My Body Gallery – what real women look like

by Nina de Haan

My very first night on Pinterest already brought me something incredibly amazing: it brought me to My Body Gallery, a website showing what real women look like.

The concept is simple: women from all over the world are free to send in their body picture, regardless of their shape and size, with or without their body story. Submitted pictures and stories are being published so that we can browse through it and can see what real women look like, instead of only being confronted with the skinny models all the time and starting to actually believe that’s the only good way to look. You can give in your own measurements, after which the websites will show you pictures of women who have about the same ‘shape’ as you do. This is a way to help women see themselves more clearly. The website explains: ‘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.’ I can only support that.

I’ve been going through the pictures and stories and I really like how it is working out. I really like how everyone is willing to show their true selves, in pictures but also in words by telling their true personal stories. It is nice to know that you are not the only one who’s struggling with their relationship with their body; as if we are all in this together instead of all alone, and it makes me feel understood and supported. I think ‘acceptance’ is also a key word here. We should accept ourselves and others just as we are. I think that My Body Gallery is a great tool for women and that every woman should know that it exists. That’s why I am writing about it.

Now I can’t publish this without sharing my story, can I? My story is as follows: I’ve always thought of myself as a skinny girl with a fat stomach; my belly has always been bothering me. Though, it isn’t that bad, so I’ve never had the discipline to actually do something about it. My relationship with food isn’t optimal, especially when it comes to the ‘bad snacks’. On the one hand it kind of feels like an obligation to eat it, because it ought to make me happy, but on the other hand it always comes paired with anticipated regret, which is why most of the times I barely enjoy eating those things. Still it isn’t that bad, it’s just in the back of my head and further I am functioning quite good actually. But I am kind of done with it. I’m still seeking for the right balance between eating and not eating, and trying to accept my body the way it is, and I really hope it’ll work out soon, so that I can focus on more important issues.
I am planning to make my picture and add it to My Body Gallery next week or so, but I won’t be posting it here. I’m sure you’ll understand. :)

Now please visit My Body Gallery and spread the word! Know that the image the media are selling us isn’t real; we are.