing it in a way that makes us feel good on the inside and outside. Go on, try it. Strip in front of the mirror and accept your body. #We.Women.
Check out some of the beautiful images below:
All images from neringark.com/projects/photography/we-women.