For many of us women, comments, whether good or bad, about our appearance are nothing new. A compliment can brighten our mood, whereas an insult can completely ruin our day. The power of words has both a positive and negative impact on our sense of selves.
But for most of us, it's the negative words that stick. The insults we receive about our bodies run through our heads over and over again. They did for JoJo Oldham. And she decided to do something about it, turning these words into art.
Taking all the things people have said about her appearance over the years, the 31-year-old artist decided to paint a white, slightly see-through, skintight dress, full of both negative and positive words and phrases.
Why create a dress that shows the "good, bad and ugly"? It's a reminder of how far London-based Oldham has come in her journey of self-acceptance and reclaiming the criticism she has received in the form of art.
"This piece isn't an attack on anybody. It's not a vanity project, or a pity party. I'm not trying to make people feel sorry for me just because somebody once told me I have thunder thighs, weird knees, sausage fingers and minging teeth," Oldham wrote on her blog. "I've reached a point in my life where I finally feel at peace with my body."
In the post, JoJo talks about how even though she still longs to wear "a sleeveless top where my upper arms don't look like giant hams," she is happy with herself and respects her body.
"The love I have for my body these days is something I’ve had to learn, and it requires constant maintenance," Oldham wrote. "Most of the thoughts that creep into my head uninvited are negative. I bat them swiftly away, but they still keep coming."
Even thought she may not be able to completely let the "the nasty things people have said about my appearance" go, Oldham credits those moments for shaping the way she thinks about herself now.
"I think it’s a massive shame that we waste so much time thinking badly of ourselves and knocking each other down, when we could all collectively decide to end this madness once and for all," she notes.
The main goal of the dress is for everyone to learn to accept their bodies and be who they are, regardless of the comments they've received about their appearance over the years.
"We’ve all got better, more important and more fun things to think and talk about than whether our shoulders are too broad or our legs too skinny, our eyes too far apart or our knees too knobbly," the artist wrote. "We should all be able to celebrate and love ourselves without fear of criticism from others, whatever shape or size we are."
Oldham's creation is reminiscent of Amber Rose and Blac Chyna's anti-slut shaming bodysuits worn to the MTV VMAs in 2015.
"We just wanted to paint a picture of what everybody already says about us," Blac Chyna said of the one-pieces which featured the words "whore," "slut" and "stripper" painted overtop.
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