On Monday I was excited to discover that MyBodyGallery had reached another milestone: our 30,000th user-contributed image had been uploaded. I'm the person tasked with reviewing every single image that comes through our submission interface (there are several reasons we have to screen all images prior to making them live, including…ahem…what you might guess—let’s just say this non-puritanical website admin has seen some things that garnered a formidable blush!). When I saw this upload I was incredibly pleased to see that this momentous image was typical. Completely, utterly, almost boringly typical.
And in its typicalness, it has power. Serious power. Because it represents thousands of other moments, when a woman looked in the mirror and grabbed her phone and snapped a picture and uploaded it to our site to share what her body looks like for the benefit of unknown others. Sure, some of the images people upload are glamorous—dressed to the nines or vacationing in some luxurious place or photographed with professional-level skill. But usually they look like this: modest, candid, unfiltered, unplanned. A bit of clutter in the corners, hanging-around-the-house clothing, no makeup, nothing fancy.
Since MyBodyGallery was founded by photographer Odessa Cozzolino in 2010, we have had visitors from every single country in the world. We average 3 to 4 million page views each month and have been graced with this kind of steady visitorship for several years. That’s a lot of people being exposed to these everyday images of women. It may be a drop in one bucket of water pulled from the giant sea of distorted and manipulated images of women in the media, but it’s not inconsiderable. So thank you, anonymous 30,000th image contributor and all who came before you and will follow you: you are helping people.
Over the past two years as the day-to-day manager of this website and its associated social media channels, I’ve witnessed an incredibly diverse group of people engage with empowering themselves to embrace body positivity and to help others do so as well. My own body image has improved, and I find myself far less judgmental of others. It’s rare to be able to work for a project that makes a difference in the world while simultaneously making a difference in your own life. I’m honored to share this news of MyBodyGallery’s longstanding success in the tech world as it continues to plug away with its modest platform, its shoestring budget enabled by advertising revenue, and its dedicated group of participants who are continually generous in sharing images of themselves in what’s become a phenomenal repository of images of what women really look like.
Creative and Marketing Director, MyBodyGallery.com
The My Body Gallery project needs real Women! We need your help to develop the project and build a collection of photos that will help more women see themselves more clearly. Upload a picture of your full body. Our photo submission process also allows you to block out part of the image to protect your identity, if you wish. Please note that you must be 18 to upload a photo.