This Body is Worthy began the day I asked my incredibly talented photographer friend Mary Mathis to meet for coffee so we could discuss an idea I had. I had just finished my final year as an undergrad at the University of Iowa. I had lived 22 years in a body that society had told me time and time again needed to be fixed, hidden, or shoved aside. I was ready to change that.
The result of Mary and I’s first collaboration was a collection of photos that she took in my apartment, after I had had my friend write “THIS BODY IS WORTHY” across parts of my body that I am particularly self-conscious of: my back (which has a scar running from the top to the base, and is misshapen), my chest (which is barrel-shaped), and my feet (which curl under). I loved these so much that I wanted to bring the idea to the community.
We held our first workshop in October 2017. We invited anyone who felt that their bodies were outside of mainstream societal ideals to come, write a phrase on their body professing its worth, and have their photo taken. We also asked participants to write a statement about the phrase they chose and what the experience meant to them. This is an attempt to showcase the amazing pieces that came from that workshop.
Our hope is to continue doing workshops and continue to spread the message that all bodies are worthy, regardless of what they look like and what narratives they have been forced to live inside of.