Laid Bare Week ~ Skinny bashing. Fat bullying. Image taunting. It’s not OK…

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As part of my themed 'Laid Bare' week, I'm bringing you another discussion post which considers the issue of body image.  Only this time, author Emma Woodhouse looks at things from a perspective that is not often given the spotlight in today's media, and asks, if 'real/normal women' have curves, what does that mean for those of us who don't?

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Whichever end of the spectrum you’re at and even if you sit happily, inconspicuously in the middle, you will almost certainly at some point in your life have been made to feel that you are somehow not good enough. The media may have perpetrated the myth that there is an ideal size, but it is we, the knowing public who continue to reinforce it, sometimes even when we think we’re doing the opposite.

It is not right that we are being fed an unattainable image of the perfect woman who is all toned abs and glistening skin, the concept of spanx being only a kinky bedroom activity to the Adonis of the feminine body.

But it is also not right that in the subsequent backlash, females who are all shoulders and elbows, tinny ribs and gangly legs are being made to apologise for how they look by the activists campaigning for more realistic body images.

The sudden trend that compares pin-ups of the 1950s against modern ‘image icons’ may have a valid point about the distortion of body image during the last century, but they do equally as much damage by targeting skinny girls.

I recently saw this being frantically reposted on Facebook:-

Image Source Unknown

And posted this by way of reply:-


I don’t have breast augmentations or eating disorders. I don’t do exercise. I don’t expect anyone to feel ‘sympathy’ for me because I’m petite, but by the same token, I don’t want to feel like my body or body shape is being devalued because of what it’s not.

I have of course heard it all before: been told to eat some more pies, frequently quizzed on my assumed issues with food and even, on the eve of my wedding, been told by my own mother that I’m too skinny and need to put on weight. It sucks to be told you need to change, whether you’re 7 stone or 27 stone.

But that inverted snobbery is not my problem here. My problem with these types of images is the comparison. I fundamentally believe that we are not all meant to be identikit humans. We are all different shapes and sizes and I do not for one second believe that any one of those shapes and sizes is any better than the rest.

Whilst you might think you’re crusading for a more acceptable ‘ideal image’ by reposting these wry little graphics, you’re just hurting someone else along the way. You’re fuelling the nasty, manipulative media message that we must compete to prove ourselves better than our sisters, friends and colleagues. You’re making it worse.

The real crusade is learning to understand that there is no ideal image; there’s just you. And me. And the other 3 billion women in the world.

We as women have more than enough other issues to be dealing with, so how about we all just give each other a break and instead of genuflecting our issues to the opposite end of the spectrum, embrace our individuality and get on with our lives, regardless of what we look like? If you’re a giant or a borrower, pigeon-toed or a hunchback, black, white, polka-dotted or otherwise, you are not more or less inferior to the next person. You are just different.


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Ladies, gents, please discuss…


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.

66 thoughts on “Laid Bare Week ~ Skinny bashing. Fat bullying. Image taunting. It’s not OK…

  1. Well said! I am a tad over weight and I struggle to lose it because of a busy full time working lifestyle. I’m too busy to cook healthy things so I end up comfort eating stodge and not having time to exercise! No excuse I know. My Mum, Dad and Nan constantly tell me how fat I am. I am only a size 14/16, but they refer to how thin I was when I was 16! I don’t think any 26 year olds have the same bodies they had when they were 16. Humph. Trying to diet now to shut them up but it is hard. I must admit I would like to lose my bingo wings for the wedding. Thanks for an honest and inspiring post. xx

  2. Oh, I so get this! I was bullied when I was a teenager for being a bit chubby (really, it was puberty/growing up weight) and I’ve never forgotten it. The odd comment from anyone can really send me back there. I always feel uncomfortable in my skin as a result. Part of me knows it doesn’t mean anything, but its so hard to get round, especially with the media coverage of women’s bodies.
    Why are women’s bodies so interesting to the press? It genuinely puzzles me. Celebrities can’t be thin enough (one week) or fat enough (another week) to stop the press from judging them. It’s bonkers. I just don’t read those magazines or articles now, because it doesn’t help.
    Wouldn’t the world be boring if we all looked the same? There’s beauty in every one of us, and there is at least one person who will see that in you and love you for it. My fella absolutely adores me and that means so much, and really, its all that means anything in the end, so that’s what I try to remember every time.
    I was genuinely scared about trying wedding dresses on, particularly as I really wanted a vintage dress and they tend to be small sizes (I’m a 12-14). I went to Unforgettable Vintage and they were so supportive and positive, and I almost walked away with a 1930s size 8 gown that fitted me pretty well! In the end, I bought another dress from them, but that’s a secret!
    So, I have booked a great wedding photographer (Lucy Stendall), got an amazing wedding dress and nabbed a man who loves me and thinks I’m beautiful. Nothing else anyone says matters. I just need to be kind to myself with my inner voice!

