In case you've yet to hear about the movement that has taken a select but diverse group of people and put them into a series of online videos for which the person will remove items of clothing whilst talking about themselves, then you really need to Google StyleLikeU's What's Underneath Project. In the newest video of the series, Australian jewelry designer Sarah Jane Adams strips in front of the camera to celebrate her post-menopausal body in a way that has honestly never been done before.
The premise of the series is "to honor how style is not the clothes you wear. It is knowing who you are. It is comfort in your skin. It is your spirit. It's What's Underneath." Each interviewee tends to have a core characteristic or physical trait that they explore whilst mother/daughter team Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum ask heartfelt, important, big questions. And everyone is celebrating that specific trait, even if it's not an aspect of the body that is normally embraced by society. The project has helped many people in many ways — from Bustle's own Marie Southard Ospina's journey to body positivity to writer Allie Fasanella accepting a skin condition that has troubled her since birth.
StyleLikeU has now paired up with Olie Biologique to explore the individuality of four women who have worked with What's Underneath to create their own unique body oils. In Adams' video, we see that she refuses to be ashamed of any aspect of her aesthetics and appreciates how her body has changed as it's taken her through life. Her unabashed adoration of her aging self is inspirational and there are so many life lessons to be learned from her world views. Self love can be applied at any age and Adams' spirit has refused to be lessened by the ageism and sexism prevalent in our society.
1. "It's not my style, it's me."
This simple sentence sums up the message behind the entire What's Underneath Project — your clothes are just your clothes, and your style is not necessarily your personality, but how you express that personality. Adams says she's just accumulated her clothes over the years, and that her style changes by how she feels day to day. A true form of self expression.
2. "The Western world in particular, I find it really harsh."
"They're so surprised that this old woman is f*cking looking at you." Adams feels like an "alien" in a society that's forgotten how to communicate, but not just that — a society where being old almost feels invisible. She confronts this by making eye contact with strangers and forcing people to notice her.
3. "F*ck off. That's what's good about the menopause, you can actually say it."
Sarah Jane Adams doesn't care if you notice that her neck and face are going red from her hot flash; she's too busy going through said hot flash to give a damn. Adams calls her menopause liberating, because she refuses to abide by the stigma of trying to hide what is a natural process. She's not embarrassed and you shouldn't be either.
4. "What is the benefit of skipping over anything? You don’t learn the the lesson and you don’t age gracefully.”
Adams discusses not just the menopausal symptoms, but how alienated from her body the hormone replacement therapy doctors gave her made her feel. Instead, she decided to embrace the natural process of the menopause and didn't look back.
5. "I love my belly because it’s where my twins were. I could have done [a tuck], but then I would've looked like everybody else.”
"It's my body, it's kind of a visualization of what's going on inside." Adams understands her body and how it's come to look the way it does, and she loves it for that. To declare her hips and stomach as her favorite aspect of that bod is something that very few women have done before. But Adams acknowledges that the aging process is a given, and adores her body for everything that it has and does give her. The sentiment is gorgeous.
Images: Courtesy of StyleLikeU