‘I don’t know what it was like for you growing up, but I spent most of my childhood hating my body’- Lily Mandelbaum
Joy Molan explains why everyone should be watching Stylelikeu’s body-positive interviews
Stylelikeu is not your typical YouTube style channel. There are no beauty hauls, makeup tutorials or ‘what’s in my bag’ videos. Instead, mother-daughter duo Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum use their channel to share inspirational stories of people’s journeys towards self-acceptance and body confidence.
In the ‘What’s Underneath’ series, interviewees gradually undress as they discuss personal struggles and experiences which have resulted in an acceptance of their bodies as “a good place to be”. These intimate discussions have ranged from challenging the gender binary to coping with sexual trauma to facing the menopause.
Interviewees have included the feminist photographer Petra Collins, Orange is the New Black‘s Lea DeLaria and model and body positive activist Charli Howard. However Elisa and Lily have shown that it is not only those in the media spotlight who have interesting stories to tell. Some of the most moving and inspirational interviews are with people whose voices are often sidelined in mainstream feminist media.
The pair’s mission statement video makes it clear that Stylelikeu is a deeply personal project. ‘I spent my teenage years obsessively dieting, eating under 700 calories a day in the hopes that I could one day slide into skinny jeans,’ Lily explains. ‘While I would temporarily succeed at losing fifteen pounds I lost myself in this empty ideal of beauty.’
While most fashion blogs will try to give you tips on how to perfect the Olivia Palermo or Alexa Chung look, essentially acting as ‘an extension of the old style system, obsessing over wanting to be someone else‘, Stylelikeu works as part of a bigger movement towards self-acceptance and reclaiming style from the narrow margins of fashion magazines.
For Elisa and Lily, the distinction between fashion and style is clear: ‘fashion is a clothing industry and style is the way a person is, the way a person speaks, the way a person moves‘. It is this distinction that underpins and continues to inspire their work.
Image kindly provided by @Stylelikeu