petra collins on the beauty of female body hair

redefining standards of femininity

Photo by Carlos Santolalla
The conversation surrounding female body hair and menstruation—topics previously considered taboo and inappropriate for public discussion—has recently bloomed, thanks to a growing number of women redefining what is considered beautiful. Renowned photographer Petra Collins is a figure contributing heavily to this movement, speaking out about the issue in a recent "What's Underneath" video with StyleLikeU, a platform that encourages self-love and expression. 
 
In the video, Collins opens up about her own past struggles with self-image and being influenced by the standards of beauty endorsed by society—all while removing pieces of her clothing to reveal her honest, physical self. While the 22-year-old has always actively encouraged others to embrace their true identities in her career, the video begins with her confession: "As much as I preach self-love, it's still hard to practice it—when it's yourself."
 
Collins shares anecdotes from her own life and the moments when societal definitions of what is feminine had negatively impacted her. She recalls how much she loved to dance (a passion prevented by an injury), and the shock she felt when a former dance teacher told her that her hips were "too wide," so she "could never be a dancer." Collins also shares that her insecurities with self-image augmented in middle school when "the female role models were The Pussycat Dolls and Paris Hilton" and "[OXY Pads] were the thing." Her reflections are easily relatable, and in a statement that many girls probably understand and have also felt, she confesses, "I just did what I was told." Unfortunately, her desire to fit in with society's ideals of female beauty pushed her to becoming victim of an eating disorder.