My Body Gallery

My Body Gallery is a new online photo collecting project with this goal: “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.” The idea is that all sorts of real women upload full-body images of themselves (their faces obscured if they so desire; no nudity) and input their height, weight, shape (pear, banana, apple, or hourglass) and clothing sizes. (Though after a quick perusal of the first few pages of pics, we got the sense that a good portion of women who will take the time to take a pic of themselves and upload it to the Internet are the ones who know they have pretty close to perfect bodies.) There are personal stories about body image (not unlike the last advice inquiry we answered on and some truly horrifying statistics that they’ve culled from — check it out:

  • Two out of five women and one out of five men would trade three to five years of their life to achieve their weight goals.

  • In 1970 the average age of a girl who started dieting was 14; by 1990 the average dieting age fell to 8.

  • A study found that 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.

  • After viewing images of female fashion models, seven out of ten women felt more depressed and angry than prior to viewing the images.

  • The “ideal” woman – portrayed by models, Miss America, Barbie dolls, and screen actresses – is 5’5″, weighs 100 pounds and wears a size 5.

  • Young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer, or losing their parents.

  • One out of three women and one out of four men are on a diet at any given time. Two thirds of dieters regain the weight within one year and virtually all regain it within five years.

  • 35% of occasional dieters progress into pathological dieting.

  • The diet industry (diet foods, diet programs, diet drugs, etc.) takes in over $40 billion each year and continues to grow.

  • 30% of women chose an ideal body shape that is 20% underweight and an additional 44% chose an ideal body shape that is 10% underweight.

  • The average U.S. woman is 5’4″ and weighs 140 pounds whereas the average U.S. model is 5’11″ and weighs 117 pounds.