‘The Ideal Woman’ Project Questions How We View Ourselves In The Mirror


Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and thought “Wow I just just perfect today!” or has the inner dialog been more along the lines of “Urgh, if only I could get rid of that cellulite, that lump…I need to go on a diet…perhaps if I go on a 10 mile run I’ll burn off that excess fat I consumed from that donut…”

Guess what? You aren’t alone. In fact, you are in better company than you think! A duo from Orlando, Florida have created a unique art installation called ‘Franchise: The Ideal Woman’ which is a powerful tool of self-reflection and brings into question the body image standards from the media and advertising we often sadly compare ourselves to.

Photographer Tasha Copley and her artist fiancee who goes by the name SKIP, drew from their own experiences battling beauty standards and used it as a way to help others discover that they are in fact beautiful.

The installation consists of a naked image of Tasha looking stiff on one side marked with pen all over her body as if she is being marked for plastic surgery. On the other side there is another image of her looking more relaxed, still in the nude, but sans pen markings to portray her as confident in her body. In the middle of the two pictures is a small box which asks viewers “name something you find beautiful about yourself” below a mirror which is supposed to be used as a tool to help people find something on their body.


Tasha explained in a press release about the project that this second photo reflects how she actually views herself — as “confident, strong, sexy, and all things wonderful about being a woman. The right photo is me marked with what we are told every day…are flaws or [things] we, as women, need to improve upon.”

Skip told Refinery 29 that the project started out very differently than what we see today.

“My original idea for ‘The Ideal Woman’ was just the piece on the right. It was just the woman exposed with the surgical marks. That definitely fit in with my portfolio…this in-your-face, edgy imagery to really evoke emotions from people.”

“The idea is that people would first see the [photo] on the left — ‘Oh wow, here’s this beautiful woman, she’s strong and she’s powerful and she’s confident’ — and then look over to the right…and see this woman being dissected with all of her flaws, or perceived flaws. Then, they would look straight ahead and see themselves standing, looking back at themselves,” he said, when talking about what he hopes audiences will get from viewing the exhibit.


He goes on to talk about the responses they received in the box, where sadly, some wrote “nothing”, and others broke down crying while looking at themselves.

Skip says this project is an important one because it evokes such emotion from people, and in some cases leaves them empowered.

“[We wanted] to create an engine for people to go within themselves and pull [out] something beautiful and…leave feeling better about themselves… It was a radical experience, and it’s still continuing.”

The installation doesn’t just target women, either. because Skip says the project came from his own experience battling body image issues.

“Up until my early twenties I believed I was just a collection of ‘too’ many things. I was too thin, I was too pale, I was too short, my ears were too big and my legs were too hairy. For a good chunk of my life I think I really just hated most of the things I saw when I looked in the mirror,” he told the Huffington Post, while adding that he believes low self-esteem gets in the way of true body acceptance.

Tasha added in the same interview that having a baby and re-learning her body in its transformation gave her a strong grasp of how closely body image and self-esteem are related.


“In a way the right side of the installation represents how I see myself set against a world of supermodels and a perceived idea of what beauty is, and the left side is how I actually feel about myself when stripped away -– a strong, confident, sexy woman.”

The experience of being photographed for the public was cathartic for her also.

“A lot of this ‘ideal’ that is being pushed out in the world of photoshopped supermodels and suntans and celebrities all stem from people just not being honest with themselves and with each other. And that is something we’d really like to see change in time.”

The concept of “the ideal woman” is so flawed in itself, yet creates such inner turmoil in the majority of young women. We want permission to accept our bodies, but the narrow ideals being perpetuated seem to be so much louder than any positive and empowering voice we are searching for. Thankfully, there are projects like this which are allowing us to have that moment of self-reflection away from messages that only serve to disempower us (and take lots of our hard-earned dollars at the same time).

If you have ever wished you had the “ideal” body or were the “perfect woman” here’s something to chew on: you are. Right here, right now, the way you are is perfect because you are unique and trying to look like a digitally-altered image or someone else is what is imperfect, not you.

Be sure to take a look at more of the exhibition on their Facebook page, especially if you aren’t in the Orlando area but want to check out what they are doing.

Here are some of the responses they have received in the display box so far:


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  1. Pingback: Femeia perfecta in viziunea barbatilor – gândul

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