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  • Writer's pictureMia

Mental Health Allyship

Hi! I’m Mia, the feminist illustrator behind @shardstudios on Instagram. About a year and a half ago I began a project called the #RealBodiesProject, a celebration of the fullness of the female form. All their lives, women have received messages telling them to cover up their curvaceousness, to be ashamed of being fat, to aspire to be as thin as possible.

A few years ago, I was ill and became dangerously underweight. It was the weakest and unhealthiest I have ever been, yet people focused only on my weight, telling me how great I looked. It made me uncomfortable to receive praise when I was at my most unhealthy. It bothered me to see how normal it was for people to equate thinness with health and success while women with fuller bodies were regularly being derided for being unhealthy and lazy.

I wanted to convey the beauty I see in the fuller woman to counter the negative attitudes around body shape that women are subjected to daily. I hope people will appreciate the beauty that I see in roundness, and I hope they will think, “Hey, she kinda looks like me or someone I care about.” I want people to accept and celebrate the bodies they have rather than compromising their physical and mental health to achieve impossible standards of beauty.

I have met some truly amazing people who have helped me go further in my illustration

career than I ever thought was possible. My art became my activism and also helped me get better. I also discovered that helping others was one of the best things I could do for myself because it brought so much positivity back into my life. Thanks to the wonderful people I met through my work, I found the courage to apply to join the Our Streets Now team and help bring about positive change and empowerment for women and girls across the country.

I’m Mia, a self taught illustrator and designer based in Brighton. I am passionate about advocating for equality for all genders, ethnicities and abilities. I am new to the Our Streets Now team and excited to play a part in making public spaces safer for women and girls.

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