women and body image around the world

Photo: Henry Leutwyler

8 of 8



Shaping Up
Feeling more confident already? You aren't the only one. Here, a few triumphs for better body image around the world.

1. A Brazilian fast food pasta chain tries a unique payment system for International Women's Day: Clerks ask women if they feel beautiful and give a free meal to anyone who says yes.

2. Coming soon: a new and improved Barbie. The Lammily doll wears little makeup and, according to its creator, has the proportions of the average 19-year-old American woman.

3. Pictograms on a pair of restroom entrances at Jacksonville International Airport feature women (and men) of all shapes and sizes. (Too bad the ladies still wear triangular skirts.)

4. A YouTube star is born. Whitney Thore, a North Carolina radio producer, has three million views for her "A Fat Girl Dancing" videos, which she produces to promote body confidence.

5. David's Bridal stores use dress forms with less-than-perky breasts and even a little back fat when designing some of their gowns. Now that's a wedding gift.

The Naked Truth

Massage therapist Michael Millner, PhD, has seen hundreds of bodies, and he knows yours is perfect.

"When you bring your body to me, you might be self-conscious about how something is jigglier or hairier than you want it to be, but that's not what I'm going to notice. (For the record, I'm not judging your butt when I'm studying you; I'm trying to figure out if your hip rotators are tight.) When you're touching it, the body doesn't lie. It tells me everything: whether it's working right, moving the way it should. And it mostly does, which is kind of amazing. The body isn't designed to be ornamental; it's designed to be useful. Just getting out of bed in the morning, walking around and loving who you love—your body makes it all possible. But is yours normal? I'll tell you: It is. Every body is unique—but then, oddly, they're all pretty much the same. So cultivate an appreciation of your body's grace and coordination and all the things it does right. That's what I'm doing." —As told to Catherine Newman

Keep Reading: 6 ways to put your best self forward—without saying a word