Over the past few months, you may have read a few of the features our friends at XOJane.com have done inviting readers to submit photos of what women's bodies -- their bodies -- look like without airbrushing. The site's readers were game, submitting photos of their naked bellies, bare morning faces, and, most recently, plus-size figures in "fatkinis." We were mesmerized by the honesty of the project and the pride the women who contributed took in their bodies -- the ones they have, not the imaginary ones someone told them they should have.
To keep that momentum going, we decided to do a callout of our own. This time, instead of faces or bellies or swimsuits, we're focusing on a part of the body possibly more charged for women than their bellies:
You read that right. We want you to send us pictures of your upper leg region, un-retouched, and then we are going to post them on the Internet. Don't all bombard our inbox at once.
Thighs are fraught. Even those "ideal" in size resist perfection. There really isn't much you can do about cellulite or stretch marks, despite the promises of advertisers. But we often make them problematic in ways beyond the physical. For the most intelligent, self-aware women, they can come to represent inadequacy, failure, loss of control -- even though they are, after all, just part of your equipment for getting around.
We all know intellectually that the size of your thighs (or stomach or butt) has absolutely no bearing on how good a person you are, how successful you are at your job, or how easy it is to get someone to have sex with you. But sometimes it's important to show it.
This week, we'd like to give thighs some long overdue appreciation.
Send a picture of yours to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with a caption expressing what you like about them or how you came to accept them. No faces or last names required.
This is hard, even if we don't want it to be, even if it shouldn't be. But by putting your thighs out there, you'll help convince someone else that there's nothing wrong with her own, and that she has nothing to hide.
LOOK: Women's Real Thighs, Un-Airbrushed
I love my thighs because without them I couldn't dance or swim. They help me do all the fun stuff!
I have been a size 0-1 for as long as I can remember. To have thighs that jiggle is something I enjoy very much so. There was never a moment that I was uncomfortable with my body, but the attention I attract from the opposite sex is something I have to get used to :)
I am learning to love my thighs because there is literally nothing wrong with them! They are imperfectly perfect :)
I personally love my thighs. The best part i love about my thighs are the way they touch one another the way they rub while i walk, sit and stand. My thighs let me know that it will always hold me together. In the picture there are stretch marks that are visible, it took a very long time for me to accept the way my thighs felt and looked after i was getting older. Now as i am 19 i tell myself that this is the way my thighs are going to be and this is how the stretch marks are going to look like, it was a big process but i learned my way to accept the thing i could not change and love them for what they offer to me. There is no magazine industry or phototshop that can change my view of my body. And this is the best part- it's MY thighs. And i love them just the way they are. Thank you for appreciating thighs. :)
here is a picture of my thighs, dimples and all. i love that they are an invaluable asset in roller derby. the hand in the picture belongs to my husband. -jackie
It's always good to give yourself and everyone else a boost of self esteem at the same time, so I'll do this challenge! Sometimes I love my thighs (although of course I wish they were more toned) because they still look great in leggings or a little sun-kissed and they're strong so I actually have a chance at leg-wrestling with my boyfriend! :)
Hope it doesn't ruin this "thing" you're doing when I say, I do not like my thighs in fact I haven't worn shorts in public in over 2 years. But you asked for real.
I love my thighs because they're strong. -Ceci, 24
Because, I love myself and my legs are what walk me through this life.
"My thighs might have ripples but they're strong."
