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Lovely Bodies

Brazilian supermodel Gisele B√ľndchen on Fashio...

Image via Wikipedia

We all do it. In the hairdresser’s, watching the red carpet on TV, catching a glimpse of Fashion Week. We watch those girls who always look good, no matter what, who’s hair and makeup are always perfect, and whose bodies are thin. Stick thin usually, but any kind of thin will do. The point is, they’re thinner than us, and that’s what gets us sighing with envy.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen another woman’s shape and wished mine was just like that, well, I’d have enough money to grow myself a new body and move into it!

The worst thing is, I know that envy is bad for me. It makes me feel like a failure. Then the next time I get ready to go out, all I see in the mirror is something large and unflattering, and I think that no matter what I wear or put on my face, I’ll still never look as good as those perfect women.

Of course, the women aren’t perfect – they’re just people who happen to be thin. Their lives are usually just as chaotic, haphazard and fraught with drama as everybody else’s. But unlike everybody else, those little tracks of life don’t show on their perfectly smooth faces, or their neatly curved behinds. Damn them.

These days, when you mention ‘body image’ the whole discussion of having a negative body image looms like a stalker. It’s impossible to ignore just how much damage having a negative body image can do to a person. It can be a lifetime issue, affecting career, children, relationships, sex and pretty much everything else we hold dear. And once you start off with a poor body image, it’s very, very hard to shift it. Psychologists say that shifting such ingrained self-perception can take years of concerted effort. First off, you need to know that you can change it.

Which is where this new website comes in. Called MyBodyGallery, it’s simply a gallery of photos of real women’s bodies. Most of the photos have the faces blacked out to protect privacy – but that’s just fine, because it’s the shape of these lovely women that matters. And they are all shapes and sizes, thin, fat, tall, short, chunky, slinky, svelte and curvy. All of them are fabulous.

Some photos are in underwear, some fully clothed. Some women show their faces, others keep them hidden – but all of them show us that they are real, ordinary women, with real, ordinary bodies. They show us that for all the media exposure we’re continually pummeled with, these are what real bodies actually look like. Most of all, they show us that we’re not alone in wondering about our shape, in wondering whether it’s normal or okay.

This fast-growing website gives us a fantastic base line by which to view ourselves and we can see that we come in all sizes and shapes, not just those carefully chosen for us and which make us feel bad. Having a negative body image is a point of view – this might be a good way to begin changing it.

How to you view your body shape? Have your ideas about it changed over the years?

 

Thank you to Melonnie Henwood for her story idea.

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