We’re living in an age where our beauty ideals are based on unrealistic and unattainable Photoshopped bodies. London-based artist Jojo Oldham is sick of kowtowing to ideas she will never be able to bring to fruition. So Oldham designed a dress that exhibits 31 years of body image as a result of comments she has received from others.
“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 writes on her website.
She shares that she still wishes her arms were thinner, and her thighs were smaller. But overall, she’s happy with what she’s got. It is strong, healthy and carries her through the activities she loves doing, from dancing to binge-watching The Walking Dead.
The purpose behind creating the dress stems from Oldham’s recent acceptance of her body. The artist says, “The love I have for my body these days is something I’ve had to learn. And it requires constant maintenance.” She expresses how she makes daily valiant efforts to combat her negative thoughts concerning her appearance. This is sometimes hard to do because those thoughts have been present since the first time someone commented on her bodily imperfections at a very young age.
She states, “The nasty things people have said about my appearance don’t upset me anymore, but they have stuck with me, and they have definitely shaped the way I think about myself.”
But now Oldham is at peace with her body. “We are all amazing in our own ways,” Oldham says, “And 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.” What’s important is happiness, and having fun in life. Oldham says, if that means she’s never going to find a pair of denim shorts she feels totally confident wearing, so be it. At least she’s having fun eating, dancing, and being herself.
“We should all be able to celebrate and love ourselves without fear of criticism from others, whatever shape or size we are,” Oldham says.
We couldn’t agree more, Jojo. With confidence and self-love, comes happiness and loving others!
Photography by Lucy Ridges.