As women, we must constantly fight Western culture’s message that our bodies are inherently flawed and that we need to spend our lifetime buying products in order to make them “acceptable.” We are so galvanized by all of the women who have come together on the front lines in this battle against these profit-driven, hate-inducing beauty norms.
Petra Collins, with her sorry-not-sorry images of feminine sexuality, is among one of the strongest warriors in this fight. In our new What’s Underneath episode, the photographer reveals how she failed (rebelled against) her high school photography classes due to how their curriculum incorporated the patriarchal status quo. “I had this guy teacher who told me that my cheesy photos of my half-clothed friends were ‘unacceptable,’ but then he told this other dude ‘good job’ for taking sexy photos of girls boxing each other.” Petra explained. That “male-gazey” culture fed her little else besides Paris Hilton, the Pussycat Dolls, CosmoGirl, and Seventeen, causing her to hate the skin that she was in. “I needed to program myself to feel comfortable with my body,” Petra realized, “so I stopped shaving my body hair. Women buy things everyday to get rid of something that naturally grows on our bodies.”
By creating “images that aren’t being shown,” Petra now shows generations of women that menstruation isn’t the advertised shameful blue dot and that waxing off all of your hair (as if you were a prepubescent girl for life) isn’t synonymous with beauty. You can help take down society’s airbrushed perceptions of periods, body hair, and beauty by sharing Petra’s journey with your friends and loved ones.
With warmth and love,
Elisa + Lily
Check out Petra's new book, Babe
Follow her on Instagram: @petrafcollins
Follow her on Twitter: @petracollins
Follow her on Tumblr
Petra's video was edited by Andrea Cruz
What's Underneath is produced by Elisa, Lily, & Mona