“ I have naturally dark hair and fair skin, so my body hair is really obvious. I remember sitting in maths class, aged 14, a boy in my class commented on how hairy my arms looked for a woman. It made me want to hide my arms away from the world. Only now, 7 years later have I started to embrace my body hair. Women have body hair, it's completely natural!!
“ I had a relationship with a boyfriend for 6 months. Very intense, he told me I was the love of his life, just perfect. The day after presenting him to all friends and family, I received a text message asking me to "do him a favour" and to get rid of my nose hair, for if not it would affect my sensuality at the long run. I was shocked by the request, the form of the message and its timing (by the way, he also mentioned in the following message he had been bothered by my breath sometimes, out of the blue). I was shocked and reacted accordingly. He felt offended by my reaction, said it was a sign of respect to solve my "problems" and some days after I explained the reasons for having felt hurt by his messages (shame, affected self estim, sensitivity) and made myself available for meeting personally to talk it over, he broke up. I feel devastated.
“ Though my mother actively denied or sabotaged any attempt I made to get therapy during my teenage years, when I was around 15 she said to me, "I think you're depressed because you don't have a boyfriend and you don't have a boyfriend because you're fat." That was her only acknowledgement of my struggle with depression, but only the tip of the iceberg re: her commentary on my weight.
“ I had my prefect photo taken when I was 16 and started to get acne. The photographer came up to me while I was with my group of friends and said i looked a bit spotty in the photo and asked to take it again another day. I still have acne 6 years later and he airbrushed my photo to remove my acne. I'm still shocked this happened.
“ I met a guy at university... I was a bachelor student, and he was at PhD. We used to meet around the university, and we became good friends in time. This helped me a lot to cope with the fact that I was alone in a new city, right after I broke up from a toxic relationship. I started to have feelings for him, and he seemed to feel the same, even if we kept it low-key. When the university year was over, I was sure that we will keep in touch on social media during the summer holiday, as we both went to our hometowns. But he started to be very distant. I found out very late why... I have a friend who is a photographer and she likes to take pictures of me (I like retro, hippie and flower power styles). This guy believed that I was working as a model: 'A girl who pays so much attention and time to look pretty can't be smart enough to date someone like me'. It's unfair that when a woman is confident with the way she looks, she is considered to be stupid.
“ Since quarantine, I've managed to do intuitive eating, (only eating when I'm actually hungry), and my family seem to think that I've completely stopped eating. No, I eat 2-3 times a day. For the last few months, though, my brother has been calling me (TW) anorexic because I'm not binge eating like I used to. He actually thinks using a serious ED as a joke to make fun of his sisters body is funny.
“ I was on the phone with a 'friend' a few years ago when she suddenly said quite aggressively "Sometimes you look like shit!" She knows I am very insecure about my appearance so she attacked me where I am most vulnerable. When it comes to lookism women can be the worst at policing each other's appearance. I was so stunned I did not know what to say and quickly ended the conversation. I do not see her any more. Because of insecurity around my appearance I rarely leave the house and never socialise. Lockdown has been a blessing for me! I am now a complete recluse because of shame around my appearance and fear of comments and judgements. I have stopped seeing my sister because she is always commenting on my appearance.
“ I have been ashamed of my nose ever since I was 13 when kids in my class called me 'Concorde'. Later when I was expecting my daughter, my mother-in-law said it won't matter if she's born with a nose like yours as you can do something about it these days (meaning plastic surgery). Thank you for giving me opportunity to share this, it is something I have always kept to myself. Its taken me years to realise that I am actually an attractive person and to understand that these comments were the other persons' problems not mine.
“ When I was on college my father told me I would look so much prettier if I just lost a few pounds. I've never got over the idea that I'm not pretty if I'm fat and I'm a 56 year old formerly morbidly obese female. I guess my appearance was only acceptable when I was a senior in highschool and had an eating disorder. He never noticed I had lost a lot of weight, only commented when it started to come back on.
“ "I always knew you would slim out" - that's what a friend's mum said to me when I was 13 years old and in the depths of an eating disorder. A few years later, when I was recovering and starting to feel a bit better about myself (size 8-10), my doctor told me I had to be "careful" because I might soon become "obese". I went home to my mum and cried, and felt so embarrassed by his comments that I changed GP and never saw him again.
“ As a child I was seriously ill for about a year. Because of my illness I was quite small & underweight. I remember being at primary school & we all had to be weighed & measured. It was remarked about how small & unhealthy I must be. Then maybe a year later, we were all weighed measured again. This time I was now fully recovered & healthy. I remember it being announced in front of the whole class that I was the girl who had put on the most weight and it wasn’t a good way to be heading. Bear in mind that I had been very ill, lost a lot of weight due to illness & was now back to a healthy weight. I wasn’t overweight. But I was told I would be fat if I carried on that way. I can remember feeling so embarrassed & not really knowing why. I was 9 That was the beginning of my body hatred. I’m 44 now. I despise me.
