Real women, real numbers: My Body Gallery

Have you wondered if your body is “normal,” for your height? Or just generally been curious about what about women who are your height/weight look like? What you might look like at your goal weight?

Enter My Body Gallery, a site where women upload pictures of their body, labeled with their real height and weight. Then users can search for users photos based on: height, weight, pants size, shirt size or even body shape (pear, apple, hourglass, etc.), to see photos of women who match those requirements. I, for one, am a huge fan.

Imagine if you’d been able to see a gallery of bodies that were your exact height and weight, when you were younger. I meet so many women, and can include myself as well, that thought they were “fat” in high school. When your body is developing faster than everyone else’s, or you’re built bigger (shout out to my tall girls), or even if you are a bit overweight, it’s easy to feel like a giant, fat nothing. Even as an adult, it can be difficult to gain perspective on our bodies. Sometimes, we can’t be objective about our own bodies — but seeing someone else’s can set off a lightbulb.

Of course, for some, a website like this could be triggering. For those who are prone to eating disorders, seeing “numbers” can be dangerous, especially when one searches the lower end and returns photos of quite thin women. (the 5’10” and 120lbs group is slightly disheartening — and those photos weren’t there a month ago)

However, I believe whole-heartedly that for many of us, seeing REAL numbers on REAL bodies can help to circumvent mental trauma in the long run. If I’d been able to see women who were 5 foot 10 and 180 pounds when I was 16, I probably wouldn’t have thought I was fat. Compared to the girls I was surrounded by? Sure, I was “fat.” I mean, GUYS. 180. That number is HUGE. That’s, like, close to 200. TWO HUNDRED! That’s gi-normous. Models and actresses are 120, don’t you know. Now that’s a “normal” number.

Crazy, right? As an adult, and having met plenty of other women with “high” numbers, I realize that holding myself — a 5 foot 10 woman who hit puberty at age 8 and developed hips, butt and boobs — 120 is INSANE. But those numbers seem to be the only ones we ever hear, for women — 110, 115, 120, 125… these are acceptable weights for women. Anything higher than 150 is taboo. Anything higher than 200 is SCANDALOUS.

This is why something like My Body Gallery is necessary. Women need to talk about their numbers. Their REAL numbers. Tall, short, fat, thin — girls and women need to know that that chick with the banging body and rocking self-confidence is 200 lbs. Or that a 250lbs woman can have an athletic build and be healthy. Or the 300 lbs woman who looks fantastic – not miserable – in a fabulous dress.

It’s refreshing to see photos of women who are my current size, as well as my goal weight (which is what I weighed in high school – sad, right?). I’m feeling really good about my body and my health, despite a relatively small/slow weight loss. Now I can look at other women who are the same height/weight and see that, yes! There’s really nothing wrong with my current size, either. You can be healthy, happy and look absolutely rocking… even if your “number” is large and “scary.”

My Body Gallery. Check it out. What do you think?

8 thoughts on “Real women, real numbers: My Body Gallery”

  1. I’ve seen this site before and I agree with you that this stuff is helpful (I also like the BMI project a lot) for the same reason you mention. The only time you see women’s weights mentioned are when they’re much, much thinner than average or very, very heavy. Which, yeah, it is totally cool that women weigh those amounts but it really skews everyone else’s perception of what they do and should look like.

    I’ve tried to be more open about my weight specifically because I think people need to put it out there that you can be 130 (or 150 or 200) and look fit and healthy. Sure there are some people who have small bone structure and very little muscle mass and don’t weigh all that much. But there are also people with larger frames and tons of lean mass who aren’t going to be that light no matter what they look like. Anything that recognizes that fact without imposing judgment on it is good by me. Yes, it can be used for less than healthy and less than positive purposes, but so can a lot of things. The more that we promote healthy and realistic body image, the fewer people will hopefully turn towards twisted self-images and self-destructive habits.

