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by Maria Sofou

Melbourne-based photographer Jessica Ledwich has captured a stunning series of bizarre images that confront contemporary beauty standards imposed on women and the pursuit of ‘perfection’ therein.

The series, Mostrous Feminine, consists of various odd and dark scenes that explore just how far someone would go to transform their body: Ledwich models smooth their legs by using a Bosch machine, vacuum and undergo liposuction at the same time and rest in a Chanel coffin, an uncomfortable reminder of the pressure forced upon the modern female. Each photograph, sadistic yet engrossing, hits this exact pressure in the face, uncovering the idealisation of women and its frightening consequences.

In the creator’s words, “the Monstrous Feminine critically examines the value society places on vanity, consumerism and the pursuit of perfection and eternal youth. Historically women’s sexuality has often been portrayed as something scary, uncomfortable and threatening. There is enormous cultural fear surrounding the idea of ageing and as such there is an entire generation of women whose identities are being shaped by this. This work holds a mirror to the rituals and processes women engage with in response to these paradigms.”

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