“I think it is so important to show all bodies in my work—which includes older people. We are all aging.”
You don’t have to be hip or creatively accessorized to be worthy of inclusion as an older person on Shanthony Exum’s popular Instagram. Impeccable bone structure, well cared for skin, a trim physique? None of that matters. And you don’t have to be over—or under—a certain age. Exum’s The Every Body Project celebrates what being comfortable in your skin looks like in all its diversity.
Exum, aka Brooklyn rapper Miss Eaves, earned applause earlier this year for her music video “Thunder Thighs” (watch it on Senior Planet), which portrays sassy, body-proud women of all shapes, sizes and ages. The video features a cut from her first full-length album, “Feminasty,” which was released last month.
But Exum’s/Miss Eaves’s interest in body-positivity goes farther back: She has been posting photos to The Every Body Project of people of all shapes, sizes and ages since 2013, often accompanied by interview snippets. She described the Instagram as “an inclusive style blog that aims to combat the body image issues that arise from the media’s narrow portrayal of beauty.”
Senior Planet caught up with her to find out more about her appreciation of beauty and body in all its varieties.
We wanted to know, what makes an older person stand out for her in the street?
“When I stop an older person it’s for the same reason I stop younger people–because I love their style. I don’t think that as a person ages they have to hide or be invisible. If they want to wear a neon pink coat and dye their hair blue, I think that is fantastic and if I see them, I will probably take their photo.”
“Style is a reflection of how you are feeling on the inside, and I don’t think that people should have to limit themselves just because they are aging.”
“Look at Baddie Winkle. She is super-amazing, stylish and fun, but also a senior citizen. I feel a lot of times we let societal pressures define what we should/should not do as we get older, but that is really hogwash. We should do and wear what we want regardless of our age.”
What is your name?Julia Hill Tell me more about your ensemble? The coat is restyled from housing works and the pants are my own model. As far as socks, I don’t wear socks. No socks are socks enough for me. How would you compliment yourself? My style is totally mine How would you change the world? I would like to change all of the negativity to positivity
What is your name: Linda I love your necklace where did it come from: Panama…Panama City How would you compliment yourself: I like to be creative. I feel the older I get the more daring I want to be with my clothing and my hair. How would you change the world: No racial issues, peace and get rid of disease.
“Watch the latest season of ‘Grace and Frankie’–I love that Frankie and Grace are starting a vibrator company, because senior women also have sexual needs–even though that seems largely ignored by popular culture.”
“I think it is so important to show all bodies in my work—which includes older people. We are all aging, so I also want to fight this stigma that aging is some moral failing. It is not, and we should show more respect to people who are elderly and we should have more intergenerational conversations.”
- Browse The Every Body Project
- Visit Miss Eaves’ website
- Stream “Feminasty” on Spotify
- Watch “Thunder Thighs” on Senior Planet
Are you feminasty?