Remember when Girls first aired, and how revelatory it felt to see Lena Dunham's naked body onscreen? It was almost shocking. Dropped among the depictions of nude women we were used to seeing on TV – gorgeous, glowingly lit, and completely hair- and cellulite-free – the normality of Dunham’s figure felt like a quietly radical act.
Artist Sally Nixon’s illustrations elicit a similar feeling. Unless you’re a Victoria’s Secret model, the women she draws probably look quite a lot like you. They sometimes wear great lipstick or groovy glasses, but they’re not glamorous, exactly; they have soft thighs, wide hips, and breasts that don’t stay up without a bra. Their bedrooms are messy, they eat crisps while reading in their pants, and they don’t look especially seductive while pulling on a pair of tights.
“It’s important that the women I draw aren’t rail thin with huge boobs,” Nixon told the Huffington Post. “I think there are enough images of bodies like that out in the world. The ladies I draw typically have small-ish, droopy breasts and thick thighs. They’re kind of lumpy but in an attractive way. Just like real people.”
Almost 16,000 people follow Nixon's illustrations on her Instagram, and a glance at the comments on each picture reveals that she's striking a chord. Beneath a picture of two girls sprawled out watching TV, one Instagram user has tagged a friend and written, “This is legit me and you!“ Another commends Nixon for the racial diversity in her artwork.
Nixon, from Little Rock, Arkansas, in the US, told Stylist in an email that she has “been completely surprised by the response“ to her illustrations. “But it's been amazing. I'm so glad other ladies can relate to my drawings.“
You can see more of Sally's work here.
Pictures: courtesy of Sally Nixon