If you base your opinions on what you see in mainstream media, you might think that all women roll out of bed made up with flawless hair and glamorous clothes. But artist Sally Nixon's illustrations expose the moments in women's lives that aren't always captured on camera or posted on social media. Through scenes of everyday activities like sitting on the toilet, eating in front of the TV, and snuggling up with books, the pen-and-marker drawings remind us that women are people with unglamorous, unphotographed lives — which is just as it should be. Women are not simply objects to be looked at.
Since women are often presented in ways tailored to others' gazes, Nixon wanted to show women's lives from their own perspectives. "I'm interested in depicting women in a realistic way, and finding beauty and humor in ordinary situations," she tells Bustle via email. "The ladies I draw are relatable, not perfect or glamorized. They have thick thighs and unruly eyebrows and they don't give a f*ck about smiling for anyone."
By showing the messy and sometimes gross aspects of women's lives, the illustrations buck the societal standard that women always be pretty, put-together, and pleasant to look at. Nixon says:
As a woman, I feel like I'm expected to look and act a certain way to the outside world. I'm supposed to be thin and polite and ladylike. Every woman feels that way to some extent. But I just think that image is so boring and potentially harmful. I'd rather my work be truthful and relatable to real women than for it to contribute to society's ideal image of what a woman should be.
This pressure has gotten especially strong with the rise of social media. For example, model Stina Sanders recently lost Instagram followers by posting about everyday aspects of her life like waxing, therapist visits, and irritable bowel syndrome, rather than adhering strictly to the model image she'd built a following on.
Nixon's art similarly shows the aspects of women's lives that people don't always want to see, but which are true to life nonetheless. And by doing so, it reminds us that women's worth has nothing to do with how camera-ready they look. Check out a few of the drawings below, and head to Sally Nixon's website for more.
Images: Courtesy of Sally Nixon