New site My Body Gallery is founded on the premise that, if you get to see photos of other women whose bodies are like your own, it can help with body image issues and give you a more subjective view of how you "really" look, since most women believe themselves to be wider and heavier than they actually are. Body hate is an issue that really is vital to address; poor self image adversely affects so many areas of a person's life, and it's rampant. However, I'm not certain that comparing my body to other people's is actually helpful. To see why I can get behind this site's motives, but perhaps not its reality, just keep reading.
Body Gallery lets you choose height, weight, body shape, and a bunch of other parameters so you can find women who are supposed to reflect your own shape. The goal is to have you look at them, think "wow, these are beautiful bodies!" and feel good about your own form.
When I actually clicked through the photos of me-shaped ladies, though, I just ended up feeling bad that my waist isn't smaller and that my thighs are more prominent than my chest. "At least with models in magazines," I found myself thinking, "I know they're so Photoshopped that it's dumb to beat myself up about not being eight feet tall and made entirely out of unicorn horn."
Which is when I realized what the problem is: me. On Body Gallery, I'm not forced to evaluate images of myself in a more subjective light. I still come with all the baggage I have about my body. So some people, like myself, will end up feeling worse about themselves because women the same height and weight look "better."
Alternately, there's also the possibility that people who adjudge their bodies more attractive than the women they're given for comparison will gain confidence not in solidarity, but because they're "beating" other people with similar frames, and that's incredibly unhealthy, too.
I realize that many other people may find the site wonderfully affirming, but I just left a little bummed and torn down by the same niggling internal issues it's supposed to help with. Would using Body Gallery make you feel better, or do comparisons do more harm than good for you, too?