The photographs are beautiful, and the message behind them is anything but superficial.

If you’ve flipped through a magazine since, oh, the dawn of time, you’ve probably seen photographs of women who are retouched almost beyond recognition.

These girls become "flawless," losing anything — bruises, scars, cellulite — that could identify them as less than what our society considers perfect. Emily Lauren Dick, a photographer, is not having any of that.

With her book "Average Girl: A Guide to Loving Your Body," Dick hopes to redefine what we consider beautiful by showing women just as they are — bruises, scars, cellulite, and all.  


Photo via Emily Lauren Dick, used with permission.

Photo via Emily Lauren Dick, used with permission.

Like most humans, Dick was tired of feeling like she didn’t quite measure up to society’s standards.

In fact, the idea for the "Average Girl" series was inspired by the photographer’s own experience.

"I called my project Average Girl because personally, I’ve never been a fat girl and I’ve never been a skinny girl … I‘ve always been in the middle … an Average Girl," she wrote on her project's Kickstarter page.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with average. In her mind, "Average was where we all fit." She set out to create something for "any girl who has felt mediocre and who has struggled with not being considered ideal by social standards."

Photo via Emily Lauren Dick, used with permission.

Photo via Emily Lauren Dick, used with permission.

"Average Girl" is more than just a book of beautiful photographs. Dick hopes it will be a tool to convince women they don’t have to constantly improve their bodies to fit society’s narrow definition of beauty.

"I think we all wonder if the way we look is normal and although we are all different, we are all very similar. Young women need to see that we have a lot of similarities!" Dick says of her choice to photograph women in their underwear. "The things we are embarrassed about having (stretch marks, scars, bruises, acne, etc.) are things that are very common. We've just been told by the media that we should not have them."

"When we see stretch marks, blemishes and bruises we have started to question why they are present … and that is the reason for this book," she explained on the Kickstarter site. "I want them to see the stretch marks, blemishes and bruises as markers of living their lives to the fullest."  

She interviewed more than 80 young women for the project and filled out the text of the book with reader-friendly facts and even worksheets about the value of a positive body image.  

"The photographic component only reinforces the message that we need to practice self love and we are only going to do this if we change social beauty standards," her page reads.

Photo via Emily Lauren Dick, used with permission.

Photo via Emily Lauren Dick, used with permission.

The photographs are stunning, but the topic of body image is anything but superficial.

Think back to those magazines you’ve been flipping through forever. Have you ever stopped to gauge how you feel when you see them? Would you even notice if you started to hate yourself or your body as those images flashed before your eyes?

When 3 out of 4 teen girls feel depressed, guilty, and shameful after three minutes of looking at a fashion magazine, it’s time to offer them some alternatives. Dick hopes her book will do just that.

"I want the conversation about women’s bodies to be focused on all that they have been through, what they can accomplish and what their bodies have done for them," she said.

Photo via Emily Lauren Dick, used with permission.

Want to help make Dick’s vision a reality? You can support her Kickstarter here.

Family
Facebook / Mikhail Galin

Putting your pet in cargo during a flight isn't always safe. In 2016, the Department of Transportation reported a total of 26 pet deaths and 22 injuries on flights. Because conditions in cargo can be uncomfortable for animals, the Humane Society recommends taking your pet aboard when you fly, or just leaving it at home.

It's not surprising that one Russian man didn't want to put his overweight cat in cargo during an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. What is surprising is the great lengths he took to fly with his four-legged friend.

Russian airline Aeroflot allows pets to fly inside the plane's cabin, as long as the cat weighs under 17.6 pounds and stays in its carrier during the flight. When Mikhail Galin went to check in, he was told he couldn't fly with his four-year old cat, Viktor. Viktor weighed in at 22 pounds and would have to be relegated to cargo.

But Viktor was sick from their earlier flight from Riga, Latvia to Moscow. And besides, Viktor had been allowed to fly inside the cabin during that flight. The airline staff didn't even bother to make Viktor sit on the scales. Galin was unable to persuade staff to bring his fur baby on board.

"To all attempts to explain that the cat won't survive there on an 8-hour flight with the baggage and would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life, she (the Aeroflot staff member) replied that there are rules," Galin wrote in a Facebook post translated from Russian.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Ask almost any woman about a time a man said or did something sexually inappropriate to them, and she'll have a story or four to tell. According to a survey NPR published last year, 81% of women report having experienced sexual harassment, with verbal harassment being the most common. (By contrast, 43% of men report being sexually harassed. Naturally harassment toward anyone of any sex or gender is not okay, but women have been putting up with this ish unchecked for centuries.)

One form of verbal sexual harassment is the all too common sexist or sexual "joke." Ha ha ha, I'm going to say something explicit or demeaning about you and then we can all laugh about how hilarious it is. And I'll probably get away with it because you'll be too embarrassed to say anything, and if you do you'll be accused of being overly sensitive. Ha! Won't that be a hoot?

Keep Reading Show less
popular