Kierra Mellenthin knows all too well how women's bodies are scrutinized. After all, the 20-year-old Indiana State University student also moonlights as a photographer. At the beginning of the year, Mellenthin began thinking about how she could "change society's negative social stigma of worthiness on women."
That's when she created The Worthy Project.
These women's bravery inspired Mellenthin, as she explained in her description of The Worthy Project.
"None of these women are professional models. They are regular people just like you and I," she wrote. "They took a chance to be brave. These women bared their hearts and souls in order to prove that it's OK to love yourself."
Mellenthin's photoshoot is well-intentioned, but on first glance, it doesn't seem to include women of color or women with disabilities.
"Any woman was able to apply to be a participant in The Worthy Project, no matter race or if they had a disability," Mellenthin told Revelist. "The lack of color can be contributed to the fact that the project was spontaneous and put together in six days — therefore, not everybody that applied was able to participate due to scheduling issues."
She also said that there were Latino and Filipino participants in the photoshoot as well as women with invisible illnesses.
"Being the creator myself I actually suffer from medical disabilities that put a hindrance on my everyday life — nuerocardiogenic syncope and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. However, just looking at my physical appearance, one wouldn't be aware. That's the interesting about disabilities — they don't all look the same."
She said that the next photoshoot will be more inclusive.