125 Olympic athletes were photographed by Howard Schatz to exemplify body diversity in even the most fine tuned of human forms. A woman’s body is a personal thing that has historically been made public. Whether that objectification comes from the male gaze or the mainstream media, many times our bodies can feel like they’re constantly under scrutiny, comparison or just not good enough. It’s even worse when we project these ideals onto ourselves. When I saw the body diversity amongst, quite literally, some of the greatest athletes in the entire world, I was struck by how unique and gorgeous each of these women were.
No two bodies were the same. They weren’t the same in anyway, yet presumably, each body is perfect for what it wants to achieve. Each body is perfect, yet completely different. There was no putting these women in the cookie cutter molds of Hollywood or the modeling industry. I am certainly no olympic athlete, most of us aren’t athletes at all, but seeing these women’s bodies made me realize how comparison is a pointless activity and how important body positivity is.
I can admire the petite frame of a rhythmic gymnast, the broad shoulders of a shot put, the towering height of a basketball player and the utterly intense body mass of a weightlifter without feeling like I need to look like anyone of them. Seeing all of these strong women standing next to each other makes it clear that each and everyone of our bodies is meant for something, it has a talent, a purpose, if nurtured. It doesn’t need to be anyway because there is a reason it is the way it is. Just as we are born with special talents, our bodies exist—flabby, lean, short, tall, round, thin, lanky, stubby, stocky and even disabled—for a reason. Women, no humans, were not made to look the same, otherwise they would be. There is no benefit to our homogenization and seeing how these women have mastered their bodies to the fullest effect is not only a testament to their beauty but to their tenacity, prowess and the sheer capabilities of the human form.