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14 unique 'body muses' celebrate their bodies for what they do — not what they look like.

"We hope ... each diverse story will topple the idea that there is one body narrative we should all aspire to."

14 unique 'body muses' celebrate their bodies for what they do — not what they look like.

What's the difference between focusing on what your body does...

Images via iStock.


...vs. focusing on how your body looks?

A lot.

Clinical psychologist Stacey Rosenfeld told Mic that "mothers who help their daughters focus on what their bodies can do versus how they appear — a shift from body as object to body as subject — are likely to see their daughters develop a more positive body image."

Focusing on what your body can do = more positive body image.

Yes! To! That!

No to ads like this.

All images via mybodydoes/Instagram, used with permission.

But you see that sticker in the corner there?

It doesn't like all this body-shaming in the media, either. And using stickers like this is one way women and men are starting to tell a different story about what makes a body good.

My Body Does and its followers have started to place stickers over ads that tell us we should look a certain way to be happy.

NOPE. Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

The platform of My Body Does started out as a sticker campaign, but it's transforming into a space for women and men to reclaim the story that gets told about their bodies. It's a space to celebrate every story, every body — and even to tell your own!

According to founders Jess Andersen and Ashley Simon:

"We started My Body Does because we felt assaulted by the sexist ads we encountered all over the city — especially in the NYC subways — and we wanted to place something over those ads that was more positive, meaningful, and something that made us feel like we were being heard."


Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

My Body Does is exactly what it sounds like: a platform that celebrates all bodies ... and what they do! It's kind of awesome to see.

Multiple long-term studies have shown that losing weight doesn't necessarily make you healthier (YES REALLY). And on top of that, more studies have shown being called fat doesn't make children healthier — it actually makes them more prone to obesity.

This stuff has got to stop. How?

We need to start telling different stories.

In that crazy New Year's atmosphere of "YOUR BODY NEEDS TO CHANGE," My Body Does' vibe...


Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

...is a nice alternative, I think!

"We realized that body positivity isn't just about body image, it's about all the stories we are being told about our bodies and what they should look like, act like, and feel like."

Founders Ashley and Jessica. Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

To combat all the crazy stories we're told by the media about how our body should look, My Body Does started the #MyBodyMuse series on their Instagram.

They feature a real human being with a body (no ghosts, sorry) and ask them to tell its story.

"We see the series as a small way for people to claim their own body narrative. We hope that as the series grows, each diverse story will topple the idea that there is one body narrative we should all aspire to."

Here are 14 of the #MyBodyMuses, their stories, and their own personal inspirational sayings. What's yours?

Each person was asked a few different questions, from "What do you like about your body?" to "If your body was your friend, how would you describe it?"

Here are their answers. If you want to learn more about them, click on the links below their photos.

Muse #1

"I love that this body is mine. Whether I am dancing naked in the moonlight on the beach or eating ramen on my living room floor, it is my choice. I get to choose what I do with this temple, and that freedom is incredibly empowering to me."

Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

"We think women in particular aren’t asked what makes them feel good or what makes them feel present in their bodies, so we’ve gotten a really positive response to that question."

Muse #2

"I love that my body never lies. I especially love my face and my taste buds. While there are times I wish an emotion didn't show, my face always does all the talking. Being able to wake up every morning and stretch every muscle is the best gift I can ask for."

Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

Muse #3

"I love how my body lets me communicate with people not using words."

Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

Muse #4

"I am inspired by teaching yoga to older women, even a 94 year old amazing lady whose mantra is 'I am alive and kicking!' Like many women, I often don't like what I see in the mirror, but I take a breath, put on my smile and am grateful for today."

Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

Muse #5

What do you like about your body?

"I am learning to love everything about it. What I like most is its ability to support me no matter what. My body always loves me no matter how I treat it. I love that it gave me two healthy boys."

If your body were a friend, how would you describe it?

"Funny, supportive, and Uber flexible."

Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

Muse #6

"I like the way my body moves. I like the way it absorbs music and lets beats and melodies run through every ounce of my being. And I like how my body tells me what it needs if I really listen!"

Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

Muse #7

"I love all the ways every part of me feels alive when I'm dancing. I think dance is one of the purest forms of self-expression and connection to oneself and others; I'm so grateful my body urges me to do it whenever it can!"

Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

"Over the last few years I've really started feeling more comfortable in my skin, largely because I've gotten better at moving towards the things that make me feel good (dancing, laughing, running, yoga, sometimes just loafing around) and away from the things that make me feel crummy (negativity; most women's mags)."

"Mainstream media is presenting one narrative about bodies (with some token diversity thrown in), that's so obviously damaging to our sense of worth that at times it's laughable."

Muse #8

"My body has been my partner in crime since day one. It's a world-traveling, cheese-eating, hug-giving, sports-loving, currently sleep-deprived, bundle of goodness and I wouldn't change a thing (not even these curvy hips)."

Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

Muse #9

"I love my eyes, because they remind me of my mom's. I love my feet, because they take me places and help me dance. I love my boobs because they're soft and pretty and asymmetrical and make me feel feminine and powerful. I used to feel at war with my body, but now I try to honor and celebrate it as much as possible."

Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

Muse #10

"I love that my body can sing and dance and make people feel something when they see me perform."

Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

Muse #11

"I like that my body still lets me behave like a kid, hopping up onto countertops to reach high items, and exchanging piggy-back rides."

Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

Muse #12

If your body were your friend, how would you describe it?

"She's that pretty needy friend that gets upset if you don't call for a while, and it's annoying because sometimes you need space. But then when you are having a breakdown she's right there and you remember all the reasons you love her."

Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

Muse #13

What does body positivity mean to you?

"To me it means practicing gratitude for whatever privilege I can enjoy through my body; appreciating my senses, my mobility, just all these different abilities that enable me to explore and fully enjoy life."

Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

Muse #14

"I love that my body is so strong and sturdy! I am a little clumsy and I sometimes trip, fall or roll my ankle. But because I have this solid, thick structure, I never end up hurting myself! And I just love my thick thighs that power me through so much! Whether it be running, hiking, biking and my favorite activity, dancing, my legs never disappoint!"

Image via mybodydoes/Instagram.

Don't you kinda feel better? It worked for me, that's all I can say.

Imagine a world where everyone, young and old, is able to describe what their body would be like if it were their friend. I know it's cheesy, but that's a world I wanna live in.

I'm sharing this because the stories these women tell make a lot of sense to me ... and they're what I want the people in my life to see and hear.

We asked the founders of My Body Does about what a new year's resolution should look like. After strongly stating that they're not in the "tell you what to do with your body or your life" game, they came up with this:

"At least commit yourself to begin the work of sifting through some of the things you think or feel about your body, deciding what's not for you, what's a story that has been pressed onto you from the outside."

Tell your body's own story ... and not someone else's version. That's a resolution anyone can stick with. No gym membership required. ;)

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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