“ ‘Here comes the Lump’ Said by my father in law to me as I entered the room at 6 months pregnant. ‘You’ve done so well to lose your baby weight, you were big weren’t you!’ Said by my father in law to me a year after having my baby. During my second pregnancy I lost weight during my second trimester and went on a diet 2 weeks after having my baby. ‘I can’t believe how much weight you’ve lost, you look SO good’ Said by my Father in law a year after my second baby when I was in the depths of an eating disorder. Can we all just STOP commenting on each other’s body size? Pregnancy does not mean you have free reign to comment on someone’s size. If someone loses weight you don’t know what methods they used to do it and praising it is reinforcing fatphobia. I’m looking forward to one day having a conversation with my father in law about the way he talks to me and others about their body, it’s time to change and I don’t care how awkward it is.
“ I remember as a teenager being obsessed with my bum and the size of it. To me it was big and fat and horrible and I just wanted to be skinny like the other straight up and down girls in my school. One day I tried to express this unhappiness to my mum and her response was ‘little boys like little bums, real men like real bums’. Though not a direct comment about my appearance she may as well have said ‘yes your bum is big and fat but don’t worry one day you’ll find a man who won’t care that it isn’t small’. I’m now 33 and have only just started to accept my body. That comment stayed in my head for decades and though I realise my mum has her own body image/food relationship issues and didn’t realise what her ‘advice’ would do to me as an adult, it’s stings even more now I have my own children. It’s not just the obvious pointing out of our appearance, but the subtle confirmations that our bodies are wrong that can do so much damage. I WILL make things different for my children.
“ My mom's advice to me when I asked if guys would like me because I have small breasts: "You'll need to always be really nice and smile if you want to find a boyfriend. There are boys who will overlook it if you make up for it with a great personality." This advice led to me accepting extremely poor treatment and abuse from men over the years.
“ There is this guy who insisted a lot to date me but I rejected him cause I felt that he wanted just a one night stand. While he tried to flirt with me, he kept on saying how beautiful and kind I am. After I had rejected him, he matched with someone else and started to call me 'ugly b*tch', 'witch', 'weirdo'. He also underlines that I am old and alone and that I will end up alone. I am actually 25 years old, and he doesn't know that I've been trough a painful love experience not long ago and I am not completely healed.
“ Always asked by the lads in school "You've got ginger hair, ginger eyebrows...have you got ginger pubes too?" Great question for a young teen to feel she had to 'defend herself' over... A question still asked at times in the pub now I'm an adult! Don't recall any blondes or brunettes being asked....
“ Ive been told many days to “not wear something “ because it shows off the wrong “lumps and bumps” my body has as well as been told that certain styles mean youre “asking for it”. I dont ask for clothes from my family anymore cause I’ll be told how it’ll make me look fat and how “i” shouldnt want to wear that in order to look “fat” or toned. And this has all come from women that should be supporting a developing teen instead of making me insecure about my body.
“ I was 16 and hormonal and puberty was at its peak in my body. Because I was well fed at home I had a healthy body, Being in a only boys school where most classmates were lean and thin, they started calling me girlish and unmanly which resulted in my chronic depression, agony and suicidal tendencies.
“ My naturally slim kids, from school age to adults, have heard ‘you’re so skinny’ too many times to count! They see the parents with our ageing bodies and don’t even consider that either of us could have been slender when younger....and some even state their surprise to find that was the case!
“ Every time my step-dad sees me (this has been going on for 30+ years) he mentions my height. I’m 5’2’’. In his eyes, that is short for a woman. When I was a teenager he told me I would have trouble with people taking me seriously because I’m a short female. He wasn’t trying to be cruel, in his defense. I legitimately think he was trying to protect me in some way (from people of his same mindset).
“ Lookism has negatively impacted on my personal life. I have pronounced eye bags, and many friends of mine pointed this out. Secondly, I am not considered tall; some people therefore teased me regarding my height. This lowers my self-confidence and forces me to always wear 'painful' heels. In the future, I hope lookism will be lessened, so that the societies will become less discriminatory.
“ I was walking in the park with my boyfriend when we were 16 and 17. A woman came up to us and said that we shouldn’t be having babies at such a young age. When we explained that we weren’t pregnant she told us that “we” (i.e. me) should make it look less like we were. My boyfriend laughed and agreed.
“ I was 4 years old when my kindergarten teacher said I look like a slum kid because of my dark complexion and short haircut. She mocked me in front of whole class although I didn't knew the meaning of slum. Back at home when I got to know the meaning of slum from mom the only thing I did was crying. It still affects me even after 13 years.
“ I have regularly been criticised for wearing make up Why do you feel the need to wear make up - is it because you —went to a co-Ed school To attract men Lack confidence Etc Broken nosed then my surname inserted as a name at primary school Comments about roots Been told my hair colour didn’t look natural Endless comments about beauty choices