  3. Hi,
    I am a size 12 – 14 (depending which mirror i’m looking in!) and I have big boobs, bum and thighs. I’m also if i’m honest, a bit overweight. Not just curvy and “real” but I could stand to tone up a bit and therefore lose around 7-10Ibs. I do not like seeing overly starved models who look like they may snap or collapse and who clearly DO have an eating disorder. It’s not that their body image makes me feel bad about my own, it’s that I feel bad for them as humans. Why are they under such pressure to diet?? but neither do i like seeing fatties being called “real”. I think i have two objections really. 1. it’s our business what size we are whether “real” or not so please stop judging but also 2. Please stop calling fat women “real”. Being underweight, overweight, unfit or unhealthy isn’t something to aspire to in either case. and actually i’ve thought of a 3. Stop bullying petite women into thinking they are “lucky” to be so thin all the while looking suspiciously at their food intake assuming they only eat lettuce.
    rant over…
    Also, are magazines mostly edited by women? Are women actually predominately responsible for putting all this pressure about size on other women?? hmmmm….

  4. Favourite post of “Laid Bare Week”! Emma totally hit the nail on the head–there is no one perfect woman! And maybe if we could all just see that and start being nicer to each other, instead of constantly berating each other for our differences, then body image would not have to effect the next generation, and then the next and so on and so forth. Thanks for sharing, Emma!

  5. Couldn’t agree more! I’ve had discussions on facebook recently after people have posted these kind of images, or news articles stating that curvy women are ‘real’ women and it drives me mad. Because i’m thin does this mean that i’m not ‘real’? I’m not fake in anyway, this is just how I am!
    As someone who was bullied at school for being skinny (Eiiiuw she’s anorexic, look at her skinny legs, I could snap her in half) I think it’s awful that people think it’s ok to say that any body shape or size is ‘right’.
    We’re all different, we’re all built differently and this is how we’re supposed to be!

  6. What a breath of fresh air!!
    I too am petite. Or should I say I am too petite ??
    I have always been naturally skinny with child-like wrists, narrow arms, skinny ankles and a straight up and down figure. No bust, no hips, about as “womanly” as a very unwomanly thing. I was always called too skinny by other girls at school, several of whom I would hear throwing up their school dinner 10 minutes after they’d eaten it so they obviously had their own issues they were trying to deflect. Teenage angst and body consciousness send us a little la-la so OK, we were young, they didn’t know any better, all is forgiven. But to get remarks like that from full grown adults in my office even now really gets to me. I’ll visit the canteen and enjoy a nice jacket spud or some other fairly hefty lunch, return to my desk to sneers of “Oh. What did you have today, a leaf? Some dust? You should be eating more than that” or “jokes” about what eating disorder I might have!! If I was carrying a few extra pounds, would I have returned to my desk to comments of “Who ate all the pies? You shouldn’t be eating that!” No, of course not! Because as adults we realise that passing comment on somebody carrying a little more weight than perhaps they would like is both insensitive and offensive. So why do we not grow up to realise that it’s equally as insensitive to dig at us skinny ones. It’s very frustrating.
    On a separate note, I’m loving the topic and all of the features and discussions this week. Thanks Annabel! 🙂

  7. I totally agree what you are saying, labelling or criticising any woman for her body, whether a size 8 or a size 16, is wrong.
    However, I do think that the above image that you posted is not criticising skinny women – it is criticising the body image that so predominately rules in today’s media. It’s asking why the above images are redeemed hotter today – not telling us that the ones below are.
    I think that everyone would agree that sizes 0 – 10 are highly represented in the media in a positive light. If you are within this size range you have plenty of positive images for inspiration. This is why images such as the above get so frantically re-posted when they surface – seeing a woman a size 12 + looking sexy is rare today!
    The fact is that that gorgeous photo of Marilyn above would most definitely be labelled ‘fat’ by many people (men and women), and that’s just not right. Just as being told that because you are a size 8 you are not a ‘real’ woman is just plain wrong.
    We need to come to a happy medium and have all HEALTHY sizes represented in the media – healthy being the most important word here.

