Sunday, May 20, 2012

Body Image

For a variety of reasons, many women in the United States have warped body images. Though it ranges from thinking you are healthy when you are heavy or obese to seeing yourself as obese when you are healthy or too thin, I personally have experience with the latter. For the majority of my life, my sister and I both thought we were fat when no one else ever did. In fact, when I look back at photographs from before I was married more than 25 years ago, I was the classic skinny-fat -- way too thin, but with no muscle tone.

This is to explain why I really like a website about body image I found recently. It's call My Body Gallery -- What Real Women Look Like.

The "Read this" section says:
This site is here as an accurate reflection of what real women look like. All women.

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.
On the home page, to the left, is Gallery Search. There you can enter your height, weight (in 10 lb increments), pant size and shirt size. You can also select the size photos you'd like to see. Up pops a screen of photos of women who fit those criteria. 

Because my weight fluctuates between 122 and 125, I entered both 120 lb and 130 lb. My first thought was. "Wow, these women look great!" I also found it funny that the women who weighed a little bit more looked better to me. I also found some of the women to be too thin. This was such a shock to me -- someone my size could be too thin! (Can you tell I still have issues?)

Some people posted thoughts about feeling unattractive, but for me, that was not the most important thing. It was seeing what other women who are my size look like.

After visiting the site a couple of times, I began to wonder why someone would post photos on this website. Even with my face blocked out, I'm not sure I would do it. But whatever their motivation, I am thankful they did! When I have those days when I start to feel fat, I'll be sure to go back and get a reality check.

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