EVA VAN DE SANDE
To what extent is my body mine when I constantly adapt it to the beauty ideals and opinions of others? That is the research question on which the EVA project revolves. Designer Eva van de Sande has used her own body and experiences to address a universal problem, namely the presence and influence of beauty ideals. The result: three products that each address a different aspect of the question and invite discussion.
Nudity is often accompanied by a sense of shame. This was also the case with Eva, who throughout her life felt uncomfortable and embarrassed when she had to change with other people, had to wear a bikini to swim or when she was intimate with others. And that while everyone is essentially naked.
With Public Nude, Eva has played with this notion of shame, showing what she always tried to cover; her own naked body. By showing this on curtains, which one normally uses to screen off, she investigates what this does to the experience of her body and how it changes the shame she feels.
Public Hair is a product in which Eva challenges you to take a critical look at your body hair. In our current society there are all kinds of stigmas surrounding hair growth. For example, women are seen as unattractive and unhygienic when they leave their body hair on, while for men it is the other way around; for them, hair growth is a sign of masculinity and good care (provided it is not too long). In other words; there are a lot of prejudices about something that is actually very natural. Every hair on our body has a specific function. But why do we shave? Do we do it for ourselves, or do we do it for someone else because we are afraid of opinions and prejudice?
With Public Hair you are invited to let your hair grow for a few weeks; which hairs these are, you can know for yourself. During this process, try to become aware of your relationship to your body hair. For example, do you remember when you started shaving, and why? Do you shave because you like it, or because you think someone else likes it? What feelings do you get when you look at your grown hair? After a month you can shave your hair again (or leave it, if you like) and collect it in the appropriate PUBLIC HAIR jar. In this way you are encouraged to think critically about the beauty ideals surrounding hair growth, and to enter into a more conscious relationship with body hair.
We all grew up with certain ideals of beauty; thin is good and fat is bad, being short is not beautiful but being tall is, body hair is not attractive and in general symmetry is best. These ideals are introduced by social media, TV, commercials, magazines, films and so on.
These beauty ideals have an influence on how we look, both consciously and unconsciously. But how big is that influence? And are you actually aware of what those ideals do to the experience of your body?
With Public Body, Eva wants to invite people to portray their ideal body, or the ideal body that they feel they must meet. In this way she creates more awareness about how external influences change our body.
Breaking Patterns is about breaking through what we routinely do, what we find normal and comfortable. If there is anything that is a perfect example of an entrenched pattern, it is the influence of beauty ideals on our society. Beauty ideals may change over the decades, but one thing always remains the same; people try with all their might to comply with it. This has only been exacerbated in the past ten years, as we are constantly presented with images of ‘perfect’ bodies with the advent of social media. We see them on Instagram, Youtube, Tiktok and in commercials, series, films, magazines. There seems to be no escaping it. Not only that, more and more remedies are also being offered to satisfy this ‘perfect’ body; plastic surgery, hair removal techniques and even technology contribute to this. EVA challenges you to take a critical look at how we are influenced by these beauty ideals. Break the pattern; take a critical look at the concept of beauty and what it means for you personally. What do you actually like or dislike? And did this opinion originate from within yourself, or was it fed by outside influences? Every person looks unique, and every person has a body that makes them unique. In that way, no one really fits the picture perfectly, and the world would look boring if it did.