  8. Great Post! As a child I was scrawny (it runs in the family) and even aged 20 I barely weighed 8 stone, which at 5ft6 made my quite skinny. I eat like a proverbial HORSE and i LOVE my food. Now that I’m nearly 30, my hips have decided that they want to fill out a bit and so has my tummy. Thats ok, but I’d quite like to look in proportion on my wedding day (currently size 6/8 on top and 10/12 on bottom when used to be 8/10 all over). So I’ve started a small and steady plan of diet and exercise just to target those wobbly bits and to get me (and my other half) eating less and more healthily. We’ve both commented on how much better we feel – more energy, better skin the whole works. However, when I tell friends about this several have been anything but supportive, practically shouting at me and telling me I’m being very silly and must have an eating disorder! I found this quite upsetting – I’m not trying to be a size 0 or anything stupid but it would be nice if people just understood that I might not order dessert when we go out for dinner, or I might have less wine. Or they could say nothing at all! Interestingly, whilst these friends seem to think I’m on the verge of starvation, a shop assistant in House of Fraser basically told me I was fat the other day! Well, she didn’t really but anyone a little bigger or less thick skinned might have got upset. I was trying on a potential wedding frock and she came past with another white dress. She looked me up and down and said ‘I guess this isn’t for you – you’re too big’ and walked off! Now the dress she was holding was an american size 0 and I was trying on an american size 2 – couldn’t believe it!
    Anyway – great post, I’ve written too much.

  9. The phrase ‘real women’ makes my blood boil. It makes me so very angry.
    The point of the matter is, even if you are heavily nipped and tucked, have undergone a sex-change, or dress as a tom-boy; if you IDENTIFY AS FEMALE then you are a ‘real woman’.
    You can look however you want, you can dress however you like and talk to whoever you want to. If you think you are a woman, then by definition you are a real woman. I have friends and relatives aged 10-100, sizes 6-20 and in my opinion all real women.
    Being real to yourself is much more important than being ‘real’ to anyone else. If you are happy in your size 8 hotpants – you rock them. Ditto if you love your size 20 hotpants.
    If you are happy in yourself, and can be honest about what makes you happy, that to me is real. I am not happy with myself, but I don’t want to change me. I’m real, and acknowledging that this is who I am makes me much more real than if I were to be someone I was told to be.

  10. I have come to loath the term ‘real women’.
    Body shaming is wrong. End of story. As a personal stylist I know first hand that women come in all shapes and sizes and that that is what is normal – diversity, not one ‘perfect’ image.
    If people want to change their size (in either direction!) for the benefit of their health then that is all well and good, but they shouldn’t be doing it due to societal pressure.

  11. On accompaning another bride to her dress fitting, the lady in the shop complemented her on her frame (she’s a size 8) and then pointedly looked me up and down, raised her eyebrows and hmmm-ed (I’m a size 10!). I’m a grown up, I don’t need complements, but I was devestated at being so obviously compared and judged. And then I was furious with myself for allowing her to make me feel that way.
    I find it interesting that whilst the media perpetuates the image of the “ideal woman”, its induviduals that back it up with, at best thoughtless comments, at worst, malicious digs. Unless there’s a genuine health concern, I would never dream of telling someone that they’re too fat or too thin. Yet some people either simply don’t care about the effect their words may have, or actually set out make you feel bad.
    Those people will always be ulgy, regardless of what their dress lable might say!

