A Letter From the Publisher: Body Image

Everywhere I look there seems to be a focus on physical perfection. It is unrealistic. We can’t all take Accutane. We can’t all cut carbs. We can’t all control our access to food.

What happens when we look different than the norm? Fat shaming, skinny shaming, labels, self-harm, hurt. It has to stop. Every body is as unique as the person inside it.

I’d like everyone to be comfortable in their own skin. The first step is raising awareness.

This month I invited an amazing collection of writers to step to the Verge and talk about body image, what it means to them. I hope you will chime in, comment. Your voice is as important as any voice here. 

Thank you for stopping Open Thought Vortex. I hope you will find yourself here.


Shareen Mansfield


Background image credit: “Bodies” captured by Corinna C.


21 thoughts on “A Letter From the Publisher: Body Image

  1. I like me. Oh, I’m overweight and have regained that ten pounds that finds me when I am supposed to “DO” things I don’t like to do. But, I like me. I have white hair to match my last name. I have sparkling eyes that can turn solemn and sad quickly like the tide of a sea. My ankles are slim and indicate my health to me, indeed they are quite talkative. My hands are small but I can stretch them. I competed with my fifth graders and by the end of the year, I had some of the smallest hands. Nutrition will do that for the kids as they grow. I have knobby knees that have knelt on a lot of floors when playing with children. I look like my Grandmother Dorothy. I look like my dad with my wispy hair and eyebrows that equal an owl’s. I like to walk barefoot, dance in the rain, stomp in the snow. I think a body can look any way you create it, but mine is lived in. A lot of love has been celebrated by it, a lot of sorrow has been deflected by it. I work on it sometimes. I do want it to last. (58, 65″, 180lbs. MS and T2D, but then, this is just a part of my shell.)

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    1. I’m never happy. It’s obsessive. I need to learn to love the body I live in. Stop thinking I’m broken & just live. Make healthy choices & be me. You are right Jan. No one is ever happy. We pick ourselves apart they way other pick apart those they see. There is never going to be perfection. It doesn’t exist. If it’s not our bodies it’s our minds, it never ends. I’m commuting to changing from the inside out & by change I mean learning love myself -even when I’m in pieces .


  2. It is complicated and made much worse by our culture’s strange view that the female body needs airbrushed “improvement.” Media and advertising tell us something is wrong with us so we’d better buy this or that to fix the problem. I’ll submit my article after looking through it one more time tomorrow. I’m proud to be part of this conversation. Thank you, Shareen and Shawna.

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  3. I’m slowly growing into my body as more than a sum of a bunch of parts that I wish were different. It’s “me” as the world experiences me and through it, I experience the world. It’s the arms that hug my kids, the senses that experience pleasure, the way people identify the “me”! I still wrestle with my thigh rub and my saggy tummy in terms of acceptance but I don’t know why. I wouldn’t be any more or less loved if that extra flesh wasn’t there. I don’t think critically about the physical bodies of the people I love- but I’m positive some people do, which sucks. I wish we could hold ourselves to that same standard, to treat ourselves like a friend. But to answer your question- body image means our attitude about our bodies. I have to make the effort to be body positive- it does not come naturally but I force myself to think strong, healthy thoughts in hopes that someday, I will honestly feel that way. In about 6 months I will have officially lived longer than my mother lived, so I’m more thankful all the time my body is healthy and ALIVE!! (38, 5’7″, 138)

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    1. Today while I was out I realized my running tights had a hole where my thigh rubs. I had a breakdown in my Jeep. After crying for about an hour I realized-fuck it. I’m going to buy new running clothes & run or walk …not obsessively because I do have a problem with limiting myself. I decided to stop trying to achieve a specific distance or pace. No more cutting, no more measuring everything that comes in or out. I realized I am not living if I’m obsessing. It won’t be easy but I have to love myself or I won’t be any good to my family. I love that you don’t judge. Do you know how many people make assumptions about things that are just wrong? Of course you do , I know this because your comment was so on point. You are alive! I’m thankful you are alive. Thank you for reading. You sound beautiful. I could hear your heartbeat as I read. In six months we will celebrate you & your life! ❤️


  4. Nice post, thank you for sharing 🙂

    My blog Fat Girls Fitness is mostly about nutrition and tips, but I’ve written a little bit about body image and deeper issues like poverty and access to good nutrition.

    I’m always curious to see what people have to say about body image because it’s such a complicated subject that definitely affects most of us. This topic is about so much more than just image. On the one hand, there are people with seemingly perfect bodies who are suffering on the inside, and on the other hand there are people who falsely believe they are “naturally fat” after trying diet after diet and failing. What they often fail to understand is that they are still on a diet of mostly processed foods which makes it difficult for some people to maintain a healthy weight.

    The second example might not seem like a body image issue, but in my mind it is. As someone who has been overweight most of my life, I don’t believe that anyone is “naturally fat” and I’m so amazed how often I hear this from people. It is something I was told often growing up as well. And it’s simply not true.

    Body image is tied in with our very strange notions of nutrition in the western world. And the issue of acceptance really breaks down into two issues: 1. loving yourself regardless of what you look like; and 2. realizing that your body IS largely the result of your diet and actions.

    In any event, feel free to check out my posts on this topic. I’d love to hear your thoughts. And I will definitely chime in also!:



    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m a former anorexic and someone who has, for the most part, swung from one extreme to the other. When I was obsessed with size, I starved my body. When I took the who-gives-a-f*ck approach, I became overweight, unhealthy and internally unhappy. I think balance is key, and we all have to find ours individually.

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