  2. Great idea, and I really enjoyed looking at the website, even though it is mildly triggering for me. I suffer from BDD and also have a high muscle %/fairly low body fat % (for a chick) so I weigh far more than I look like I do, but those numbers on the scale still haunt me like nothing else, which is why I try to avoid them as much as I can. One bad weigh day can get me into a very bad brain cycle of wanting to starve/binge (which I do not allow myself to do as I need fuel to keep training, but the urge is still there, and that scares me!)

    It was good to see other athletic-ish women out there of my height, weight and body shape who look like I might do, if I could actually *see* what I realistically look like (if that makes sense?!), but I also think that it is really positive for women to be able to see that a weight does not dictate how good you look, which seems to be the main premise behind the site.

    Thanks for the share!

    1. Yeah, I totally see how it can be triggering, especially now that more women are posting photos. When I looked at it a few weeks ago, when it was newer, there were no photos of women who were 5 foot 10 but under 120 pounds. Now there are many. So an individual with ED could TOTALLY go looking for “thinspiration” and find it, which is always concerning.

      I enjoyed seeing the athletic bodies that are my height/weight as well. It was really reassuring that focusing on fitness and less on the scale is the best thing for me right now.

    2. I’m also very muscular and have some body dysmorphia issues… the fact is that most women my height and weight do not look anything like me (probably because very few women have my body type to begin with). I find it more helpful to my self-image to look at women of my height and size rather than height and weight. As much as sizes are really varied and kind of a load of BS, it shows me that I’m not just kidding myself and I really am dense and muscular.

  3. I love this website. (I do see where it could be harmful for some people … but also there is not any judgment with the pictures or propaganda – which I think helps. Vs. a website with a given agenda/audience.)

    What I really dig about this website is that I am 5’8 and I want to be able to see what real women of all sizes and shapes that are my height look like. (We often don’t get a chance to see women 150+ in the media and often have to guess what people weigh etc.)

    If you look through all the pictures there is beauty at every weight and personally I find for me I think I appreciate my curves and wouldn’t really want to be much lower than 150/160 ever now. I think there is a lot of distortion in the numbers that people put forth and a lot of times say a women who is 150 is telling people she’s 135 etc. (Because she thinks that what people will be “OK” with.)

    So I think it’s important to reconcile all of these “real numbers” with “real people.” I think that is healthy. Hope that makes sense.

  4. Wow! This is so cool. I am checking it out now… *Scampers off*
    Ok, I’m back. So I think one of the coolest features is the body type button. I know that my hour glass/pear shape looks COMPLETELY different than my sister, who has more of an apple shape and a flat butt (I have a JLO booty, if I do say so myself). What a cool feature – and inspiring to see a chick in my “category” that is freakin’ hot with her curvy self! I think this is so important, and I actually really believe we need a similar website for women’s salaries based on position and location. The only way to keep crackin’ that glass ceiling is to mutually help ourselves negotiate, ya know? I wonder if something like that exists already…

  5. I’m late to this party, but have been staring at this site for about 20 minutes in amazement. People look like me. Holy shit. We don’t look half bad! To see others who are at 200 pounds (my goal) and my height ranging anywhere from a size 12 to 18 is comforting in some way. They all look great. I’ll look great. Of course for me it’s much more for health than looking great, but for someone who has zero concept of what I’d look like if I weren’t morbidly obese, it fascinates me.

  6. For those women who don’t “see themselves” on the site, why don’t you be that person for the website? It is very easy to upload a photo, black out your head and help show how diverse these different categories can look.

    Who knows there may well be an athletic girl out there dismayed by what the scale says – your photo may make her realise that a high scale reading can also mean a compact muscular body – not just a fat body.

    I am very short and quite heavy… but manage to maintian surprisingly good muscle tone – I was pretty surprised to realise that I look a lot smaller than many of the women in my category – who still looked awesome. It made me feel better about what that number on the scale says and not worry about it so much.

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