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."

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. ;)

Family

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

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I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

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The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

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Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

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For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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