The Female Body
Updated: Jan 25, 2022
'The Female Body" is a film photography editorial that celebrates the strength, beauty, and resiliency of the female body. It is a body of work that is inspired by every scar, dimple, and curve that women call home. It is grounded in the beauty of our diversity and unique differences. It celebrates the inherent struggle to find solitude within and learning how to be softer with ourselves by evoking feelings and conversations of gratitude and self-love for the personal, societal, and political hardships women's bodies have undergone and withstood throughout the test of time.
Shot On: 1978 Pentax ME Super, 35mm, Kodak Portra 400
Location: Toronto, ON
Photographer & Creative Director: Nikki Dicunto Production Design & Creative Direction: Gabby Bevilacqua
Muses: Chantelle Blagrove, Gabby Bevilacqua, Priya Chahal, Lisa Kim and Emily Veall
Initially, “The Female Body” started with a group of strangers who agreed to take part in a photo shoot inspired by the body intended to celebrate their home, which ended in a group of women empowered to share their stories of hardship and perseverance in finding self-love and defining what body-positivity is against sociopolitical normative ideals that lead to ongoing objectification and oppression of the female body. While sitting around a harvest table with good food and cheap wine, we began discussing the omnipresence of unrealistic body standards - standards that force upon us the belief that we need to be, look or feel a certain way. That we should inherently love our selves for all our unique differences; for every imperfection, flaw, and blemish; all of the time.
Our bodies are our canvases that tell our story to the world. No two are a like; driven by the intersectionality of our lived experience. That is one of the most beautiful things about being human - we are all uniquely ourselves and no one can ever take that away. Our differences, however, can concretely set us apart from one another. What makes us different are often things that we have been told or taught ashamed of leading to cascading thoughts of self-rumination and doubt. Even though today body positive and self-love standards are the loudest they have ever been, we still face an inability to find accessible nude colour apparel that celebrates the beauty and diversity of skin tones and affordable sizing to fit each and every curve.
So, what was the take-away from our honest discussion about the ideals of full-formed and all-encompassing self-love and body positivity? Are they truly realistic?
Ultimately, even these well-intended ideas have the potential to evoke feelings of shame around our own individual experience of not loving every piece of ourselves each and every single day; for not always treating ourselves kindly. Curated lifestyles, both on and offline, can lead us to believe both implicit and explicit sociopolitical biases attached to the normative conceptual ideals of 100% self-love and body positivity - that once you’ve mastered it, the feeling will last forever. These experiences can influence our understanding and experience of self through continued reinforcement of false narratives grounded in patriarchal social beliefs, misogynistic beauty standards, and ongoing white cultural hegemony that do not celebrate or accept the intersectionality of our personhood. This is not to discredit how far we have come but rather to evoke critical self-reflection of the work that is still ahead. Through self-reflection we can come to understand how we ourselves may be complicit in a way that nurtures self-compassion for where we are in the present moment. By doing so, we can move the dial away from self-blame and feel empowered to recognize and address the complexity of self-love and body-positivity in order to continue to move the dial forward.
Body positivity is an evolving experience of self that is all-encompassing — of mind, body, and soul. It is apart of our internal world as well as the world the around us. It is an intricate process that holds our ability to be vulnerable at its core. It's a life-long journey that is built on understanding, empathy, and compassion for the hard moments, and a joyous embrace for the good. As we grow and evolve, our perception of it grows with us.
So, no matter how far along you are on your journey we want you to know that you are not alone. And, wherever you stand or wherever you may be — we are proud of you.