Body Image. Eeek.




#bodiesMy Little Sister’s Body

24 comments | February 29th, 2012

chestist swirl

(story submitted by Emily, a Chestist.  Originally on 6.6.11 and again today)

It can be really hard to admit that you're competitive with a sibling - especially when they're the younger one.  OOC reader Emily gets her Chestism on here and now:

A great deal of my body worries, at age 21, don't come from Hollywood stars or even that classmate who does part-time modeling. Because I know that I'm this way naturally, genetically. But the story doesn't end there.

I'm ashamed to admit that a great deal of my insecurity about my body comes from my 16-year-old sister. Why so? Her body has developed radically differently from mine.

At her age, I was pretty much the height and weight I am now: 5'10" and a size 10 on average. It distressed me for a bit, but in my mind I viewed it as just genetics. I thought, when my sister gets older it'll catch up with her too.

Of course, though, it didn't. For whatever reason, in the genetic lottery my sister lucked out on body type. Although she's only around 5'5", she is also still a petite size 6, and ...


30 comments | February 28th, 2012

do you see me

(story by Mir, from Woulda Coulda Shoulda)

After years of being a female teenager, myself, and now having spent a couple of years parenting a female teenager, I've come to an inescapable conclusion: Surging estrogen has a negative impact on the brain. Argue with me if you must, but I think it must be true. I look at pictures of my teenage self, now, and wonder at how I could've been so myopic about my own looks. True, my hair was rather unfortunate (hey, everyone's was) most of the time, but I recall being convinced that I was plain, at best. On a good day, I believe I was plain. On a bad day, I just knew I was horribly, terribly ugly. My measurements, as a teen? 34-22-34. And I have a very clear memory of that first discovery of cellulite on my thighs, and trust me, it wasn't in my teens. When I was a teen, I was pretty. Not just that, but I had a killer figure. And I had absolutely no idea. Instead, I wore ...

#bodiesBody v. Mind

11 comments | February 25th, 2012

chestist blue

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

One of the things that's most interesting to us about this Chestist's story, is she feels unattractive despite a BF that loves everything about her.  Why's that?  Check her story out here:

"I'm 20, 5'4, 165lbs and used to be 135 five years ago. ive always been curvy and athletic. other people say i am average but those cruel BMI indexes say i am over-weight.  when i looked up my BMI it was like getting punched in the gut. it doesnt take into consideration that i have a good deal of muscle mass in my lower body from having lifted weights and run track. yes i could spare a few pounds and i need to get back to the gym. but i am sick of the media throwing at me that i

am not beautiful because i am not a size 2. i am smart, funny, compassionate, and have a boyfriend who loves and thinks every inch of me is beautiful. Why is it that only appearance is what makes someone attractive and desirable? Why isn't it considered that the most attractive feature a ...

#bodiesEnding the Myth

8 comments | February 22nd, 2012

Screen shot 2011-10-05 at 2.35.04 PM

(story by Carre Otis, a Chestist, and author of Beauty Disrupted)

Motherhood has brought me many joys and insights, but the new perspective it granted me on the role I had inadvertently played in young women’s lives for the 2 decades I spent in the modeling industry was downright sobering.

Although everyone who works in the industry senses how discriminating it can be — against size, against age and against so much more — I had given very little thought to the ways in which I had personally been part of the problem. Once it did occur to me; though, I knew I had to be part of the solution.

I was essentially paid to perpetuate the myth that we are all, or should at least try to be, 17 and a size 2 forever.

For those of us who are older than 17, that means trying to turn back the hands of time… and for those of us who are younger, it means trying to accelerate time — literally growing up before our time. As a young model I was placed in impossibly ...

#bodiesI Am

6 comments | February 20th, 2012

black explosion chestist

(story submitted anonymously by a 16 yo Chestist)

We got this from one of you:

I have EDNOS. I am anorexic. I am bulimic. I am neither. I am both. My body hates me and I hate my body. {end story}

What happens to some of us that we can wind up so sad so early?  Your thoughts?  

