Jody Steel is an incredible visual artist who uses markers, pens and paints to create stunning works of art, mostly using the human body as the canvas.
For her latest piece, Steel uploaded a video called “Body Image” that depicts her drawing a twisted waist onto her abdomen. The reason: It signifies her battles with a distorted view of her own body over the years.
“There have been times I’ve look[ed] in a mirror and wished for a perfect figure. No matter how much I went to the gym or how little I ate carbs and sugar, I still didn’t see what I imagined was perfect,” Steel wrote on the video she posted on her popular Facebook page.
Over time, she realized that happiness won’t come from forcing her body to be something that it’s not.
“Once I realized that naturally, I don’t have a coke bottle figure, or long and thin legs, I began to let go of the pressures I’ve felt to fulfill an image that our society has deemed the pinnacle of beauty,” she wrote in a comment. “I like to adventure and I love to try new foods — especially if they’re spicy. So let go of your demons and learn to enjoy the things you love in life. You can be healthy and happy. I’ve had this idea for a long time and I’m glad I finally did it!”
Most of the comments were supportive, thanking her for speaking about an issue that is, sadly, so common among women. However, others have called her video into question, saying that she’s trying to justify being unhealthy.
And she wasn’t having it, adding that her commentary wasn’t about “letting yourself go,” but about “letting go” of unhealthy standards.
“I do still work towards goals, but not towards body image goals that are unrealistic for my body type,” she added. “…I’ve set realistic goals for myself and that’s the point. I eat food that makes me happy and go to the gym a healthy amount. There’s a balance. “
This is where I’d add the raised-hands emoji, if I could. Her message is solid, but adding the striking drawing to it really brings the message home.
More: 5 reasons the plus-size fitness craze is long overdue