I weigh 95 lbs. I am very petite (and healthy, according to my doctor), but I wanted to show everyone that "skinny girls'" thighs touch too! -CS
I have always been proud of my body and staying in shape and being fit and tan, and it's awesome when people notice! I run a lot so that helps me keep my thighs toned and strong! -- DM
Age 38. Roller derby, mofos. -- AC
I am 38, have two kids, own a business and exercise regularly. I have had stretch marks since a growth spurt in 5th grade and I have learned to accept them. I bravely send my thigh to you to gaze upon. -- LR
My thighs might have ripples but they're strong. -- AG
I am 58 yrs old, Im very fortunate I have nice legs, no cellulite at all, it runs in my family, my mom, my aunt, my grandmother's, all had/have nice legs, same with my sisters. -- KB
I love my near symmetrical thigh freckles! -- RT
Bruised, big bitten, thunderous and unshaven. Powerful like me! -- LB
My fuller figure thighs. The scar on my left knee reminds me how strong they are! -- SB
I was an athlete and a dancer in high school and college but after a back and knee injury and two masters life slowed down dramatically and I've put on 70 lbs. Not always too happy when it comes time to shop for pants, but thank goodness I did so many squats and have no cellulite. They are the favorite part of my body and my husbands favorite part as well. -- NA
I LOVE my thighs -- SM
I love my thighs because they're pretty and strong and sexy. I have 4 long scars on my hips/upper thigh from surgeries I had when I was a kid -- I wear them with pride; they're part of who I am. -- LD
I'm a size 4 with cellulite. Blame it on genetics. -- KG
A guy said I should give up cycling because it built up muscle and made my legs too big. Seriously?! -- HR
I don't mind my thighs -- a little pale, maybe, but not bad for a 50 year old lazy lima bean! And they work just like they're supposed to -- what more could you ask for? -- LR
They jiggle, they definitely touch and they're my least-loved body part. But without them, I wouldn't be able to go anywhere. -- JAS
My thighs measure 32'' around, more than some women's waists. I love them because my baby niece thinks they're the perfect resting place. -- HA
I've never had a stage in my life when I've felt more attractive than I do now. My thighs are the biggest they've ever been. Thank you, thighs, with your cellulite and stretch marks and moles. You are part of my happiness now. -- KT
My thighs are chunky, but I accept them. there's a lot of muscle in there, and I feel proud when I can lift heavy loads -- some of my skinny friends can't even lift 50 lbs. I know that the size of my thighs, though maybe not aesthetically ideal, is directly related to my strength -- and I'd rather be strong than thin!!! -- RN
native american thighs -- DRC
Here are my 40+ year old thighs -- never really appreciated them, but without them I couldn't do all the things I do. They are by far the strongest muscles I have. -- SF
My thighs are a part of what God blessed my body with on this journey! --DW
My sexy chocolate thighs, I love them because they're shapely, jiggly, and just the right size. --AO
They're not perfect, but they still work after years of not working out. God bless Em. -- LS
I love my thighs because they help me get through my hard workouts. It's taken years for me to accept the lovely stretch marks I got from high school. To me they are a real woman equivalent of supermodel legs. --AB
I love my thighs because they're thick and juicy! -- AH
I love my thighs because they show that I am both strong and soft. --SJ
Working on toning them!! --AG
Not so in love with the spider veins, but pregnancy did that, and I wouldn't trade them. They are strong and get me places. MANY years ago I read an article, in Cosmo magazine, I believe, that was all about thighs. Soft, warm and yielding thighs that a man could snuggle and cuddle (written by a man I presume). He didn't want rock hard thighs akin to tree trunks. I've always felt a little better about my own after reading that :) --MB
I wasn't in love with my thighs...they don't look like the tan, airbrushed version of thighs I've been inundated with my whole life. Having said that, they're strong, they get me around, my husband loves to stroke them, and I have learned to appreciate my lily-white, dimply, lumpy, fabulous thighs. --DB
I am a 330lbs woman, I wear a size 24 pant and my legs are lovely. I came to love them because they are strong and the skin that covers them is caramel mocha and beautiful too. -- M
I decided to post his photo in honor of my (impressionable) niece. My sister is a "fashionista" and I used to order her a subscription for a high-end fashion magazine. My sister called me a few months later and politely asked me not to renew her subscription. My niece (12 at the time) had started looking at the photos of the models and began to be critical of how she looked! I felt terrible and cancelled the subscription. To my niece... I am so sorry and this is one (of many examples) of what "real women" look like! --GS
I'm about 5'11" tall and 180 pounds. I've never been "petite," and I've dealt with a lot of body issues. But one thing I've always been okay with are my legs. I was very athletic as a child, and I remember a guy telling me once that I had "tree trunk" legs. For a long time, that bothered me. Now, I embrace it. I've been a dancer/dance teacher for the last 12 years. I've got muscular legs with some cellulite, and that's fine by me. -- JO
My lovely thighs, which helped me bike to work this morning. Thanks, thighs.--MY
Strong. These thighs will run between 800 and 1000 miles this year. I didn't love them until reading that Crystal Renn had to whittle down to 98 lbs before her thighs didn't touch (she and I are both 5'9"). In that moment, I instantly decided to let my thighs be strong and healthy instead of some unhealthy (for me) aesthetic. --FG
Worked hard to lose eighty pounds and finally accept my still fluffy thighs --Anonymous