#bodiesA Healthy Relationship With Self

13 comments | February 15th, 2012

Screen Shot 2012-02-10 at 11.51.13 AM

(story by Carre Otis, a Chestist and author of BeautyDisrupted)

When was the last time you honestly asked yourself, “How do I feel about me?” “How do I see myself?” Simple and obvious? Maybe not so much.

How we feel about ourselves and bodies affects much more than I think we realize. Our self image, confidence and feelings of self worth ricochet out through the universe — and certainly the universe of our daily lives and interactions. Our feelings impact other people, shaping their feelings about us as well as about themselves.

Do you feel happy? Confident? Beautiful? Centered in your place and mission in your workplace? At home? In relationship? With your children? With self and others?

Self-love is the battery that powers every other kind of love.

I believe many of us suffer the effects of living on an autopilot of low self esteem and negativity. We’re shut down, dismissing the very need to be in healthy dialogue with our inner selves.. The relationship with self must be nurtured first before we can expect to experience fulfilling and reciprocated relationships in other ...

#bodiesGet Naked, More Often

4 comments | February 7th, 2012

plus sized

(OOC via

We came across this piece at one of our new favorite sites,  The author's premise is that to escape our own body dysmorphia and dissatisfactions - we should be naked more often.  But as he makes clear, not necessarily in front of other people (unless you and they choose to).

The reason this struck a chord with us here is that we watch our 5 and 6 yo kids run around naked all the time...totally carefree and free of inhibition, insecurity, judgment, and self-consciousness.  And as we watch them, we wonder when this will change; why it will change; if it has to change...

What do you think?  Can being naked help you embrace you as you are and maybe help diminish body image issues?  And, tangentially, how often and where are you naked?  Is it just the shower and bed?  Are you a nudist or ever thought about doing the nudist thing.  Come on, let's speak our naked truths and see if we can feel more better.

(for more of the amazing mindbodygreen go here)

#bodiesCan We?

3 comments | February 2nd, 2012

chestist threads

(story submitted by Amey, a Chestist)

Amey offered what follows as a comment to this story.  We loved you go:

It seems as women we will always be drawn to the mirror and pick apart what we don't like and remember how we liked ourselves better when...What if we start a revolutionary change...when I look into the mirror everyday I will choose one thing I like, smile at myself, and then walk away from the mirror?  Could I actually do that?  Could you? Could we as women?  One day at a time...make this change? To like what we see? {end story}

What do you think, can you make this change?  What (or who) could stop you?  (NO ONE should). 

#bodiesRenaming The Self-Esteem Act

comment | February 1st, 2012


What's in a name, anyway?  We'll find out.  We're renaming The Self Esteem Act, and from now on it will be known as the Media and Public Health Act.  What?!  Yes, that's right, the Media and Public Health Act.  Catchy, no?  Everything about its intent, its focus, and our call for Truth-in-Advertising labeling remains exactly the same.

So why change the name?  A few reasons.  One, along with the amazing people at the National Eating Disorder Association who are joining with us as co-sponsors of the Media and Public Health Act, we wanted to make crystal clear the cause and effect relationship between the media (and media industries) and public health (ie how people feel and don't, and the consequences of same, based on the images we're served up - and not).

Two, since we first announced it, there have been some who have stood with us and supported the Act's intent but who felt "self-esteem" was not the right articulation of the problem nor the psychological consequence. 

Three, after looking at 1 and 2 together, we took a look at the grassroots support we'd captured so far - and ...

#lifestagesStop Comparing Yourself

2 comments | January 30th, 2012

chestist swirl

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

It seems to be an unforunate part of the human condition that we compare ourselves to others - sometimes to make oursleves feel better, but often to make oursleves feel less than and worse.  Buzzkill.  Here's one younger reader's story - and advice:

We're always comparing ourselves with others. I don't know why we girls do this, maybe it's just the way it is. We never really believe it when people say were pretty or smart or something. When my friends or other girls complain about how fat they are I look at them and I look at me. A lot of times they're skinnier than me and I think - wow if they're fat then what am I? There is the first step of self conciousness.

