This artist created a dress painted with all the comments people have said about her body
Artist Jojo Oldham knew she wanted to create a powerful work of art to mark the milestone she had officially, at age 31, learned how to respect her body.
"Ever since people started commenting on my appearance (so from the age of about 6), those comments have stuck with me and will pop into my mind when I'm getting dressed or when I catch sight of whatever piece of me they were commenting on," Oldham, who lives in London, said in an interview. "As I got older and those comments have swirled round and round my head, it dawned on me just how many different things people have said to me about my body and I knew I had to turn it into a piece of art."
At first, she thought about merely painting the statements onto a canvas, but then thought of a more creative approach. Why not paint the comments on a dress, so people can see the comments people have made about her body on those body parts?
And so, in 2014, Oldham began to paint on a tight white dress, writing things like "hubba hubba," "stunning," "so sexy," in big bubble letters and bright colors. There are the words "Great rack" across her breasts and "On fire" across her back. She finished the dress this year after, as she says, "a couple of men in a white van wound down the window and told me I had a massive arse while I was out for a jog. Lovely!"
In a stunning set of images, Oldham proudly wears the dress, which reaches all the way to the floor.
"I think it takes confidence to make something so personal, and I've finally reached that point in my life where I love and respect my body and I like who I am," Oldham said. "That's not to say I think I'm perfect or that I think I look amazing, but I've accepted my natural body shape and I no longer want to feel pressured to be a certain size."
"In the past I would have felt embarrassed to make such an honest piece because I felt there was truth in the negative things people have said about me, but now I don't feel that need to fight my body and try and make it fit a mould that it clearly wasn't made to fit."
The dress calls to mind the jumpsuit that Amber Rose wore to the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, which was painted with all the slurs that had been thrown at her through the years, from "slut" to "gold digger." Although Oldham says she hadn't seen Rose's outfit before now, the sentiment is similar: For some women, harassment is an everyday experience, and it can be taxing.
"Often we look at people who seem to be confident and think they mustn't have any worries or hang ups about their bodies, but really I think most of us are going through the same things and battling the same demons, so if we could all just be a little kinder to each other and think before opening our mouths it would make everyone's lives easier," Oldham said.
You can check out more images of Oldham's dress here.