Shea Glover's "People React To Being Called Beautiful" Project Captures Raw Moments Of Body Positivity
Although this viral video was produced six months ago, student and artist Shea Glover's social experiment "People React To Being Called Beautiful" has recently been gaining popularity and press for its heartwarming message. The format is simple, but works perfectly: Glover asked students and teachers at her school — most of whom she didn't know personally — if she could take their picture for an undisclosed project. While recording, she told them the purpose of her work: She was "taking pictures of things I find beautiful," as she noted in video's description.
In the video summary, Glover pointed out that her purpose wasn't to get a reaction out of people. Instead, she was "simply filming beauty and this is the result."
The intent is a noble one. In seeing people's reactions to being told they're beautiful, we can learn a lot about that individual as well as about society. Although Glover's video project doesn't go out of its way to make a point about humanity or beauty, the subjects' reactions speak for themselves. Instead of forcing her own notions about positivity and perceptions of beauty onto others, what Glover has managed with this piece is to allow the people in it to speak for themselves.
What I love about this piece is that many of the subjects' reactions are so similar to one another — from disbelief to smiling to appreciation. The honesty of people's reactions is priceless. Plus, the lack of a formal set-up and the genuine good will from Shea Glover make for one of the most real and truthful art videos I've seen this year.
The reactions that are out of the ordinary are the ones that only add to the heartwarming nature of the piece, with one girl claiming, "I'll cut you in the face," (sarcastically, of course) purely because she can't believe someone is saying this to her. She ends her reaction by musing, "Clearly, you're being goofy."
Ultimately, this video makes me want to run into the street, grab every stranger I can find, and tell them that they're beautiful. Or, more realistically, run into my housemate's room and tell her that I think she's gorgeous. Because as often as we complain or b*tch about other people, we rarely take time out to compliment even those closest to us on their beauty.
Beauty doesn't just have to mean physical attributes. Beauty doesn't have to mean adhering to traditional beauty standards. In fact, beauty can often mean exactly the opposite. And the many varied types of people in Shea Glover's video reinforce the point that beauty can be found in anybody.
Images: Shea Glover/YouTube