  12. Brilliant post and well said. I agree with all of the above comments. I too get comments from friends and foes alike, telling me I’m a fitness fanatic or get scoffing remarks when I turn down a piece of cake. I’m healthy and fit and like it that way, I’m in training for a half marathon and timing has it that my wedding’s just ’round the corner. Running 20 miles a week means I’m lucky enough not to have to worry about food, but it also means that I don’t want to fill myself up on sugary treats all the time. Why am I being judged for that? I choose to live a healthy, fit lifestyle yet get crap for that. If I do go for a piece of cake, I get a ‘lucky you’ (no, not lucky, I just train hard, not because I have to but because I enjoy it!), if I don’t eat cake, I’m considered to have an eating disorder or diet and get a ‘you of all people can afford to’. Whatever I do, I can’t get it right. Why can’t we all leave each other in peace, respect the way we choose to live our lives (whether you’re a couch potato or marathon runner) and just get on with the more important things in life. Right, on that note, I’m off to lunch! 😉

  13. Yes yes yes! I was actually told by someone at work (a male colleague who was a little bit overweight) that I was far too thin and should eat a good meal. Now I have always been petite but I eat a good varied diet and don’t stress about what I eat. Sometimes I eat too much, sometimes not enough. At points in my life I have lost too much weight through illness and struggled to regain it. That does not mean there’s anything wrong with me – it’s just the way my body works.
    Back to that male colleague…I turned to him (and all our team) and asked if they thought it would be ok for me to say to him “you’re far too fat – you should stop eating so much and go to the gym”? Of course they were all horrified until I pointed out that he had bullied an victimised me in entirely the same way
    I don’t believe that anyone should be criticises or victimises for having a certain body shape. Sure it’s not healthy to be excessively overweight or underweight but the aim o the game should be having a healthy body not a “perfect” one

  14. Love love love this post! I too grew up being super skinny and I’m still pretty petite (size 6 at 5’1″) and I’ve used to find it upsetting when people talk about real women having curves as I always wondered what did that make me then? At 30 I’ve filled out a little but still get comments about being skinny, this is because I have a very small frame so even with a little fat I’m still a size 6 (sometimes 8 on the bottom), I used to go to a ladies only gym and get lots of snarky comments from other women there that I’d never even met (surely the point of going to a ladies only gym is so we feel less judged?) I was quite pleased one day when they did a overall check over and I was asked to hold this thing that tells you your body fat percentage and it said I was spot on what I should be, ha! So basically, yes! We need to stop holding up one thing/idea as being the ‘ideal’, when ideal is what’s right for you as an individual.

  15. Growing up I was always tall and skinny, I am not sure I was full on bullied for it but people said mean things to me, and teased me mainly my friends.
    Why do people think its ok to say to people ‘you’re so skinny its weird, and not you’re so fat its weird. I felt really helpless back then and ate loads, and loads to try and put weight on. As soon as I hit 16/17 I started putting weight on. and haven’t really stopped I am not a size 14/16 and I am nearly 6ft, I am also super pear shaped. But I am pretty happy. I would love to be down to a size 12 again, but its weird I am so torn from the days and being ridiculed and pointed at for being so skinny.
    I was talking about this with someone the other day and they made a good point, the times I have lost a lot of weight I was really unhappy.

  16. I could not agree more! I have ranted about this so many times… and the phrase “real woman” makes me so angry. Am I not “real” because I’m slim? Do I need curves to be considered an official part of my gender? More people need to realise that celebrating certain body shapes shouldn’t mean insulting others…

  17. I’m naturally skinny. I eat what i like and don’t exercise. I dont have an eating problem. I was bullied badly because of my size. Beanpole was a favourite!
    I had a rant on my twitter the other day because im sick and tired of being told i look ill. If I say I’m cold the common response is “thats because there’s not enough meat on you”. If I’m tired, people say its cause I dont eat enough.
    People think its ok to say “god you look skinny, you should eat more!” There would be outrage if I walked up to a larger person and said “god you look fat, you should eat less”.
    Everyone is different, and so they should be! The world would be a very boring place if we all looked the same.
    Thank you for an amazing post the touched my heart

  18. I completely agree! I hate the fact that it is ok for people to bash on skinny girls or to openly accuse them of having an eating disorder. I was bullied in middle school and called anorexic (trust me this is just as damaging as being called fat). The, “Real women have curves!” thing really irritates me too. We are just as womanly and just as fertile so I don’t know what makes a curvy woman more womanly. Men like women of all shapes and sizes, I wish women would understand that and stop tearing each other apart out of jealousy. Just try to love yourself because beauty comes in all sizes.

