From the rake thin heroin chic of the 90s to the Kardashian curves of 2017, our idea of what is considered “beautiful” for women is always changing. The only constant? Sky high expectations on women which can only be achieved through radical means.
Evija Laivina’s series Beauty Warriors uses part humour, part shock to highlight the ridiculousness of today’s global beauty industry. “With this series I wanted to show how far we are ready to go in the name of beauty,” the photographer explains. “To be successful, you must be perfect and look perfect – these are our society’s rules, which we follow without even realising how ridiculous the standards are. We often forget about the importance of inner beauty.”
Born in Latvia, Evija is now based in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, where she is studying Contemporary Art and Contextualised Practice BA at University of Highlands and Islands. It was during her course that Evija started digging deep into the idea of beauty standards and came across an unlikely selection of odd looking objects online. A mixture of plastic contraptions and ominous masks, each of the objects professed to alter something about the user’s appearance. Evjia bought a selection of nose straighteners, eyelid trainers, smile trainers, face slimmers, anti-double-chin bandages and lip plumpers.
“I thought they were all are very unusual and weird ‘gadgets’,” says Evija. “Some of them are just unbelievably useless, for example the smile trainer. The quote from the product description says “use Smile Maker three times a day, every time just need one minute. Mouth Muscles Brace makes for a more natural smile. Smile Maker is intended for stewardesses, people in service jobs, the people with an expressionless face. I don’t know if it’s possible to change the shape of your nose with a plastic peg or train your lips in a perfect smile shape (what is even a perfect smile?) The silicone face mask might help open pores to help beauty products better work in the skin.”
Using a “surprised” and presumably very amused cast of her friends, family, and some women she found through Facebook, Evija made it her mission to highlight the at-once shocking and ridiculous reality of such objects. “They were surprised and didn’t believe they are real beauty products,” the says. “Of course they were laughing a lot during the photoshoots and sometimes it was tricky to create an image with a serious face expression!”