“ 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!
“ When I was younger, my boyfriend at the time told me I had weird nipples because they didn't point out all the time. I got upset and told my girl friends who I was living with. They sat me down and we all showed each other our nipples to show that no one is the same - there's not a way that something 'should look'.
“ My doctor told me I wasn't as pretty as my older sister. I was 11 and already had low self esteem due to bed wetting from a young age. I believe this had a knock on effect to a lot of poor decision making growing up. Still get that heart sinking feeling when I think about it.
“ Having had many teeth extracted and not being able to afford the dental intervention to correct this, I am faced with many assumptions and judgments as to how others perceive me. People assume you are a 'druggie' for example. Having less teeth affects the shape of your face, can significantly age you and also affects social communication and identity. This can all contribute to feeling ashamed and to having a low sense of self worth.
“ I am a 38 year old, 6ft 1 woman with size 9 feet, who experiences frequent comments about how large my feet are (as if I hadnt noticed!), remarks about the length of my face and questions about my gender. People seem to feel comfortable mentioning these things to me and questioning whether in fact I am a 'real' woman; even in 2019 when one would think we might be a more accepting and diverse society.
“ It was freshers week and there was so much pressure on nights out to look good, and make the best first impressions. One evening all the girls were in one person’s room, all getting ready together. We were swapping clothes when one girl grabbed her top back from another claiming “oh no you can't borrow my clothes. You’re too fat. You’ll stretch them and I can’t wear them again.” She left the room, and we could hear her cry on the phone later on. I’m ashamed I never called that out then.
“ At a family bbq, my mother handed pizza, burgers, etc round for all the guests. When she got to me she stopped and said "now, you don't need this, you'll get fat and we can't have that. You need to look good". Everyone in the room heard and said anything. I was by no means overweight in the slightest. I am a size 10. I don't think I'll ever get over that.
“ I get a lot of shame for not looking or dressing like an "ideal" guy with a load of muscles and tight fit tops. I like to dress up in colourful clothing but people say I look homosexual all the time. This just reinforces unhealthy stereotypes toward how straight men should look and act, and how anyone who differs from the usual is "gay" just because they're different.
“ I get stared at or called names all the time. “See that FAT lady" I try not to show that I heard them and carry on but gets to me every time. I have been ‘told off’ about being BIG ever since I can remember - family, relatives, friends, colleagues - everyone has something to say. “Have you tried this? Or that?" ”Girls shouldn’t be BIG!”