The xoJane Real Girl Belly Project

An ode to real bellies, and real women, skinny, fat and in between.

Two comments that stood out:

“I have similar problems with self image when it comes to the belly pics. It’s like, yes these women love themselves and their bodies enough to put their photos up, but it actually makes me feel worse looking at them because it feels like 75% of them are skinny girls who would be more ok with showing their bellies anyway.
I think I’d be more comfortable if I saw a higher percentage of people whose bellies didn’t look so thin.”     

  • ulteriormotive                      4 comments collapsed                  CollapseExpand
            “I understand where you’re coming from. That said, this comment felt hurtful. This isn’t the “Bellies Deemed Unacceptable By Society Project”. They called it the “Real Girl Belly Project”. All of these bellies are real.
    What you call skinny might not be skinny to someone else. Someone whose photo you might look at and think, “Oh, whatever, it must be so easy for her” may have gone through hell in order to accept her belly for what it is.
    Skinny girls, fat girls, average girls – we ALL struggle to accept our bodies. We should be welcoming to anyone who wants to participate in this project, and not grumbling about who struggled to get where they are and who didn’t, or who’s “really” participating and who’s not.
    The whole POINT is that society has forced us into comparing ourselves to one another and competing with each other. So if you’re looking at this gallery and thinking, “Well, I’ve got it worse than her” then you’re missing the point. “

Be sure to have dessert these holidays. Go for the real stuff. Without the guilt. Watch your belly expand after you indulge, be amazed at its flexibility, and the many things that occur (or have occurred) in that belly. Right up my nellybelly alley, this project 🙂



  1. elxroflife · December 28, 2011

    Let’s share a bit about what this subject triggers within me. As a kid I was a tomboy, not concerned with body image. When I look at pics I see baby fat that didn’t go away until after I turned five, then I became naturally skinny. Intuitively also as a kid, I never really went for the sweets, and only indulged in hearty, savory foods. As a teen I was awkwardly tall and very lean, and struggled with that, wanting curves, hunching my shoulders forward as to appear of more average height. I tried – by eating junk food – to get more curvy, and as a result developed a double chin and a fat belly, no hip curvage to speak of.

    And so I stopped binging on junkfood and naturally lost the excess chin and belly, although my belly did not completely go flat. I sucked it in on the beach, which if anything must have strenghthened my abs. I learned to appreciate being tall when I played competitive volley ball.

    At age 17 I started to look like the super models, and along with that, came the wrath of people, particularly girls and women. Being a sensitive person, that became at times a struggle too. There really wasn’t anything I could do about it. On the other hand I enjoyed the attention from boys and men, which most of the time was respectful and sweet. I had more male friends than female as a result.

    In my twenties I moved to the Caribbean, and my body became more toned from daily swimming in the Caribbean Sea, and from discovering the kinds of foods my body really thrived on.

    At 29, living in NY, I had my first baby. I had a homebirth which resulted in a transfer to the hospital as the baby arrived knocked out from the pressure on the head. He was transfered by helicopter and my husband and I were in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, when the paramedic, a typical New York, no nonsense woman, looks at my body wrapped in a sarong, exclaimed “Look at her, she just had a baby and she looks better then me, I hate her!” It didn’t hurt to hear her say those words, as I felt it had nothing to do with me, and she was for once honest. Hearing those words pronounced was very different from receiving that quiet wrath I have often encountered. And it put me back on earth after the high of giving birth. The baby turned out just fine.

    At 47 now I am curvier, not because I have three children, but because my body is just doing its thing, and I love it, even though I do have some “back fat” or “love handles”. I have more female friends than male at the moment. I honor my body by taking care of it, and educating myself on nutrition, eating mainly things I thrive on. One criteria is: going for delicious nutritious. If it doesn’t taste good, it won’t make it on my plate. Keeping in shape with yoga, walks and hiking, and swimming in Summer. Occasionally I go for a dessert, may even get a second serving, but always with real ingredients and never overly sweet. Diabetes runs in my family, which is probably why I have always intuitively stayed away from the sugary stuff. When I learned that sugar is an absolute bummer in terms of weakining the immune system, I had another reason to stay away from it (most of the time). But it is a whole lot better than the fake sugars in diet foods, which never make it on my grocery list. Honey, raw blue agave nectar and palm sugar are my sweeteners of choice. And the little things in life, like watching my children sleep, are my most favorite kind of sweet.

  2. elxroflife · January 26, 2012

    Reading this again, the inner voice asks one question: “Would you have encountered that quiet wrath, if it was not in you?”

    The answer is clearly no. Wrath or hatred is simply blocked love. Had my share of it at the time too. I certainly had that in me. And at times it still happens that I allow the love to be temporarily blocked. It’s a work in progress. To be fair, media programming certainly has done its job as well, throwing a monkey wrench in whether or not one can love his or her body. That is, if we allow it. When we become conscious of it, we can deprogram – letting go of the beliefs that no longer serve – and create our own programming around body image, as well as self love.

    A healthy body weight is different for each person, as all creatures come in different shapes and sizes. I choose to see beauty in everything. I choose to maintain a healthy body weight that fits my body and dna/rna structure. I choose to nurture my body with love, delicious nutritious food, rest and relaxation, and movement I enjoy. Installing new programming, overwriting all obsolete programming.


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