Thursday, March 28, 2013

What do we really look like?

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Inspired by my recent thoughts on losing weight as it ties into the self image issues, I was doing a little internet searching and reading.  This is truly one of my favorite ways to spend a day.  Searching for interesting and thought provoking material online and reading it.  I can spend hours doing this, all the while pretending to be doing important things like school, blogging and paying the bills.  No one has that many bills.  And I should be doing more school work.  And cleaning.  Anyway.

I came across an interesting website called "My Body Gallery: What Real Women Look Like." At first, I was like...Whoa, is this site legit?  Is it porn in disguise?  I'm pretty sure after checking it out, it's purpose is meaningful and positive in intention.  (Not that porn can't be those things, I guess I don't want any porn lovers hating on me.)

Their purpose statement is this:
"A recent study found that 95% of non-eating disordered women overestimate the size of their hips by 16% and their waists by 25%, yet the same women were able to correctly estimate the width of a box.
In a world full of images of how we "should" look it can get difficult to tell how we DO look. Our hope is to build a site where women can see what real women look like. What we really look like. Most women have spent so many years looking at themselves in mirrors that we can no longer see what's really there. The My Body Gallery project's goal is to help women objectively see what we look like, break the pact of silence around "weight" and come to some acceptance that we are all beautiful."
Screenshot from My Body Gallery

There are rules for posting and visiting the site:
It is not a forum for judgement.
It is not a place where some women are welcome to post their pictures and others are not.
It is not a place for us to second guess what someone says they weigh or what size pants they wear.
It is not a place to decide that someone is healthy enough or not healthy enough to post their picture.
It is a place for women to post their true and accurate pictures. And for other women to see that the world is not a place of cookie cutters. We are all different in our body shape and size as well as our place in our journey to loving our bodies exactly as they are, not as we (or others) think they should be.
It is a place for us to be kind to others and ourselves.
You can enter your own height and weight, pants size and body shape, to see how many different ways your "size" can look.  I broke all the rules right away.  All of them.  I find it hard to get out of my "The world is an Awkward Band Photos Laugh-fest" mentality.  I had so many thoughts as I kept looking at this site.  Clearly, I am still working through so many of my own body image issues. 
  • "What a crappy photo."  
  • "I'm way bigger than that." 
  • "No way she's 5'8" and weighs that much.  She's too skinny."  
  • "Oh, hmmm, maybe I don't look that bad."  
I was all over the place.  But I can see the value, and after my initial judgement (keep in mind, I didn't read the rules first) I decided to let it all go and be thankful for the women that had the courage to post their photos. 

What do you think?  Did you check it out?  Were you surprised?  Offended?  Would you post yours?
I almost posted my own personal photo here, but I just couldn't.  Maybe I'll post it there, if I can figure out how to black out my face.


Bob Redmond said...

It occurs to me, as I am catching up on blog reading (i.e. this one) that this is one really good blog! The writing is HILARIOUS, both Melissa and Amy have distinct voices, and the subject matter matters. I seldom comment but after reading these posts about weight I am compelled. Thanks and keep on blogging!

Melissa Baumgart said...

Thanks so much Bob! I am so happy that you take the time to catch up with GLWT. And COMMENT!
It was an interesting month, Losing Weight. Paleo seems even better!!