Natural Health Magazine

Start Loving Your Looks
Ophira Edut wants women to accept, even embrace, their appearance. To that end, the 27-year-old New Yorker has created websites about body image and edited Adios, Barbie [Body Outlaws], in which young women write about coming to terms with a large butt, dark skin, unshaven legs, and other scrutinized body parts.

Q: Was it important to you that this book be written by young women and not a psychologist?
Definitely. It was important to get the real stories. Every woman has looked in the mirror at one point and wished something were different about herself. There's something comforting about reading how somebody else worked it out. The essays don't necessarily end on a note of resolution, but they end with some kind of contemplation or insight.

Q: What's the problem with our collective body image?
A: We never see anybody besides the model types showing skin and walking around confidently, so we think our bodies have to look a certain way in order for us to flaunt them. I say, "No, give the world a little shock therapy." Wear the bikini, show some skin, walk confidently, take some risks. Don't wait until you've lost 10 pounds; do it now."

Q: So that's why you call yourself a "body outlaw"?
The woman who doesn't fit the mold but still flaunts her body is going to be something of an outlaw...The world may react negatively to her, very viscerally, like, "Why is she wearing that?" But as women, in order to open up a world that does accept a diversity of body shapes, body types, and body sizes, we have to show the world that those body types even exist, and can exist with confidence.