1. Australian actress Caitlin Stasey has just launched herself.com, a feminist website designed to empower women of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, sexualities, and gender identities.
The website features nude photo shoots of various women combined with in-depth interviews, and will be updated with a new profile every week.
“Herself is a gesture to women for women by women, a chance to witness the female form in all its honesty without the burden of the male gaze, without the burden of appealing to anyone,” Stasey said. “These women are simply and courageously existing, immortalised within these photos.”
2. The Please Like Me star revealed she was inspired to create the site after recognising the need for a space for all women – whether they be cisgender, trans, genderqueer, or intersex – to talk about their experiences.
“I wanted to feature women from all walks of life in the hope that women who rarely see themselves reflected in the media could find solidarity, could find people LIKE them rather than people they are constantly being told to be like.”
3. When she started the project, Stasey said, she was struck by how many of the women posing for the photos apologised for their bodies.
“Women’s bodies are taken from them, dissected, scrutinised, and then sold back to them – we are expected to foot the bill of societally influenced perfection,” she said. “These women were apologising for not living up to arbitrary standards stipulated by the patriarchy, cosmetic industry and ongoing, systemic oppression.
“Working as an actor has always made me acutely aware of how I look, how others look, how others are told they should look and how we all pay fortunes (financially and emotionally) to abide by these arbitrary stipulations. I was always self-conscious as a teen, but working in entertainment has heightened my awareness of injustice when it comes to the female form and the constant criticism of it.”
4. Stasey credited photographer Jennifer Toole, who shot all the women currently featured on the site, with helping to put everyone at ease.
“Jennifer has such an incredible bedside manner that I think all self-consciousness melts away while shooting with her. I know I felt a tad embarrassed at first when I was taking my portraits, but I eventually came to find that there’s no reason to apologise for this vessel I was blessed with. All the women who took part couldn’t speak highly enough of the experience and I hope have come to find new pockets of confidence within themselves.”
5. Stasey said that despite the disheartening way women are pitted against one another, she’s never happier than with other women and wants the site to project that feeling.
“I hope the site feels like a big bear hug from all the women in your life and beyond,” she said.
“Let us reclaim our bodies, take them back from those who seek to profit from our insecurity.”