Written by Natalie Gontcharova for YourTango.com
We recently published a piece called “Is Your Body Image Hurting Your Love Life? 3 Ways To Change,” which is all about how women need to stop the negative self-talk and embrace positive body images, flaws and all. But how does one do that when the media is filled with Jessica Albas and Rihannas (both of whom are literally staring at me right now from magazine covers), and the world is filled with douchebags who judge women based on appearance?
New website My Body Gallery thinks it’s helping. It’s a searchable database full of user-uploaded photos, tagged with their self-described height, weight, body type, pant size and shirt size. You put in your stats and get to see women with the same ones. The goal, according to the founders, is to “to help women objectively see what we look like and come to some acceptance that we are all beautiful.”
Ladies have skewed senses of their bodies, say the founders: “95 percent of non-eating disordered women overestimate the size of their hips by 16 percent and their waists by 25 percent, 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.”
I say it’s at least an interesting experiment. And while I don’t have much of an opinion on the site – it’s a neat idea, there are far more shocking things on the Internet, and I’m a little sleepy right now – I polled other YourTango’ers (and one former YourTango’er). Here are the candid opinions of a small, but diverse sample size of women:
Melanie Gorman, Senior VP of YourTango Experts: “It’s disturbing to me, perhaps mostly because of how I felt seeing other people who supposedly have my body. After that, I laughed and said ‘not bad really.’ I think how it’s used will in part depend on who promotes it. If it’s like a Dove campaign, that could be positive.”
Krissy Gasbarre, Manager of Content & Branded Entertainment: “Actually, I’ll be honest: I tested it today and thought that the women with my same measurements looked pretty good. If we don’t take it too seriously and don’t start obsessively comparing ourselves to others, it can be a healthy way to get perspective and see that people who are a comparable size to us actually look pretty damn good.”
Faye Brennan, Senior Associate Editor: “I just entered my stats and apparently only one other girl has my body type, which is false. I think overall, I don’t like how it encourages us to compare ourselves. We all have different body types, and it shouldn’t matter if we look similar to others or don’t. If the idea behind it is to make women feel better, they should have set it up differently. Like maybe if it had an algorithm that says, ‘you have an hourglass shape’ once you input your stats and description, and then it could provide you with outfit options that look the best on your body type, or which areas you should promote, like ‘You have great legs! Show them off.’ Something positive would make it useful. But I don’t see how it’s useful the way it is now.”
Claire Daniel, former Associate Editor: “I LOVE it. I have very bad body issues and it helps me with my skewed sense of perception. Though I wish they would do the weights in multiples of 5 pounds.”
Lyz Lenz, Community Director: “Horrifying.”
What do you think of My Body Gallery? Have you tried it?