Photo Essays

November 3, 2016

Wiping Off Society’s Expectations

Co-written by Jenn Gordon and Sierra Connell-Ludwig

“Put some makeup on that face!”

 “Your stomach is so huge, get your fat self to the gym!”

 “You’re really letting your hair look like that?”

 “Why did you wear that today?”

 She’s been with me my whole life, through the good times and the bad. Providing me solace and defenses for when I get scared. Digging into me so I don’t become egotistical and wearing me down into this insecure woman who exudes false confidence. She’s my enemy and my friend – she is my ‘inner critic’.

The opening statements are just some of the things my ‘inner critic’ says to me…correction…that I’ve allowed her to say to me.  I’ve given in because in truth it’s easier; I’ve grown accustomed to her taunts and body shaming, and in a twisted sense feel comfortable in this state of being, rather than accepting myself for all my attributes, yet that feels too foreign. But, how did she get this way? How did I allow myself to let her get this way?

 There are so many outside forces at hand which try to penetrate your being and mold you into what you think you should be. Loved ones telling you to skip a meal or suggest possible surgery that can get you a more defined look. Advertisements for the latest and greatest fashions, touchups for your eyes, face, lips, and even your entire body. And how-to’s on covering up those ‘embarrassing blemishes’ or ‘fine-lines and wrinkles’ because we can’t express age. There are fads upon fads on how to lose those extra 10lbs and ‘magic’ supplements that will ‘shed the fluff’ without any exercise! Photographs, magazines, commercials of photo-shopped men and women beguile us into thinking that we as a society must epitomize this to be accepted. We place this thought process on an ever swaying pedestal, hoping that one day it’ll come crashing down and we can finally just be without fear of ridicule or judgement – from our self or others.

That is what this shoot is about – taking back your love for yourself. Capturing the difference between the world’s expectation of beauty and the natural beauty within each of us that we are so scared to show. To provide real role models to the children in our society; the ones with smile lines from laughing so much, with curves from enjoying food with friends and family, and not plastic figurines that are filled with more silicone and Botox than a doll. It is okay to age, to own your body and to not be like the women and men that are on magazines or advertisements because we are good enough just the way we are. To get there though, we as women need to believe in ourselves and cradle that inner critic, but not give in. We must own our natural beauty and let others see it, because we are good enough.

Photography by Lp photography (

Makeup by Paula Delfino

Models: Mona Chen, Victoria Lopez, Sierra Connell-Ludwig, Jenn Gordon

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