Too woman. – By @bellwoodart
By Elle Bellwood
Being a young woman life is difficult to navigate. Having been brought up in a world full of social media and tabloids you are constantly being exploited images of what the world sees as ‘perfect’.
I remember at the age of 9 asking my mum if I could start shaving my legs, dye my hair blonde and own a push up bra because that’s what my idols were doing. I remember flicking through Vogue and Elle magazines fixated on the models’ clear dewy skin, bouncy hair, long slender legs and flat stomachs (we are talking about an era where low waisted jeans were in).
If I don’t look like that I am not beautiful. Thats all I ever remember thinking.
Skip forward a few years and I am in year 8, the tender age of 12. In the playground the girls and I were talking to some of the boys in the year above and one went to me.
‘I could never date anyone with longer arm hair than me.’
So that night I went home and shaved my arms.
At the age of 12 I believed I had to be completely hairless. Which is shocking. I also thought I had to change my appearance to please a man. Which is WORSE. I feel sorry for teenage Elle Bellwood. More importantly, I feel so sorry for ALL teenage girls. Often feeling completely unworthy, ugly and unlovable.
Now in 2020 woman are expected to have tiny waists, thick thighs and identical eyebrows.
It just isn’t achievable.
(Slightly hypocritical of me as my last SCAB was all about what we could learn from the Kardashians. However, when Kim was introduced to the headlines it was refreshing to see a 5’2 curvy woman in the spotlight.)
In terms of how beauty and fashion is marketed. It shameful. High fashion brands have yet to introduce curvier models. Cosmetic lines have yet to use people with medical acne. And HALLELUJAH we’ve only just started to show REAL hair in shaving campaigns.
I always feel myself being drawn to work on campaigns that are directed towards children. I look at my female friends and we are damaged. We want to change the way we look, but why? Is this because of the beauty and fashion industry? Or because we grew up watching Disney princesses finding their prince charming with 22inch waists?
The whole thing pisses me off.
It’s not just beauty. It’s all the stories we tell young girls.
‘You need to find a husband.’
‘If he’s mean to you, it means he fancies you.’
‘He’s doing it cause he’s a boy.’
‘Don’t spread your legs it’s not very lady like.’
I want this to stop.
Going back to being drawn to campaigns for children. I hope with my work one day I will be able to create a more positive and nurturing environment for children. Where they can fully explore themselves. Look how they want to look and be who they want to be.
More importantly I want young girls to feel they are enough. To do things because they want to. And to shove two fingers up to men because they don’t define us.
To all the women. Bellwood. X