“ I have a sister who's younger than me and I am overweight. Many times, several people have said that if I would lose some weight I would look more beautiful than her. This is not only rude towards me but also towards my sister. We know that both of us are beautiful the way we are.
“ When I was 14 I went cycling with my parents. I have dark hair and my body was always quite hairy. When we stopped for ice-cream and were sitting on the curb my mom looked down at my legs and said "you should start shaving. Dad doesn't like that much hair”. I have never gotten over that and at 34 I am shaving every bit of it I can out of fear of the shame of someone seeing the hair growing on my arms, legs, toes, upper lip.
“ “My grandson used to have horrible skin like yours. Have you tried medication? It did him the world of good.” “You should use baby oil, it’s what I use and my skin’s completely clear.” Two separate customers I once served, during a time when no treatments were working on my acne.
“ Every time when people say “you are so thin.” “Don’t you eat anything?” “Come eat this, stay at my place you will get in proper shape.” As if they know how much I eat. Slim shaming is horrible. The more I worry about it the more it effects my body, but society won't stop.
“ I was picked to play a ballerina in a school play when I was in year 1 (age 5-6). Someone's mum complained to the teacher because I was “too fat to be a ballerina.” My mum then chose to keep reminding me about this comment years later. I'm 29 and it still bothers me to this day.
“ I was talking with my male friends and they were joking about how one of their beards couldn’t connect. They then joked that my moustache would be able to fill the gap as it’s so noticeable. This was 20 mins before one of my A Levels. I was so upset that it impacted my grade and I got a U in that module.
“ My friend is a 32G bra size, another friend is a 32B and I am a 34D. One of our male friends decided to rank our sizes (after a female friend of ours told him) and said “only go for a 32 or below because no matter how big her tits are, anything above a 32 means she’s fat.”
“ I mentioned to my sister on the phone after a job interview for a promotion that I forgot to bring my makeup. I had left it on the bathroom counter at home (six hour drive away). She immediately shouted, "You're not going to get the job!" I did not get an offer. My career stalled shortly after that, and I have been unemployed for three years. I sometimes feel very sad and believe she was right: I lost my career because I did not wear makeup.
“ "You have to wash more. Use a washcloth." I heard that as a child. My skin is a few shades darker than all my relatives. I am much lighter now, avoiding all outdoor sunlight, wearing large brimmed hats, using high sun protection lotions. I was diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency. I wish people would stop commenting on children's skin color.
“ Popular girl looks at my hands and says to me in front of my school friends, "I would paint my nails but polish looks bad on short nails." I had painted my short nails. I remember this even though it happened 35 years ago. I am afraid to tell people how this bothers me because I fear sounding petty or crazy.
“ I have always been bullied about my weight and felt horrible about myself. After losing five stone I went shopping with my sister for my uni prom dress. I tried on the dress of my dreams and when I stepped out of the changing room to show her she said, "you look like a boy with saggy boobs of skin". I didn't go to prom.
“ I was in a check-out queue this morning. The checkout clerk was admiring a little girl whose father was buying groceries. She commented "she's so cute." The little girl, about 3 years old, beamed. I felt sad knowing her socialisation was already truly underway; that she's learned to perform cuteness.
“ I was 14yrs old stood at a dance class in full leotard, the two beautiful aspirational dance teachers at the front of ballet and modern speaking in hushed tones - “yeah she looks like she’s lost weight” - that threw petrol on my already burning desire to fit in and look like a proper dancer.
“ My father said “this is no way for a girl of 20 to look.” This was after years of bulimia (which he didn't know about) and years of borderline anorexia. So he paid for me to go to a dietitian to lose weight. It took until I was 43 to finally stop trying to change my body.
“ My mum puts on a great buffet with far too much food every time we all go over for a family day. She encourages everyone to tuck in, except me. I am always told that the food isn't for me because of my weight. I usually eat what I want and she tells me I am bad and shakes her head. I love my mum but when she polices my food it and judges me it hurts so much.
“ Last year I went to a job interview for a coffee shop. At the end of the interview that had gone very well I was told the owner doesn't allow any more than 'one stud in each ear' so I would have to remove the rest of my piercings. There are no health and safety standards that require you to not have metal in your face or ears in a coffee shop.
“ I was bullied between the ages of 10 and 15 for being overweight. I started a disastrous diet for 6 months eating only carrots and apple. I had hormonal imbalances, depression, and lost my beautiful hair forever. I was hiding away from people thinking that I was still ugly and fat. Then I started eating normal and for 2 decades I maintained a healthy weight until I had insomnia. Due to lack of sleep I would empty the refrigerator just to calm my self down. You can't imagine the comments I received - people thought I was 'lazy' and indulging in food. I stopped listening to their comments and decided to lose weight because I want to be healthy and exercising helped me with my insomnia. I'm taking things easy and not stressing myself by setting a time frame for losing weight.
“ “You’d be so much prettier if you lost weight”. That’s a classic one! So many comments about my weight when I was literally a child: yes I was a bigger child, but a child all the same. And even when I lost quite a bit of weight the feeling of being ‘ugly’ was still with me, and I felt even worse because I denied myself the food I love. So now I eat and wear what I like, but it is so deeply ingrained it’s hard for even the biggest feminist to escape. I like to wear colourful make up and cool, ‘out there’ clothes. I get lots of funny looks. But I’m not dressing and styling myself for anyone else but me. So I’ll have my blue hair, tattoos, and eat my fries and cake thank you.
“ I was an athlete in high school (soccer) and we trained all year long. I'm five feet tall and was able to develop lots of muscle. I was constantly told by the boy's team that I had "man legs". It was relentless and embarrassing. I didn't try out for my university's team and told everyone I wanted to focus on my studies rather than the real reason which was to stop my body from bulking up. I only do cardio now and this was over 20 years ago. If everyone thought "is this true, is this necessary and is this kind" before they spoke then a lot of people would suffer less.
“ I had a very stressful period and gained 8 kilos quite fast. My boyfriend told me I had "fat drooping from the sides". I cried the whole evening. Later he apologised. With time I lost those kilos and more, but ever since I haven't even considered wearing anything close-fitting.
“ When I told people I was going to join the rowing club because I live near the water and want to meet some new people almost everyone I told said “your back and shoulders are going to get big.” No one said “wonderful! You’ll get in great shape, or get strong” etc. God forbid we do something that makes our heart, muscles and bones strong if it makes our back and shoulders big!