Thank you so much to each of you for coming and looking at these magnificent, beautiful bellies! We have had a huge response so far, and are just tickled pink (or purple or blue or yellow…whatever your favorite color happens to be!).
I have been spying on some of your discussion board conversations and blog posts that link to this blog, and mostly your response has been a pretty huge, “Wow, I am actually normal!” and “Oh my gosh, how liberating!” This idea of these images being liberating – freeing – is one I had not considered before starting the blog with my friend Christy. But it is certainly the form that a lot of the feedback and comments are coming in.
But there has been this other group who look at these pictures and say, “See, I’m not normal!” And I’ve been thinking about that group of women.
We’re not here to judge women or their bellies, but rather to reduce the judgment. It is never our goal to set up a site where women come to see others’ bellies and think theirs is not as beautiful and whole and normal as each and every one that is already up.
In the initial few weeks of our project, before we had any views, we were mostly just putting up pictures of our bellies and our friends’ bellies. So Christy and I were walking among our friends wagging our iPhones around, asking them to drop their drawers (if only a few inches) and bare more of their reproductive history with us than they perhaps had done before. It was an enlightening experience, seeing our friends in this light. Almost every woman started off by saying “No.” Then we’d show her a few other belly pictures we’d already taken. And she would waffle, because she liked the idea of participating. They asked if Christy and I had already put our bellies up, and they were comforted when we said we had. (My belly is actually the banner belly at the top of the page.) Then our friends, enlightened feminists all of them, would sigh and agree with some trepidation. Some of them asked to go somewhere more private for the momentous picture, some lifted shirt right there among the gentiles.
After I snapped their picture, I’d whip my phone around and show them their pic. And do you know what their reaction was? They smiled. They tipped their head to the side. They said, “Oh, that’s kind of cute!”
Our bellies look different to us when we’re looking down at them, or reflected in the mirror. But our bellies are beautiful. They are an elemental part of us, this center of our bodies. And they are beautiful and unique, each and every one. Yes, even yours.
So it’s not that I’m hoping our belly project will show women that they’re “normal,” whatever that means. But rather show women that their belly is on a continuum of bellies that are each fabulous in their own way because they are our own.