Show me people who feel good about the way they look.
July 18, 2008 5:20 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for pictures that could serve as an antidote to "thinspiration".

I'm recovering from an eating disorder, and I've recently gained more weight than I'm comfortable with. Rationally, I know I look fine, but occasionally I look in the mirror and freak out a little bit. I'm having a bit of trouble feeling attractive and sexy in my "new" body.

I think it would be good for my self-esteem if I could find a collection of photographs that highlight the fact that it's possible to be beautiful at any size. So, does anyone know of any websites or photography books that showcase people of all different sizes? Erotic and/or nude pictures would be especially cool, but I'd also appreciate any images that feature imperfect people embracing their flaws.

posted by arianell to Society & Culture (20 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
You might like to read this essay, by Heather Corinna. Her site has lots of pictures of the type I think you might be looking for, which is to say, often NSFW. (I've used her site for reasons similar to yours, and I do think it helped me in a very direct way.)
posted by adiabat at 5:34 PM on July 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

You know what might be a good idea...if you help others conquer what you have conquered.

I HATE to sound like a commercial, but check out and see where you can "get involved".

They have that whole campaign going about women looking beautiful.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:40 PM on July 18, 2008

Miss England contestant Chloe Marshall.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:45 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

I really liked the 365 Portraits project. It really seems to capture a wide variety of people at their essence.
posted by Flying Squirrel at 6:03 PM on July 18, 2008

Full Body Project which has been discussed on the blue.
I also find Spencer Tunik to be inspiring. There are lots of different bodies in his photos... but en masse they aren't noticeably different. We are more alike than we are different.
posted by kimdog at 6:09 PM on July 18, 2008

Not sure if this is exactly what you had in mind, but I've always enjoyed the way that Diane Arbus photographed her subjects with a dignity that the rest of society never gave them.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 6:33 PM on July 18, 2008

Go look up Beth Ditto, lead singer for The Gossip.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:53 PM on July 18, 2008

find some porn from - girls of all sizes being down right sexy. it's all natural masturbation stuff...ishotmyself, abby winters and beautiful agony are also places for sexy at all sizes bodies.
posted by nadawi at 6:57 PM on July 18, 2008

The BMI project illustrates the different ranges of BMI and shows real people at all sorts of sizes, as does the height-weight sample page. Neither are "look at how hot I am" projects, but more about showing how measurements and looks are sometimes not well-correlated.
posted by judith at 7:23 PM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

i don't think you need to look at overweight people to feel okay--i would be afraid that you would look at them and transfer your disordered body image to thinking you are obese when you are maybe a pound above the minimum healthy weight.

the thing i hate is that we've lost touch with what NORMAL people look like. who on TV is a size 10 or 12? they're all either size 2 or size 20.

if you are in the u.s., i have been struck by how the female dancers on "so you think you can dance" have normal body types. they are very athletic and beautiful, and every one of them would be told to lose weight if they were actresses or models. so they might be good role models. they are not fat and beautiful, they are normal and beautiful.

also, i don't know if this show is on, but kat from "l.a. ink" is a very glamorous, hot gal who has some curves. catherine zeta-jones is incredibly beautiful and curvy. j. lo is looking nice and curvelicious since she had her babies. even heidi klum, on "project runway," is looking a bit meatier and not model-frail. ditto tyra banks. the model frederique van der wal is very curvy (she does a lot of victoria's secret catalogs and shows). if you watch "lost in translation" and see scarlett johanssen in comparison to the girl playing the model her husband is photographing, she's easily got 30 pounds on the model. and yet she is totally beautiful. liv tyler is curvy and lovely. if you watch the german movie "the lives of others," the main character's girlfriend is a tall, voluptuous woman. kelly clarkson is curvy and cute.

this summer, watch the olympic swimmers to see what a strong body with lean mass looks like. (okay, dara torres has some incredible muscle tone thing going on, but she's not a normal swimmer.)

there are a lot of beautiful people out there who are your weight, and above--it's just a matter of learning to recognize them. flickr has a neat photoset of various BMI categories and the people who fit into them. a lot of those people are beautiful and confident and sparkle, in all sizes.

good luck! i think you will get used to your new body. in the meantime, be kind to it. it's just trying to help.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:24 PM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

You want your great-grandfather's porn.

The pinup girls in the Victorian and post-Victorian era were nothing like today's models. They're ordinary women. They have bits of chub and imperfect bodies and nothing is airbrushed and they're not shaved and they are - still - gorgeous.

My favorite suppliers for this stuff are the livejournal communities vintage_sex (one underscore) and retro__sex (two underscores). (Vintage is for pre-1940's; retro is from 1950-1970.) To gain access to these, you need a Livejournal account with your birth-year posted prominently somewhere in the userinfo.

There are loads of other sites with this sort of theme, but those two are my favorites.
posted by cmyk at 8:32 PM on July 18, 2008 [5 favorites]

Toccara, Vogue Italia, this month. I don't think this link has all the pictures, if you can find the magazine I think there are more in this editorial. She lost at America's Top Model, I'm not sure why, but she is in Vogue, and who the heck knows where the other ladies from that season have ended up as far as modeling careers go. I have nothing to say about flaws whatsoever, she's gorgeous.
posted by citron at 1:44 AM on July 19, 2008

Wow, every website that's been mentioned so far has been really cool/uplifting.

And damn, Toccara is smokin'.
posted by arianell at 3:45 AM on July 19, 2008

I really like the Dove commercials and now they have the Campaign for Real Beauty. Check it out.
posted by mynameismandab at 11:14 AM on July 19, 2008

I completely understand how you are feeling! I still fixate on my body shape to some degree (honestly, who doesn't?), but this website helped me become more comfortable with my boobs.
posted by mixed greens at 12:57 PM on July 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Are you still in therapy for the eating disorder? Because not feeling good about the weight you are gaining is going to be a problem- whether it's an eating problem or a body identity sort of thing- and you should be talking to someone about that.
posted by gjc at 1:48 PM on July 19, 2008

Leonard Nimoy has done some gorgeous nudes for his Full Body Project.
posted by happyturtle at 11:17 AM on July 20, 2008

posted by divabat at 8:06 PM on July 20, 2008

I could have written this post. Thanks, everyone, for the great suggestions, and thanks for posting, arianell.

I don't think the Curvy Girls community on LJ has been mentioned yet.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:53 AM on July 21, 2008

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