By Sharanya Gopinathan
These days, it’s become common to see exhortations to women to love themselves and their bodies. It can be nice, because we also live in a world where women are constantly bombarded with messages, both overt and subtle, that they aren’t good enough and need to look a particular way to be. But sometimes it’s not so nice, like when you see some particularly ridiculous false body-positivity, like Dove’s new campaign featuring body wash bottles in shapes that mimic different kinds of female bodies. When confronted with things like this, it’s excusable if you snap and say that you already love your body very much so please go preach to someone else.
Anyway, whether they’re trying to make money off it, like Dove, or genuinely trying to cancel out some of the horrible effects Western capitalist ideas of beauty have on women, like these artists, women are on the receiving end of lots of different messages on body-positivity. Which is why it’s kind of refreshing to see this queer artist named Melly Em Clark who also creates body-positivity messages for men.
Melly is a UK based illustrator. Her work, that covers a variety of genders, often features really lovely and unexpected images of masculine people of different ages in ways that you just don’t often see them. Some of the images are explicitly body-positive, like this one above, while others just feature men in ways we aren’t used to saying, like depicted as mermen, or with flowers emblazoned on their chests, or accompanied by the words “domestic badasss”. It’s nice that someone acknowledges that men go through body-shaming and image-related issues too, and is trying to depict all kinds of different forms of men, their bodies and their lives. All her work is quite comforting actually, just scrolling through her Instagram page is a really relaxing exercise in itself. Plus, it drives home the point that smashing the patriarchy helps everyone 🙂