When it comes to our bodies, it seems like everyone has something to say. Even when those remarks are “positive,” they can make us feel like crap— especially since we aren’t asking people for their constant judgment. Plus when the comments are negative, they can lead to a lifelong body-image struggle. That’s why Jojo Oldham, a designer from the U.K., decided to do something about all the things people have said about her body over the years.
She took all the phrases—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and painted them onto a white dress. By wearing and owning them, not only does she looks like a total badass, but she also proves that we are way more then what what people say about our bodies:
You’ll notice that there are both nice (“stunning”) and nasty (“porky”) remarks, and that’s part of what makes it so powerful.
“I’ve reached a point in my life where I finally feel at peace with my body. I still long to be in just one photo wearing a sleeveless top where my upper arms don’t look like giant hams. Or to find a pair of denim shorts that my thighs don’t bulge out of like sausage meat making a desperate escape from the confines of its casing. But I am very happy with my lot. I’m healthy (cross fingers touch wood), strong, and have a body that enables me to do all the things I love (dance, walk, wear tropical print jumpsuits, fling kettlebells around, and sit on my arse watching back to back episodes of The Walking Dead). So what if my upper arms continue waving long after my hand has stopped? Those same upper arms enable me to carry massive boxes all by myself, punch punchbags really hard, and wave my arms in the air like I just don’t care for a really long time.
I respect my body and I look after it. Occasionally I test its limits by trying to cram too much pizza or wine into it, or dancing a bit too enthusiastically, but on the whole we’re good. I’ve stopped treating exercise as a means of bullying my body into fitting into things it’s never going to fit into. Now I exercise in celebration of it, not in battle with it.”
Oldham also opens up about her own body-image struggles:
“The urge to delete unflattering photos of myself is overwhelming, even when they represent really happy moments which I never want to forget. I had an absolute blast at my wedding. I felt on top of the world and my husband and I loved every minute. But when I first looked at my photos, my stomach lurched. My eyes skipped past the smiling face, knockout dress and movie star hair and all I could see were chins and bellies. Everywhere. I had a go at myself for not sucking my tummy in more and not learning to smile in a more photogenic way when I’m ecstatically happy. Then I got over it. Turns out that when I’m having the best day ever my chins come out. All three of them. And frankly who can blame them. It was one heck of a party.”
Her message is one we can all get on board with— loving your body is not easy, but we all deserve to love the person we are right now:
“I’d rather be the me that isn’t afraid to go out or to eat the cheese or drink the wine or do the running man at wholly inappropriate times, than the me who’s half a stone lighter. And if that means I’m never going to find a pair of denim shorts I feel great in, and that my arms are probably always going to look like giant hams in photos, then I’m good with that. Because we should all be able to celebrate and love ourselves without fear of criticism from others, whatever shape or size we are.”