Every Body's Story
Golden Busts Series
We see ourselves in 2D; in our reflection, the mirror and in photos but it is rare for us to see our own form in 3D. It gives a whole new perspective and understanding of the body.
This series of casts presents women with breasts of different shapes and sizes. Together they show that every body is unique and every body is beautiful.
Here are the stories of 10 women who have had their busts cast. They have shared their experience; how it felt to see their cast for the first time and how it impacted the way they view their breasts and body.
For the majority of my life, I was teased about my small bust. I was called flat chested and my breasts were called ’mosquito bites’. I remember being so embarrassed by them that when I became sexually active, I insisted on keeping my bra on. I held onto this shame until fairly recently. Feeling more confident is thanks to strong women I have surrounded myself with and having a boyfriend who was positive about my body image.
I am thankful to have grown out of thinking that there is only one body shape that is attractive. I hope for future generations to come, that we can tear down what society has tried to teach us as the ‘ideal’ body image through consumerism and patriarchy. We need to remember how divine our own natural and individual beauty is, and that real beauty comes from how we feel.
When I saw my cast it was a bit of a shock to see my breasts in front of me like that! I spend time every day gazing at my body in the mirror and giving her love, and now being able to look at myself in a new form is even more magical.
Growing up I struggled with insecurities about the size of my breasts, and it has been a long journey to learn to love my breasts the way they are. I used to feel that men wouldn’t find me attractive because of how small my chest is. I hope future generations of women will be taught self love and confidence at a young age and grow up knowing that all bodies are perfect no matter the appearance.
The casting experience felt more vulnerable and more intimate than I thought it would. Once the cast was taken off, it felt like a piece of me had left. Like I’d shredded off my old life, and was born again knowing more about myself.
When I was younger I thought being ‘white’ was beautiful, but I soon realised that being a woman of colour is beautiful too. Since then I’ve stopped feeling the pressures of unrealistic beauty standards. I have learnt to love myself the way that I am. Because no matter what you look like, or how perfect you may appear there will always be someone to critique you. My hope for my future daughter is that she loves her body and treats it with respect and care. That’s the only thing we have control of as women in this world, and her body is something that she should be proud of.
I have struggled a lot with my body over the years and being part of this series is part of my reconciliation with it. My weight has fluctuated a lot over the years, from being overweight as a teen to severely underweight in my early twenties and that took a toll on my body.
It has taken me years to finally be content with what I have. It was interesting to see my cast and somehow made all the bumps and saggy bits of skin feel natural. For a long time I was embarrassed by the way my breasts hang but I’m feeling better about it now.
I have definitely felt the pressure to change my body over the years. I would hate for anyone to feel like they, in their own beautiful skin, are not good enough. I’ve seen a shift in body positive movements that leave me feeling hopeful for the future. This is what I want to see more of in the media, real women with real bodies having the confidence to be who they are.
Looking at my cast I am confronted by the dual relationship I have with my breasts. When I am alone, with loved ones or with lovers I associate them with the beauty of my form, sensuality, sexuality and future motherhood. When I am in public I associate them with unwanted attention, harassment and objectification.
Recently I was stretching as I cooled down from a run. As I brought my arm across my chest I showed my cleavage and a car driving towards me slowed down. The man driving lent out of his window, smiled at me and said ‘thank you’. He was gone before I had a chance to respond but I was left feeling exposed, somehow under-dressed and asking myself a familiar question: ‘should I be wearing this?’.
Sometimes when I am harassed on the street I ask the person who has said something openly vulgar and degrading to me, usually specifically about my breasts, how they would feel if someone spoke to their mother, sister or daughter that way. Their answer is usually in the form of silence, in which I hear the penny drop and echo as I walk away.
I hope that by sharing our stories and challenging behaviour that objectifies our bodies we can move towards a future in which womxn can think of their breasts and bodies more as beautiful assets to celebrate rather than things that make them vulnerable.
I loved being cast! It was such a nice experience to see my body from a different perspective; it showed me what I really look like and not what my brain so often tells me I look like.
I come from a family of very large breasted women and because of their size they have always been talked about. I am mostly comfortable with them but sometimes they can get in the way and I can feel frustrated with my body. My mum and my aunt both had breast cancer and died of cancer recently. My breasts are a reminder that I am healthy. I am proud of them!
I’ve never seen my breasts from this perspective before. I was surprised by how uneven they are but, if anything, it made me like them more – it’s almost like each one has its own personality. I also love seeing my cast alongside other women’s, we are all so different, but equally gorgeous.
Until I was about 17 I literally had no boobs. I was basically completely flat chested and it always made me really self-conscious. Fast forward ten years and I love them. Sure, I wish I could wear a bandeau top and get away with wearing no bra sometimes, but I love feeling curvy and womanly. I wish I could tell 17 year old me not to worry. Women look beautiful and sexy with either tiny little fried egg boobs or with giant watermelons.
I feel with breasts you’re damned if you do have them and damned if you don’t. Beauty standards suggest you should have a tiny waist but huge boobs. God forbid they are different shaped or saggy! I used to feel so self-conscious about my nipples – they’re very smooth and not as pert or pointy as those that we are shown by the media. Now, I just don’t care at all about having ‘perfect’ breasts or an ‘ideal’ body. I’ve realised that anything I feel self-conscious about, probably nobody else has noticed. Every woman thinks that every person in the room is staring at her and noticing every flaw but that is far from the truth. Every woman is busy focusing on her own flaws and won’t notice other people’s.
I felt really, really liberated during the casting process. I felt like I was expressing myself and pushing past personal boundaries. Seeing my cast for the first time I felt immense pride and a feeling of ownership, like ‘yes, that’s my body’, uniquely fabulous just the way it is. Sure, I saw its imperfections but they felt like the most beautiful part of the cast, because they are uniquely mine!
I have always had a fairly positive relationship with my breasts. There have been times when they have been very small, now they are slightly uneven, but I’ve never really felt shame around them. They have evolved, and continue to evolve as I grow older, and it’s interesting to see that process. However, I do think if I had had negative comments about my breasts from a sexual partner, I may have a different relationship with my breasts and I think we have to be so careful when it comes to remarking on other people’s bodies, especially women’s bodies, as we are so often held up against unrealistic beauty standards by the media.
I felt so relaxed being cast. I’ve always loved nakedness and with age I have learned to love all that I am and have. There was a time that I would have felt ashamed to do this, so having my cast made is a beautiful reflection upon this time.
Unrealistic beauty standards portrayed in the media are so toxic and suffocating! A ‘perfect’ body image is plastered everywhere so it is hard to detach from these ‘ideals’. I hope that one day, strength, character and storytelling are how we most relate to our bodies.
My boobs and I have had some toxic phases. I hated them for a while because I was a late bloomer and was pretty flat chested until I was 15. Then, I swear to you, they grew over night and were suddenly massive! And then the attention grew over night too and I had to try to understand that and what it means to have so much unwanted attention. When I was about 17 I got pretty disgustingly groped in a bar by a 40 year old dude. So they’ve been pretty hidden since then.
Seeing my cast and body from the outside has changed the way I see myself. I had absolutely no idea my boobs looked so good from an outside perspective. I hadn’t realised that my thinking has been so negative towards my body for a long time. My cast will always remind me to check myself and realise how beautiful my boobs and body are.
With special thanks to the women who have participated in this project; you are bold, inspiring and beautiful. Thank you for your openness and sharing your stories. This exhibition is a celebration of the diversity and beauty of women’s bodies, in all their forms.