A couple of weeks ago we put out a call asking readers to submit photos of a part of the body many women spend hours trying to fix or change: their thighs. We asked for them au naturel, un-Instagrammed or Photo-shopped, accompanied by your thoughts about that part of your bodies.
Even as we clicked "publish," we suspected no one would take us up on this. Posting photos of that great night out with friends on your Facebook page is one thing; sharing your upper leg region with the whole Internet is another. And yet we wondered what the effect would be if women did send them and let us post them. In a year when the diet industry is projected to generate $65 billion in revenue, how powerful would it be for readers to show off the way real bodies look?
Readers, you stunned us. As the 19th, then 38th, then 60th thigh pic appeared in our inbox, we amassed proof that, despite all influences to the contrary, lots of women are damn proud of their bodies -- their thighs specifically -- and for what those thighs can do more than how they look.
It was a revelation and an inspiration, to the point that we wondered what other parts of their physical selves bring women pride. What area of your body has served you best over the years? What part have you worked to make the strongest? What part do you love because it reminds you of the parent or grandparent who passed it down to you? What part sometimes makes you feel, when you look in the mirror, that even if other aspects of your appearance are imperfect (inevitable), you look like a million -- maybe two?
Take a photo (G- or PG-rated, please -- use your discretion, friends) and email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Accompany it with a sentence or two about why you love that part of your body. We'll post your images and captions here, so everyone else can admire and appreciate them, too.
I hardly complain about my body -- I kinda like it as a whole. But my favorite body part is my eyes.
My favorite part of my body is my back, because of my beautiful tattoo! It is a phrase from my favorite Charlie Chaplin poem.
My favorite body part is my hands because they are perfectly imperfect. They are covered in scars, but each scar tells a story from my childhood.
I wanted to send a picture of my feet because I think they are cute and for all the places they carry me, or my hands for the art they help create and because others say they are beautiful. But, I had to say my eyes because, though they are often red from allergies, have dark circles and need glasses, they see. They see the world and all the beauty that is in it, and for that I am most thankful.
By far my favorite body part is my tummy, it's a little soft and a bit rounder than it should be but it's a reminder of the journey that I've been on. I was a natural but unhealthy 90 lbs when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, along with finding the perfect mix of medication that gave me a newfound sense of calm came an almost 70 lb weight gain. At 5'5" that was an unhealthy size for me, so the journey began to reclaim a healthy body to accompany my newly healthy mind. Its been about a year now and I'm almost to my "goal" weight of 130 lbs, my tummy isn't perfect but I love that it reminds me of how far I've come both physically and mentally. So bring on the bikinis and tight dresses, I'm strong enough to know that I should be proud of my belly and my body!
My lips say what is on my mind, expresses the love I have for my friends and family, and take the nourishment that sustains my life. My very best feature!
Loving myself was never easy growing up. Every day was a continuous battle. As I got older, I learned to trust my struggles and accept my body for the best. I love food, and the way my stomach feels after I eat. It is the only place that can store my favourite food and keep me healthy. I get my chubbiness from my dads side and i am proud to say i love myself and my chubby stomach :) I want every other insecure girl to feel proud for what she owns and love themselves.
My naked and natural eyes are my favorite part - they give me something to love about my body every day.
Even without makeup, my eyes are still a beautiful green thanks to my Dad.
My eyes! They're dark which is typical by stats but seductive ...which in my opinion is RARE.
I love my legs because they: 1. look great 2. are muscular 3. get me places 4. help me run races 5. are the best trait I got from BOTH of my parents :)
They say (whoever they are) that eyes are the window to the soul - if that's the case, I must have one hell of a soul...I think my eyes are awesome! :)
No matter how I've felt- happy, sad, overweight, skinny- my eyes have always been a beacon of light and a window into my authentic self. They come directly from my mother, the strongest woman I know, which has always been a positive connotation for me.
My feet are my favorite. They have allowed me to dance my whole life and keep me on the ground. My feet are quirky and have lived a rough life but I couldn't go anywhere without them.
My favorite body part is my hands. My two best friends and I all have matching tattoos that will link us together forever. I used to be self-conscious about my skinny fingers growing up but I've learned that my hands are beautiful and I have decorated them with tattoos that mean a lot to me. I know I have modified my body part to make it become my favorite but its beautiful to me. Every girl is beautiful, tattooed or not.
I have to say it's my breasts...I didn't get them as early as all of my friends did, so I guess when I did I appreciated having them more...and they've served me pretty well I think...!
My favorite body part: My legs... I adore my legs because they are strong and give me the ability to walk tall and proud. Also, they look pretty hot adorned in cute shoes.
I love the eyes because they are the are the gateway to the women's soul.
Attached is a picture of my imperfect face. It's my favorite body part because of its imperfections...my crooked tooth, the wrinkles under my eyes, my ungroomed eyebrows, hair without color, my nose covered in pores. Everything I love about myself is right here!
Well it's not a "part" I suppose, in that it's not arm, leg, fingers. It's my green eyes. I think because green eyes are the least common color, and I usually get complimented on them (like I had to work at this, thanks mom!). And even at 48, they are a constant, and will never change color!
