Summer is the time for showing your legs off in short-shorts and barely-there bikinis—and stressing out about it. Thanks to trends like "thigh gap" and rampant body shaming on social media, it's easy to have anxiety about your legs, particularly when also being bombarded with ideals of what they should look like. Do they touch? Are they weirdly far apart? Are they long enough? Too long?
One woman is combating her own self-doubt while showing the world that all legs are, in fact, perfect just the way they are. Over the past three years Stacey Baker, a photo editor at The New York Times, has been documenting everyday women in New York City and beyond—specifically, their legs—on Instagram and at the website Citi Legs.
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In a recent interview with Refinery29, Baker explained that she was always scrutinizing her own legs, saying that "we want something we don't have—to be taller, have larger breasts or smaller breasts. I always wanted longer legs." That eventually inspired her to celebrate the endless different types of beautiful gams in the world by capturing them on film and posting them for others to admire. Indeed, the stems on Baker's feed come in a gorgeous array of lengths, shapes, sizes, and skin color, in all manner of fab legwear and shoes—proving that all kinds of body types are worth admiring and appreciating.
"Most women are more than happy to cooperate," Baker told Refinery29 about approaching the more than 1000 subjects whose legs she's shot, mostly clad in leggings, because "leggings definitely show the shape more, and that's what I'm interested in."
Has Stacey Baker's project eased her own self-consciousness? "I'm not going to tell you that it's solved all my body-image problems," she admitted to Refinery29, "but it's made me feel that, while my shape is a little different, there's something beautiful there, too."