“ If I stand with my feet together, my kneecaps point inwards towards each other. I was on a school residential trip in year 7 and another girl said "no offence, but if your feet are pointing that way how come your knees are going that way?" Avoided shorts and skirts for years after that.
“ I'm a woman who suffers from hormone imbalances which cause me to grow facial hair. I've been teased about it since school days. The most hurtful instance occurred when my father said to me -in front of my then- boyfriend -"You need to get rid of that hair. No man wants a woman who grows more moustache and beard than he does." He laughed it off, but I was devastated and spent the entire night on the phone crying to my mother. It's been 2 years and I still think about it frequently and ache a bit. I wax often. But I shouldn't have to. My body is disgusting to society. And it saddens me.
“ Society makes me feel like my body hair is abnormal and freakish. I feel I spend an inordinate about of time waxing, shaving, epilating, dying and plucking, particularly in the summer. I always have to think twice about going bare legged and I wouldn't dream of wearing swimsuit or bikini, just in case there are rogue hairs. It's become a real fear for me despite the fact it's totally natural and that makes me so sad.
“ I've been told I'm too fat, too big, too muscular, I was born with hormone issues my body shape isn't normal for a 'normal' woman, I have large shoulders, broad back and good strong arms. Think rugby player, then I have a large thick neck, not swan graceful or thin, always been on the heavy side, solid at first before pecos began, then the hair started and the weight gain. My husband told me I was too big, I was taller, too fat, too 'much', even my laughter was 'too much like a mans'. He belittled me over thirty years, ripped my self confidence to shreds every time we went out. There was no point 'dressing up' because 'we'd never find anything decent to fit those shoulders'. At work being compared to male workers and shamed for not shaving body hair, which if you have pecos comes back even darker and thicker than before. Told to get rid of your entire body hair because its the only way your husband will touch you and when you refuse finds someone else who will.
“ When in my early twenties, I felt pressurised to go for a drink with a bloke. Once he had got me to go out with him, he told me 'people look at your sister before they look at you because you limp'. When I asked him if that had been true for him, he said that it had been. I never spoke to him again. I've had at least one sleepless night about that and can't rule out having others in the future, even though the comment was said years ago and I am now happily married.
“ When I was in my early teens I was very tall and bony compared to the other kids. My legs been called straws and drum sticks. My knobbly knees have been made fun of in many ways. A neighbour of my grandparents even told my granny I am too tall and I got too ugly legs to ever find a husband. Later my legs were too fat to wear mini skirts or tight jeans. But. That was ever only women saying that. Took me till now - 55 - to get kind of over it. I am a British size 10.
“ I’ve been picked on since I was a child for the size of my nose, the shape of my face, my round tummy. I’ve had a weight problem all my life. I’ve looked into facial surgery many times. When I look in the mirror I hate what I see, I’ve even covered up the big long wardrobe mirrors in my room. Words can wound deeply!
“ I've been asked so many times if I've straightened my naturally curly hair before. People are always surprised when I say no and ask me if I would want to. As much as I do want straight hair sometimes, straightening my hair feels wrong and like I'm caving to other people's expectations of me.
“ I was getting ready for a gig once and I was really excited to wear my new band tee. I’d done my makeup, was feeling great, but when I came downstairs my parents wouldn’t stop talking about how fat I looked and asking “do you want to go out looking like that?”. I was wearing shorts and tights as it can get hot in arenas. I ended up having a horrible time at the gig because all I could think about was how I looked.
“ I am hugely anti-Trump, but I often get upset when people make remarks about things like his small hands, short fingers, and skin colour. I have a skin condition and also have small hands (especially the final digits) as do a number of members of my family due to a genetic condition related to dwarfism. Promoting lookism is not an appropriate way to engage with politics.
“ My makeup artistry can never be re shared on brand pages without people in the comments talking about my “moustache” (the measly peach fuzz on my top lip caused by hormone imbalances because of PCOS) - I go from feeling proud of having my work shared on huge platforms, to feeling like I’m back at school with kids who bullied me about it back then. I keep the peach fuzz because I have a platform to display what is normal. I never retouch my photos. I do it for my past self who didn’t feel normal, and all the other girls who are in the same boat. I want people to know that what is normal, isn’t a flaw.
“ I have never been and never will be petite. I was chubby as a child and reaching adulthood it was clear that I was a typical pear shaped body with a slightly heavier frame: 5'6" with my weight usually ranging from 71-73kg. The most hurtful comments have always been from boyfriends. Comments like: "Have you ever considered getting liposuction? You could use the fat from your butt to make your breasts bigger" "Your body is perfect... Except for your thick thighs and the cellulite. Why don't you do something about it?" "You have the potential to have a thigh gap. Stop making excuses and start working out harder." "I don't believe what your dietician told you about 70kg being your ideal weight. I think you can drop to 65 for a start... Perhaps even 63" And here I am in my early 30s,still trying to love myself and feel confident in my own skin...
“ Where to even begin? Should I start with when my uncle would act like I suddenly went invisible if I turned sideways because I was 2-dimensional from being so skinny? Or maybe I should start with when my cousins said I "had let myself go". Or was looking "fat", even "haggard". Regardless where I start, it seems that throughout my life,whether I gained a little or lost a little, everyone seemed to have an opinion on whether I needed to change that or not. The 1st time I was body shamed was when I was 8 or so. I've always had skinny legs and was unlovingly nicknamed Mowgli by some boys in school. Just recently a family member called them "chicken legs". It is therefore no surprise that I never show my legs and I'm always in long pants. But what happens when it's your own mother that says to you that your bathing suit bottoms look like they belong to a child and that your butt looks so small and you should "work on it" even though you exercise 5/6 times a wk? It hurts.
“ Hello, I just wanted to share with you a story that happened yesterday. Im 5"9,99kg with medium frame. I was on the road trip with my husband. Until we reached to the bumpy road, and the car touched and hit the bump right on my seat side and he just simply said "oh, it's always on your side that touch the bumps!" that's really sting me sharply and does make me teary in instantly until i can't even look at him in the eye😭😭😭😭
“ I found an email in which my husband told his brother how he and my former friend kissed and how flattered he was to have someone so beautiful and out of his league be attracted to him. I have struggled with really poor self-esteem and body image issues for most of my life. 12 years later and it still hurts.
“ Growing up I endlessly heard “wow your wrist is so thin I can wrap my thumb and finger around it”, “you’re so thin I could snap you” and even people asking if I had an eating disorder. Then you’d see a magazine cover saying a celebrity ONLY weighed ‘x’ and saying she looked ill etc and I’d think “but I weigh even less”. I hated my body and spent my teen years on all sorts of high calorie diets to try and put on weight and avoided exercise. All that did was encourage unhealthy habits. I now treat my body well and focus on health and not what the scales say but it was a long, long journey to get here!