Artist Jody Steel's 'Body Image' video highlights the cost of beauty

A still from the online video 'Body Image' by Jody Steel. Source: Supplied

A short time-lapse video highlighting what it feels like trying to fulfil the 'pinnacle of beauty' has been watched more than 70 million times.

A powerful new video highlighting the social impact of beauty standards has gone viral, racking up more than 70 million views in just under two days.

The video, simply titled 'Body Image', was uploaded by 22-year-old Jody Steel, and features a time-lapse of the artist painting her stomach, creating the illusion of her torso tied up in a painful knot.

As the video continues, painting takes on the appearance of a macabre hourglass figure.

The LA-based artist, who has previously created a slew of viral hits from steam punk drawings to a replica of the Mona Lisa, has turned her attention to the physical and emotional toll chasing unrealistic beauty standards can have on the body.

"There have been times I've (looked) in a mirror and wished for a perfect figure," Ms Steel wrote in a comment on the video.

"Once I realized that naturally, I don't have a Coke bottle figure, or long and thin legs, I began to let go of the pressures I've felt to fulfill an image that our society has deemed the pinnacle of beauty."

The video has prompted more than 670,000 shares, with many taking to the comments to speak of their own struggles with body image, self-esteem and eating disorders.

You can watch the full video here.

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