Give Your Body a Voice: The BODY IMAGE Project

It is because of articles like this – “Plus-size models are better role models? Fat chance!”- that we need projects like this – The BODY IMAGE Project.

There are, of course, many other reasons but this article by Kyle Smith from the New York Post really got me fired up. I know that the Post is known for its flashy headlines and sensationalism and that this article was written for cheap hits, and I hate to give it any more attention, but I simply cannot not talk about it.

Here are some of the most offensive comments:

  • “Over at V magazine…the most recent save-the-whales picture layout features a herd — sorry, group! — of semiclad plus-sized models.”
  • “If we can’t make them [overweight women] feel shame in this country, then maybe skinny models are our last resort.”
  • “If the fashionably starved are the only thing keeping the final 40% of us from turning into human zeppelins, they’re not as useless as you think.”

And that’s just a glimpse of the whole thing. I understand that obesity is a huge problem in this country, but this ranting, mean-spirited article is not the way to advocate healthy lifestyles. All this article does is poke fun at overweight women exclusively (the author, a man himself, doesn’t refer to men at all) and even worse encourages people to shame these women into losing weight.

Smith also claims that when he worked for a women’s magazine (I wonder which one) they would do a “Fat-Is-In” cover story every six months. I was worried about this too,  but after seeing some images from V Magazine’s issue I’d argue that their “size issue” is more than a “Fat-Is-In” cover story (although I could be wrong, time will tell). Pictures from the issue show these “plus-size” women in real fashion spreads modeling top designers like Ralph Lauren and Versace. 

Crystal Renn, one of the “plus-size” models included in V Magazine’s issue was also shot opposite a size 2 model wearing the same outfits in an 8-page editorial spread called “One Size Fits All” because the models wore the same editorial samples. While some have argued that shooting the women side-by-side puts them in competition of one another, I’d argue that doing this does two great things – (1) it gives “plus-size” models more editorial attention, (2) it shows that “plus-size” women really aren’t all that “plus-size” and look great in designer clothes. Maybe the side-by-side spread encourages readers to compare the two models, but at least in my analysis I found that Renn looked just as good, if not better, than the thinner model, but I guess Smith would disagree.

Luckily, after reading his Post article I came across The BODY IMAGE Project which helped undo some of the damage reading his article caused. The campaign asks: How do you feel about your body? and features weekly stories from real people discussing their body image. The videos intimately demonstrate the complicated relationships we have with our bodies as a result of the constant messages we receive that tell us that to be beautiful we must be thin.

Check out this week’s story:

This is such a powerful campaign. It’s the Vagina Monologues of body image!  Listening to these people (yes there is a man’s story) share their stories in such a raw way really hit me. The shame that Smith encourages us to inflict on overweight women is what is destroying many people’s self-esteem and body image. Fearful of not measuring up to today’s beauty standards, we become highly critical of our bodies. In fact, we’ve become so preoccupied with our bodies and looks that we often forget to examine ourselves from the inside, for who we are – not what we look like or how we measure up on the beauty scale.

We need to continue these conversations on body image to examine why we are so critical of our bodies so we can come to a place where we can celebrate all of us. Giving these issues – our bodies – a voice, like these videos do, will help us get to that happy place. Articles like Smith’s only serve to further break us down.

Check out my favorite video:

What do you think about The BODY IMAGE Project?

Related Care2 Posts:

“Fatties” Ousted From Dating Website: 5,000 Members Cut After Holiday Weight Gain

Another Magazine Takes a Bite From the Forbidden Fruit: V Magazine Dedicates January Issue to “Plus Size” Models

Exposed: Baring it All, Celebrating Your Body



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Haiti in Chaos After Earthquake

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Haitian Earthquake Has Destroyed the Capital City   Mercy Corps

Haiti’s reconstruction by Haitians living aboard     For these noble goals, we ask that the government of the country in which we reside to task our pay check $10 per pay period for the next 50 years so that we can rebuild our dear Haiti.

