We all come in different shapes and sizes but this isn’t often very well represented by the mainstream media. Sure, we have ‘real life’ features where the women have been Photoshopped orange with a glossy veneer (a’la TOWIE) or we can read gritty down and out stories where everything looks tinged with canal water, but how about some variety in shop windows and magazine advertisements?
I’ve previously looked at the rise and insanity of vanity sizing, where you see how retailers pretty much create their own dress size guidelines, and I’d like to show people just what a size 12 actually looks like– and then we can see how much we all vary from the ‘guidelines’. Remember, clothes sizes are not life sentences and garments are cut in order to cater to mass markets- we are all individuals and let’s start looking at our bodies that way. OK, if we all wore custom made garments that would be horrifically expensive but we can share how we vary in size on a website called My Body Gallery
The website works on a easy to understand premise where user submissions make up the bulk of its content. You click a few buttons and share your weight, height, dress size and more and voila, your image has been added to their database. The fun really starts when you start sifting through the pictures they have on offer and start analyzing how women of the same basic specs can differ greatly in dimensions.
You can filter through a variety of options, from body type to shirt size and pant size (remember it’s American sizes here) and the end game is to get an accurate reflection of what women actually look like. The answer to this seems to be ‘all different’, which is not really that much of a surprise, but it’s good to crowd source images like this as you do feel that you’re getting a good cross section of society.
Many women have chosen to upload images with their eyes blacked out, which says something about how they feel about their body, whether they are 110 pounds or 200. In part this is because My Body Gallery helpfully added a ‘black out tool’ as part of its upload process (having to do this at home puts people off) but it’s a shame to see how many have utilized this feature.
My Body Gallery also has a place where you can upload your weight and body stories, and some of them are pretty tear jerking.
‘Normal and body dysmorphic disorder are what come to mind now, the night I found this website.I am crying because I feel normal. because I look at pictures of women who weigh what I did 3 months ago (210 lbs), what my general weight has been for the last couple of years (195 lbs) and what I weigh now (185 lbs). Due to the media and social norms, a girl like me rarely sees others who look like me, especially in their underwear & swimsuits.Out in public, you don’t know if someone you think looks nice is the same weight or size as you. I see myself and I figure I look horrible. I come to know I look horrible. I see the women on this website and know they look beautiful. Maybe I can feel beautiful now too.
I’m impressed with the concept and feel that anything that allows women to have a better understanding of how varied all our bodies are can only be a good thing, and lead to greater self acceptance.
Check out My Body Gallery here.
PS. This site proudly announce it’s about women’s sizing, I’m wondering if perhaps a male version will follow?