Dealing with the constant changes our bodies go through as we grow and age can be a source of many emotions. Excitement, wonder, occasional sadness; there's no denying that watching our bodies evolve is a fascinating but emotive thing.
And this lovely animated video has captured the different stages of a woman's life, and her body, as she takes the walk of life.
Sidewalk, by New York animator Celia Bullwinkel, shows a woman ageing from a young girl to an old lady, and her body changing shape and size as she grows older.
But the real message is conveyed by her face as she gets different reactions from passersby on the street she is walking down, as well as displaying varying levels of happiness with her own body.
She begins as a young girl, happily skipping down the street, but as she notices a fashion poster displaying grown up "big girls", how she walks quickly changes, showing a growing awareness that her body is more than the wonderful machine it is.
We see her move through young adulthood, suddenly coping with growing curves, to a sullen teenager hiding her body away before emerging as a confident young woman. But this confidence is quickly shattered by wolf whistles and catcalls that make her hide her body away again. As she grows older, she has a child and ages physically, she suddenly notices she is not being noticed at all.
This leads to a sad stage of the video where as she ages, she feels unhappy as her body loses its youthful appearance. The simplicity of the animation perfectly captures how sudden it can seem that your body changes without you noticing - in puberty her breasts appear on her chest as if out of nowhere, but as she ages her body widens out with no warning.
Eventually, the woman, in the later stages of her life meets a young girl who seems to be suffering from a lack of confidence and teaches her about appreciating her own body as she finds happiness herself. The video ends happily, but gives a powerful message about self value and body image.
Throughout the video, the woman is influenced by things or people she walks past in the street, offering the idea that women's bodies always seem to be a topic of conversation.
The video was a true labour of love for its creator Celia Bullwinkel, taking over a year to complete alongside studying at a film and animation school. the music was first recorded at the end of 2011, and the short film first premiered in 2013.
Sidewalk has been shown at several film festivals, winning prizes at several of them, but has only just premiered online. The film is already raking in appreciation from the social media world, with commenters on the video saying "it's something most women can relate to done in an artful and really fun style" and "I see from this video and my own life how being overly focused on body image can unbalance you as a person. It is wonderful that at the end your character finally realizes that it isn't what you look like that matters, but who you get to walk through life beside".
We love the simplicity of the message the film gives across, inspiring us to think about how we perceive ourselves, rather than how others perceive us.
Watch the video below:
Words: Victoria Gray, Images: Sidewalk/Celia Bullwinkel