My legs. They keep me on my feet. And no matter the injuries they have sustained, they still move forward.
The one thing that I love the most is my hair, even back when I had no confidence, I love my hair because it is long, soft and naturally highlighted with reds, browns and blonde, compliments from my guatemalian father and irish mother. It completely unharmed from blowdryers, dyes and chemicals, natural beauty.
My legs are one of my favorite body parts. Being 47 they've taken me many places in my lifetime. I don't take for granted I'm able to walk every day. Over the past year and a half I've gotten out of a 24 year marriage that was physically abusive and in the process got back in shape by loosing 70 pounds. I feel physically, emotionally and mentally better then I have in a long time. To all women it is possible to do anything you set your mind to... Be strong...
There are several things about my body that I love, however my top 4 would be my smile because I have all my teeth (LOL) with a healthy set of lips to match which with a flash of a smile can turn someone's day around from negative to positive. My skin color, smoothness and natural moistness of it. I use very little oil or lotion and it naturally glows. My eyes because they are not perfectly round, crescent or almond shape they are big and bulge out but they match my hair color (sandy brown) which make them eclectic and sets me apart from looking like any and everyone else.
My nose. It's perfect. The rest of me is okay, but I do have the best nose. :-)
I love my arm (guns) because they are the fruit of my labor. I weight train now, but used to be a plus sized girl. I love when people ask me if I work out because now its obvious!
Honestly, I love all of me. But if I had to take a photo, it would be of my torso. I'm a size 14, and I love the curve of my waist & hips & I love the pocket under my belly button. Self-love is a choice & I rejoice in myself every time I look in the mirror.
My favorite part of my body is.. my eyes. They're huge and i love my long lashes! I've been through a lot in life, infact, i tried to take my own life when i was only 13 years old. When i looke at pictures of myself, i can still see the pain that i went through, but i also see a sign of healing, strength and empathy.
I use to work as a cocktail waitress. And everyone said I had nice behind. Made a lot of tips back then.
My arms. I am proud of my arms now and I am 60 years old. A lot of hard work, but well worth it!
Besides the sincerity that was commented in my eyes during professional sales, I was blessed with sparkling blue eyes and lashes that women even complimented me on. One of the few parts of my body, I never had to "contribute" anything to. Just wish the rest of me would have followed!
My mouth...eyes are windows to the soul, but your mouth expresses your life. Mine is perfect, scar and all because it is my way of showing my emotions.
The body part I love the best are my feet.My toes are long and slender-and no matter if my body is a size 6-8-or 10 my feet will always be perfect.And I love ankle bracelets-I have tons of them from all the beautiful places I have been.
My fingernails are by far my favorite attribute. They are remarkably strong and when kept polished, allow me to maintain my femininity in an otherwise masculine occupation.
I have a few best features, but what I get complimented on the most are on are my eyes. I get the shape from my mom and weird color combo of light brown, green with grey outline from both parents. They help me see the good, bad and the ugly in people!
This is my favorite part my eyes as they reveal whom I really are and because "eyes are more accurate witnesses than ears."
It would be my eyes. You can say so much without even speaking.
I am a 64 year old woman and people have always admired my hands and feet. I take very good care of them.
I love my forehead/hairline. It's got a slight widows peak and a sprinkling of freckles where my hair parts. There's something unique and subtle about it.
My favorite body part is definitely my eyes. Everyone says I have my grandpas eyes, or "they can see him in me"... So I gotta say I love my grandpa, and I love my eyes =)
I love my feet! They rock with these shiny stilettos! Pretty good for being in work boots most days...
My favorite body part is my eyes. I've always thought they were beautiful and unusual. They come from my father who I have never and probably will never meet and it gives me a way to connect with him. Everyone in my family has green-brown hazel eyes, mine are a greyish-bluish-greenish colour :)
I like my stomach, as I lay down it lays even flatter. I am almost 51, I think I can look down it this belly for a few more years and be happy.
I love my freckles! They go very well with my red hair & green eyes :)
My favorite part of my body is my hair. It's big, poofy, curly, and something that helps me stand out from the crowd.
I love my collarbone. It's delicate looking, sexy, defined, very feminine and strong. Which all reflect my inner thoughts of myself. Also it was the first place on my body I could really see the product of my weight loss, 140lbs down, another 20 to go!
My eyes are my favorite feature about my body. To truly communicate and have a connection with people, eye contact is usually essential. It's the first thing I notice about others, and I hope that others first notice my eyes and the smiles, joys, and sometimes sorrows that are conveyed through those orbs.
My favorite feature is my face. My blue-green eyes and dark hair are very reflective of my Irish heritage, and I love the fact that every part of me recalls a feature of someone else in my family (which I am often reminded by family members whenever they pull out old photo albums). Women should be proud of their features, because they represent a mosaic of all the women in their family who have come before them. We cannot be defined by Hollywood stereotypes by trying to conform to one standard, because the roots of those desires are planted in artificial soil (hence the overly airbrushed pictures in magazines). Human bodies are meant to be as diverse as the people who own them; strength and true beauty, regardless of perfection, lie not in the eyes of the beholder, but in the hearts of those who aim to use their talents to make a positive difference in other people's lives.