Then when others bag on how ugly they are I look again and compare and think - well they're prettier than me so what am I? Everytime someone says something bad about themselves I ask myself if they're better or worse than me.  Eventually you stop believing what good things others say about you ...

#bodiesMade My Day

3 comments | January 30th, 2012


(story submitted by Flat Girl, a Chestist)

Here's a happy tale, from what we presume is one of our younger readers.  But no matter your age, feeling good about being you is what we're all about.  Here's "Flat Girl" speaking her truth:

I'm finally going to say this. I'm flat-chested. Very. 32-A!

I've always been tormented for how puny I am. My sister used to call me a 'concentration camp kid'. I'm not anorexic. I'm just tiny. Women with big breasts always seem to get the men. Always. Not just in movies, in real life too!

Then one day, I was shopping for bras. I was embarrassed because I had to buy the smallest ones. But a woman working at the store came up to me and was so nice.  She told me not to be embarrassed, and helped me pick out some really cute ones. She told me she used to be just like me, afraid to change in the locker room. Then she pointed out how many beautiful women are flatchested too! She made me feel so good, now I show off my chest like they ...

#bodiesYou Be You and I’ll Be Me

4 comments | January 26th, 2012

compared to what

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

You ever have a good-friend who's everything you want to be, and who just by being themselves makes you feel worse about some part of you?  Buzzkill.  She does, and here's her story (with a happy ending).

I'm going to Hawaii with my best friend who is stick skinny and 6'. I am 5' and have an hourglass figure. My thighs touch when I walk. My stomach isn't perfectly flat. I hated my body. But all of this changed when someone came along and refused to leave my house until they were absolutely certain I loved myself. {end story}

Now, of course, we'd love to know what this wonderful someone said and did to help our writer love herself...but we're so glad she does.  Let's get back to the beginning though.  You ever have a good-friend who's everything you want to be, and who just by being themselves makes you feel worse about some part of you?  Share the who, when, wheres, hows and whys they made you feel less than.  Get it off your chest and let ...

#bodiesPuberty, Part 2

3 comments | January 18th, 2012


(submitted anonymously, by an 18yo Chestist)

You know that line from the Godfather..."just when you thought you were out, they suck you back in again"?  Seems this reader's finding herself in a similar position...

They're growing. Shit. Just when I became comfortable with my B cups and realized that they were in absolute perfect proportion with the rest of my body, they started growing. Holy shit. I'm 18. This is not supposed to happen.  {end story}

Hers isnt the first story we've heard like this, but let's consider it more broadly, whaddaya say?  Have you ever gotten comfortable with something and BAM it (or you) changes again?  When was it, what was it, how'd you deal with it?

#bodiesBody Image is Hating on Men’s Happy

5 comments | January 11th, 2012


(submitted by OOC via

Here's a bit of gender equality that can't make anyone happy - even if misery does love company.  Men are increasingly and rapidly becoming ever more dissatisfied with their own bodies and body image.  The original article points to this most recent data out of the U.K. based on a survey of 400 men:

80.7% of men use language that promotes anxiety about their body image (i.e. referring to physical flaws), compared with 75% of women. 38% of men would sacrifice at least a year of their life in exchange for a perfect body. 80.7% talked about their own or others’ appearance in ways that draw attention to weight, lack of hair or slim frame. 23% said concerns about their appearance had deterred them from going to the gym.

The author of the piece (read it here) offers the following thoughts: "the study is fairly narrow, so to be honest, I wouldn’t take most of those numbers at face value. But the study just confirms something we’ve known for awhile: That both men and women are increasingly unhappy with their bodies, in part because, well, everyone’s getting ...

#bodiesMust Watch Video

5 comments | January 3rd, 2012

FLY post

This was sent to us by one of you...and it's just such an inspiring bit of self-acceptance and self-love we wanted to share it.  And then be it.  Just click on the link.  Totally, totally uplifting.  I Am Who I Am