By Erickka Sy Savané

Young, Ivorian artist Latitia Ky is someone to watch. Using hair (yes hair!) she's creating beautiful, thought-provoking images to spread body positivity and draw attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that we body shame young girls. Here's a story, in her own words, taken from her IG that may have you thinking differently about some of the ways that you may be body shaming a young girl without even knowing it. 


Via IG
Latitia writes of this image via her IG: 
I never struggled with my body, I always liked it. What I never liked were the comments. In relation to my body I have big boobs, which is not the problem even if I'm not always happy with them. People might think, I should be and even if I am very Ok. with that the most time, it's not always funny. When i was younger (about 14), many people, especially women called me a whore, for just having them. I often got told that I am too slutty and my shirts are too sexy. The thing is, i never wore anything the others don't, just normal shirts, it just looked different on me. People won't belive how many adult (in my case women) assault young teenager girls. When you are 14 and haven't even thought about sex, being a "whore" really confuses. In the other case for the men you're also just boobs, nothing else. It's the only thing they can see. 
I don't dress nondescript, I don't want to. I can't see why I should dress very careful just because anybody feels attacked by my body. I wear what I like, and I do what I like, not to impress any men, not to be "sexy" for society. I do it just for me because I want to.
Commenters could definitely relate...

--"I feel this story personally because I know what it feels like even though I am only 14"

--"It's nice to know that people experience and have experienced the same things as me at such a young age... People think I'm "asking" for attention when all I want is the opposite. I've been going through this since I was 11, and it's been getting worse recently. I'm slowly learning to love myself and accept myself for the way I am."

--"I've had similar experiences my whole life and its nice to hear I'm not alone. I've been told such things even from family members and its shocking and it hurts. My whole life I've heard stuff about my body because I'm curvier and honestly this whole series us amazing. It's such a blessing to hear that other people understand and have been there too."

--"You’re amazing!! This art brings me joy and I even share with my 9 year old daughter!!"

Via IG
Latitia also writes that she was shamed in her teens for being too skinny.
"Does she eat?" "I feel like she's going to break," "she looks like she is sick" "she's awful."
"When I was 18, a lot of things changed for me. I have met, discovered people and experienced events that helped me to love myself as I am, and this growing self-confidence in my physicality has affected my entire life. I started to dream, to have projects and to believe that i was able to achieve them despite my limitations.
Read more of this extremely intelligent young woman's posts on her instagram page and share them with a teen who might need to hear what she has to say!

Were you body shamed as a teen for being too skinny or too developed? 

Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or  ErickkaSySavane.com
Laetitia Ky's #metoo campaign
By Winnie Gaturu

Have you seen Laetitia Ky's amazing hair sculptures? If you haven't, head over to her Instagram page and prepare yourself to be amazed. Laetitia is a 21 year-old polyvalent artist and aspiring fashion designer from Cote d'Ivoire. She has made a name for herself through her stunning natural hair sculptures which she does on her own head. She creates elaborate up-dos to depict anything from a smiley face to a bicycle. Some of her most stunning sculptures are the ones where she has shaped hands doing different things like holding a phone, waving hello and playing guitar.

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Laetitia is an artistic individual and enjoys creating pieces of art. She says that her inspiration for this kind of hair art was from a photo series she saw on Instagram depicting the beauty and versatility of African Tribal styles. The styles she saw were stunningly. This got her thinking of how she could do the same with hair. Just like that, her amazing artwork was born. She started piecing together ideas from everything around her in order to create each amazing piece of artwork.

The time she takes to create each hair sculpture varies. It might take a few minutes for simple up-dos or up-to half a day for the more complex ones. The sculptures with the hands take the longest time. They usually involve the use of wires to shape and position of the fingers in order to achieve the desired look.

Laetitia Ky
Making these pieces of art doesn’t use up a lot of supplies. As a matter of fact, Laetitia normally uses working pins, fabric, wool yarn and a bit of wire only. All these are readily available materials which makes her work easier. Once she has her supplies, she is able to use them to manipulate her hair and transform it into a masterpiece.

#metoo
One of her recent hair sculptures was for the #metoo campaign where she depicted a man trying to lift a lady's skirt. She accompanied this image with a heartfelt message to all victims of sexual assault or harassment on an instablog. One of the things she highlighted was how society tends to blame the victims every time.  How the observers associate the unfortunate event with a victim’s dress code or behavior. She also mentioned marital rape and encouraged all victims to speak out. Laetitia goes on to let women know that it’s never too late to speak out even if the assault took place a long time ago. Since the weight can be too difficult for one to bear alone, Laetitia informed her followers that her DM was open to anyone who wanted to talk. Her parting words, “You are not alone”.


What do you think about Laetitia’s hair sculptures?
 https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-DnsMSFjLFNw/We9aV3iBeiI/AAAAAAAADII/F9HbMPX6PfYe6aCJqc-eDi3Wgmu41YE4wCLcBGAs/s1600/Winnie%2BG..jpg
Winnie Gaturu is a writer, tech lover, mom, wife and student from Nairobi, Kenya. During her free time, she loves trying out new recipes, diy projects, filling in crossword puzzles and spending time with her family. You can catch up with her on yourhairandbeautywrite.wordpress.com.