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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. ;)

True

This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

There's a weird thing that happens when we talk about people dying, no matter what the cause. The 2,977 souls who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack felt overwhelming. The dozens of children who are killed in school shootings are mourned across the country each time one happens. The four Americans who perished in Benghazi prompted months of investigations and emotional video montages at national political conventions.

But as the numbers of deaths we talk about get bigger, our sensitivity to them grows smaller. A singular story of loss often evokes more emotion than hearing that 10,000 or 100,000 people have died. Hearing a story of one individual feels personal and intimate, but if you try to listen to a thousand stories at once, it all blends together into white noise. It's just how our minds work. We simply can't hold that many individual stories—and the emotion that goes along with them—all at once.

But there are some ways we can help our brains out. An anonymous visual effects artist has created a visualization that can better help us see the massive number of Americans who have been lost to the coronavirus pandemic. The number alone is staggering, and seeing all of the individual lives at once is overwhelming.

In this video, each marble represents one American who has died of COVID-19, and each second represents six days. At the top, you can see the calendar fill in as time goes by. Unlike just seeing a grid of dots representing the visual, there's something about the movement and accumulation of the marbles that makes it easier to see the scope of the lives impacted.

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Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

via Twins Trust / Twitter

Twins born with separate fathers are rare in the human population. Although there isn't much known about heteropaternal superfecundation — as it's known in the scientific community — a study published in The Guardian, says about one in every 400 sets of fraternal twins has different fathers.

Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, a gay married couple, from London, England both wanted to be the biological father of their first child.

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The story of Patricia and Leslie "LD" McWaters dying together might have both of those elements, but it is also tragic because they died of a preventable disease in a pandemic that hasn't been handled well. The Michigan couple, who had been married for 47 years, both died of COVID-19 complications on November 24th. Since they died less than a minute apart, their deaths were recorded with the exact same time—4:23pm.

Patricia, who was 78 at her passing, had made her career as a nurse. LD, who would have turned 76 next month, had been a truck driver. Patricia was "no nonsense" while LD was "fun-loving," and the couple did almost everything together, according to their joint obituary.

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