Want to know how we, women in the midwest, truly feel about our bodies?
As a boudoir photographer in the Chicagoland area, this is so fascinating and important to me. I work with women like you who have many insecurities about their appearance and constantly compare themselves to other women on a daily and weekly basis.
You have been helping me out on this fact-finding journey and 129 of you completed my body image survey. Thank you!
I know you’ll find the results interesting. But, more than that, I hope they can help you to see that it is vital to admire and compliment yourself as much as you admire and compliment the women around you.
How much exercise are you all getting and how does it make you feel?
It was encouraging to see that 65% of the women who took the quiz worked out regularly.
28% said that they did not work out at all, while the rest are trying to find a routine to get back to it.
The reason why this is encouraging is that 85% of those women who worked out on a regular basis said that they felt happy when they did and almost everyone talked positively about themselves while they were working out. This is wonderful news!
I love the quote from Legally Blonde when Elle Woods realizes the woman who is up for trial for the murder of her husband was her favorite fitness guru and fellow Delta Nu sister, Brooke Shields. Elle tells Professor Callahan, “I just don’t think that Brooke could’ve done this. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”
I am sure my husband will read this and secretly wonder why I haven’t been to the gym lately. LOL Don’t worry, this survey has encouraged me to try to get back into making the exercise a priority for myself. Even if it is just a daily walk. I know that I feel much better when I am active and exercise regularly, but I also know that it can be a difficult habit to get back into it and when you fall out of it.
We as women have a tendency to put ourselves and our needs on the backburner.
There are also medical factors that can come into play and personal struggles that we cannot see with our own eyes. You never know what someone is going through, so it is always best to just be kind. Be kind to them, and if it is you on the struggle bus, be kind to yourself.
How do you feel about and treat other women?
91.5% of the women who took this survey always speak positively about other women.
96.1% always compliment other women.
91.5% percent always felt happy after the act of complimenting other women.
89.2% talk positively about other women when they post photos of themselves.
I was so uplifted by these facts that we want to make other women feel good, and in turn, we feel good about ourselves. I am proud that we can be so kind to one another, and go out of our way to uplift another woman. You never know, it may just change the course of their day, week or even their life.
We are lucky to live during an age where there are so many positive women’s movements giving women a voice and a safe place to share their stories of what they have endured and how they want to bring forth change. I feel the positive change and energy that is happening amongst women. This is a positive shift and change that I want to be a part of.
But are you being kind to yourself?
Although with this survey we find that most women go out of their way to make other women feel special by complimenting them and speaking positively about them, unfortunately, we are still a far way off from truly being kind to ourselves.
27% of women do not talk positively about themselves while 31% only do so half the time.
39% are not satisfied with their looks and 47% are not satisfied with their looks when they see themselves in photos.
45% of women compare themselves to other women’s photos.
I actually feel sad and heartbroken reading this. One reason is that I can relate. I know that many of you can too. How amazing would it be if we could compliment ourselves as much as we compliment others and feel good about giving that compliment too? I know it will not change overnight, but I think we can all begin.
A few years ago I watched a simple, yet, powerful DOVE video.
I was reminded of this video after I started watching results from the Body Image Survey flood back in. It was the one where the forensic artist drew a picture of how a group of women described themselves and one of how the other person saw them. To see the extreme physical difference between what a woman views herself as compared to what a stranger saw is mind-numbing.
Compliments are where it’s at!
I do see that if we continue to say good things about one another, we can start to improve the way we see ourselves.
73% of people feel happy when they are complemented by other women.
It looks like we love to build others up, and it truly helps when we hear it from other women. I think over time this will help us all improve on how we see ourselves.
A boudoir photographer’s take on things
I get to work with incredible women every day. I see them in a different light and perspective than they see themselves. When they finally decide to come in for their own boudoir photo session, they are nervous to have their photos taken and they talk about every one of their insecurities. Body parts they dislike, physical features they focus on tearing apart and how they don’t like their smile or how they never like the photos they see themselves in. Many times they tell me about how someone made fun of a particular body part or feature once, and how it still makes them self-conscience.
After spending some time with my clients talking with them, having them tell me about their lives, helping them find the right poses and light while they are in front of the camera, there is always a moment when they finally relax and forget that they are having their picture taken. This is when I take the opportunity to show them a sneak peek of the back of my camera. I love watching their eyes light up when they actually see themselves as a beautiful woman.
They finally see what I see and what others see in them.
I have had women cry because they can’t believe that is really them, or because this is the first time they actually see themselves as beautiful. I believe that every single woman deserves to see themselves as the beautiful woman that they are.
I also can relate to every single one of my clients.
I too find that the speech I use for myself is constantly needing improvement. I have many flaws that I point out, and even when people give me a compliment, it is hard to accept it 100% of the time. But, I know that the more I have positive affirmations, exercise to feel good both mentally and physically, and surround myself with positive and uplifting women, I too will learn to love all of my flaws unconditionally.
Are we as women, finally tired of fashion magazines?
The results concluded that most women do not read fashion magazines anymore. I’m thinking that had I asked about fashion icons being followed on Instagram and social media I bet there would be a lot more traffic there. Those that did say that they read either fashion magazines randomly at checkout counters or their hair salons, nearly 70% didn’t feel great about themselves while they were looking at those magazines. Perhaps it is a good thing that we are not reading them.
I invite you to encourage and support the women who step in front of the camera by following @motioninspiredphotography on Facebook and Instagram. We start the process of feeling better about ourselves when we first start seeing the beauty in the people around us. Let’s all spread some love and endorphins around like glitter!