Claiming Venus explores my relationship with my body and my experience with body dysmorphia. The project comprises three chapters: Before, During, and The Road To After. Together they take the viewer through my journey to understand myself. The first chapter, Before, investigates what has influenced me to feel this way about my body, whether it be from my family or how women are portrayed in the media. The second chapter, During, is my attempt to show how my body dysmorphia currently makes me feel and how confusing it can be. Finally the third chapter, The Road To After, is where I depict myself in a light of self acceptance and defiance of the societal standards placed upon women. Within my images I utilize various photographic techniques in order to portray the lens in which I see my body, which is often distorted. I use many photographic and conceptual techniques in order to speak to the confusion I often feel when perceiving myself, and the various ways in which I do so.
My images are accompanied by poems that I have written as another form of self exploration. These verses emphasize that it is ok to not like your body in its current state, but it is important not to equate that to your self worth. Bodies are always changing and that is natural, which is another main point I want to be evident in the work. With this work I am shutting down the notion of the “ideal” body type for women. I hope this work educates people about the daily struggle of worrying about my health, body image, diet, etc. I want my viewers to be able to relate in some capacity to my work and find comfort in knowing that they aren’t alone, and that there is someone advocating for them, with them.
Body dysmorphia extends to all genders, however I chose to focus on the female perspective because it is the closest to my experiences. I hope to use these images to rebel against what society says a woman's body should look like, but also to reveal the effect that expectation still has on me and many other women. The perception of my body as seen by others is constantly on my mind and can control my life, which I know holds true for other women as well. I’m doing this project, despite the difficulties that come along with it, for myself, to spite my childhood bullies, to crush the patriarchy, and for anyone else who feels my pain. I don’t wish to redefine the definition of beauty, I am here to claim my own.