Meet Ayan Jamal, The Social Media Activist Defying Beauty Standards

Featured Image: Ayan Jamal

Meet the social media activist representing a beauty which defies the norms of society.


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What does beauty mean to you?

Beauty for me is something that you can have or display in so many different ways. But, when I think about beauty I think of something more, I think that somehow beauty can’t stand alone, it needs something deeper for it to not just be ‘good looks’ which are satisfying the ruling norms.

What inspired/encouraged you to begin to photograph your figure in the beautiful way that you do?

I have always had a battle with norms and standards because they were never in my favour. I grew up in a very white heteronormative space in the North of Sweden. If it wasn’t for internet I would probably implode of self hate and believe that I’m wrong because of the lack of representation here of women like me. So, this is me returning the favour.


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What body-image struggles have you faced?

When I was younger I never really had a struggle with my body. I played a lot of different sports and used my body as a tool to get me where I needed to be. I became aware of my body in a different way when I was a lot older and the focus shifted from using my body as a tool for sport, to using my body for the attention of men. Luckily for me, I got into that business late so I saved my self loads of headaches heart breaks. I also didn’t compete with other women for the attention of men because I knew I wasn’t desired because of my body & skin colour.

Where you live, what are women expected to look like to be beautiful?

I live in Sweden and just like the minimalistic fashion here people are not suposed to take up extra space. lol. The beauty standards are pretty much what you would expect them to be: white, skinny etc. Event though I sense a change happening, it’s taking way to long!

If you had one message for women about beauty, what would it be?

Don’t try to satisfy a norm or standard.
Express your inner self, from that true beauty will shine.


Discover more about Ayan here.