Some women change nearly every aspect of their bodies in order to be deemed "beautiful." They paint their nails, style their hair, put on makeup and even subject themselves to painful surgical treatments in the pursuit of perfection.
Photographer Jessica Ledwich shows a grotesque side of everyday beauty rituals in her series, Monsterous Feminine. Each photograph depicts the daily routine of women — from shaving their legs to strapping on a pair of uncomfortable, sky-high heels — and places them in a new, more gruesome context.
"There is enormous cultural fear surrounding the idea of aging and as such there is no shortage of bizarre things that we will do in order to try and match the current ideals," said Ledwich in an interview with Mashable.
Viewers can sense an underlying air of desperation in each model in the photographs as they strive to achieve an impossible beauty ideal.
For Ledwich, each surreal photograph offers a message. She hopes that her art will help become a catalyst for larger conversations about body image and female sexuality in the future. "I'm interested in holding a mirror to peoples' behavior rather than make judgements ... there should be a dialogue around why we feel the need to do these things to ourselves."
More of Jessica Ledwich's art, including more images from the Monsterous Feminineseries, can be viewed on her website, and fans of her work can follow her on Twitter.