Pat Robertson: APOLOGIZE

Support the UN’s Response to Haiti Quake Victims United Nations Foundation

Honor UN Peacekeepers in Haiti  Better World Campaign



How to Help Haiti   Rebecca Young

Haiti in Chaos After Earthquake Kayla Coleman

Pat Robertson is Going to Hell Politics Tracy Viselli



Haitian Earthquake Has Destroyed the Capital City   Mercy Corps

Haiti’s reconstruction by Haitians living aboard

For these noble goals, we ask that the government of the country in which we reside to task our pay check $10 per pay period for the next 50 years so that we can rebuild our dear Haiti.

Pat Robertson: APOLOGIZE



Image from V Magazine, Spring Issue via Jezebel -


Karen R.
Karen R5 years ago

It's pressure from the media that is causing problems in the attitudes of women especially young women.

TheRise TheRise
TheRise TheRise7 years ago

We all come in different shapes and sizes and our women and men should not live a life of misery and early death all because a corporate/cultural interest wants to sell more diet pills and products , or wants to not have to spend so much money on making clothing ,due to using more fabric. Corporate interest plays a big role now a days with deciding what we should look like , and all for the motive of lining their pockets with cash. Unfortunately these media driven corporate made images we see and praise; we mimic and regurgitate like parrots ,because we were taught that from a young age through TV, Disney and peers. This harmful message is so subtly woven into the fabric of our culture , that we do not know it is a suicidal and unnecessary tradition. We just accept it as common practice. We are animals driven by visual images. Monkey see monkey do. Unfortunately we cannot achieve digitally altered images that distort our body parts, so bad that that we do not look even human. Teenage girls and boys are killing themselves due to not achieving this alien body image produced by our consumer, media ,whoring culture. The buck stops here! Take back your lives! Your are the consumer! Shout out with your dollars. Let them know by not buying. Say no to the hype!

Loesje v.
Loesje Najoan7 years ago

I am happy and care with my body. Thanks!

Odessa C.
Odessa C.7 years ago

I have also found that most of us have REALLY distorted ideas if what we look like. This website has helped me get a little more realistic about what I really look like rather than what I "see" in the mirror:

Thank you for all you do to help us be happy and comfortable and proud of our bodies.

Each body has its art... ~Gwendolyn Brooks

Greenseas gone
kathryn cook8 years ago

good post

Sue Cannon
Sue Cannon8 years ago

Being less than a normal size isn't healthy for anyone. Plus size models look better than the other models. Why do women keep buying the magazines that show the size zero models in them in the first place?

Lori K.
Lori K8 years ago

It is good for women to feel good about themselves, and to have a positive self image. It is not good for women to feel like they are losers because they are overweight.

Women should not base their worth on their body size, but on their accomplishments. The positive things one has done in their life are the only things that matter.

That being said, it is not healthy to be over weight. It should not affect your self esteem, but it should be dealt with from a health perspective.

Be proud. Feel good about yourself. But please don't think it is okay to be overweight, because it leads to debilitating health issues. Everyone, male or female, feels a lot better when they eat a healthy, high plant, low processed food diet, and exercises regularly.

Heather A.
Heather A8 years ago

Might I add that despite my recent weight gain, I've been feeling better than ever about my body because of strong women and the empowering articles on care2. Thanks, everybody.

Anne F.
Anne F8 years ago

I stopped reading when I noticed in one article that plus (for the top magazines) means size 12.
Strong women don't follow fashion. Smart women realize that male photographers and designers would dress prostitutes or geishas, not women with art to create, theorems to prove, and laws to pass.

Carol K.
Carol K8 years ago

Being fat is miserable, physically and emotionally. It limits your life in a thousand different ways. I won't pretend that I'm fine with my body as it is.


What we need is a widespread acknowledgement that the idea of any single standard of human beauty is absurd. Our bodies did not evolve in the service of Cosmopolitan magazine -- they evolved as systems for the support and reproduction of human life.

It is ludicrous to fight nature to such an extreme degree. But we are encouraged to do so every day by those who have found fortune in the promotion of unattainable/unsustainable ideals through the fashion industry, diet scams, exercise gadgets, and bariatric surgery.

If only we could learn to approach our physiques with health in mind, instead of this desperate effort to meet society's unrealistic standards of beauty.