  19. Quite simply I can only say this;
    I have always been on the curvy side, my genes have made sure of that. I have big boobs and a massive bum and no amount of gym work has ever changed that fact. I am the UK ‘average’ size of 14/16.
    When I see UK size 4/6 models EVERY DAY in my face, in magazines, on the TV, in shop advertising; I am filled with self hatred for my body. My fully working, healthy body. Why? Because I’m apparently fat.
    Let me ask those who are a size 4/6/8/10 – When you see a size 14/16 ‘model’ do you hate your own body and wish you were their size? Thought not.

  20. Ladies, I hope you don’t mind a male opinion, all the girls that I’ve dated have always been obsessed with their weight, women are supposed to have curves, I love curves! women are not meant to look like boys.

  21. Fantastic post, I read it earlier at work and it stayed with me until I had to comment.
    When I was younger, I was bullied for being very skinny, I filled out during my teens and now get paranoid about my slightly jiggly belly and thick calves. Although I don’t hate my body I’ve never been confident in it.
    My sister is really petite and has been all her life. She discovered that she has crohns a few years back and is sure that’s part of the reason why she has problems. So when people through her scathing looks and talk about having eating disorders it’s pretty effing insulting.
    But where this really hits home is not in the story of girls that I know, but my fiancé. He has always been very slim and tall. People think it’s completely acceptable to tell him that he needs to go eat, that he makes them sick because he’s so skinny, that he’s just a string of pi$$, and other horrible, horrible things. To see or hear someone be that nasty for no reason to someone that you love is heartbreaking.
    Coming from a family of five girls and one brother, I know people come in all shapes and sizes and you can’t just expect us to look identical. It would be bloody boring if we were.
    It is never acceptable to deride someone for their size or to base how real a woman or a man they are based on it. You wouldn’t say I’m less of a woman because I’m short, would you?

  22. How utterly ridiculous to compare you to your 16 year old self! And is that what we ‘ought’ to be looking like, teenage girls?
    Dieting for someone else is always going to be hard; I’m inclined to say do it for yourself or not at all. Maybe focus on your arms and see how you get on. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and best of luck with the wedding prep!

  23. Vintage Bridal Gowns AND Lucy Stendall?! You are a lucky bride indeed! (And one with impeccable taste.)
    It is odd that the media are so fixated on women’s bodies, be it too big or small. But on the other hand, maybe they just know how to prey on the weak and make the most out of a bad situation. Just makes it all the more unsavoury.

  24. Hear hear! I tend to find that the type of women who tell me I’m so lucky to be slim are the ones who also turn round and tell me I’ll always be cold if I don’t put weight on. Part of me wonders whether it’s jealousy or ignorance or a baffling unawareness of double standards. Ultimately it doesn’t matter because as you say, it’s not anyone else’s business and the concern should be on having a healthy lifestyle, not a specific dress size.
    Interesting point about female editors. Who better to prey on the female psyche than one of our own? And perhaps also indicative of the primarily female dominated offices from which these magazines are produced. I’m pretty sure in male dominated offices they don’t discuss why they’re eating ryvita for lunch…

  25. Leah, I know this is something that you and I have discussed in the past and thank you for leaving your two cents. I can clarify that you are very much a real woman, congratulations.

  26. You’ve hit the nail on the head, Vicky, it’s weird double standards. Also, what if someone actually DID have an issue with food? How bad would the commenter then feel?
    So glad you found time to leave a comment and glad you’ve enjoyed this series – I have too! (Clearly!)

  27. I completely agree Hester, it’s focus is on how social perceptions of ‘hotness’ have become distorted, but if you look like that top row (bar Heidi Montag on the left who is clearly a colossally counterproductive to any of these arguments!) then you do end up feeling pretty lousy about yourself. By extension, it’s asking the question of why SHOULD someone be attracted to a waif?
    Healthy lifestyles are the way forward. Now, how do we get this message to the rest of the world?!

  28. Thank you so much for taking time to leave a reply Inbal and highlighting how easy it is for even those that we love and trust to be entirely oblivious to how inappropriate it is to get involved in other people’s business. And as for that shop assistant…I would be writing a strongly worded letter to her superiors!

  29. It’s so good to see ‘skinny bashing’ discussed. I’m naturally slim and it makes me feel really self concious when people go on about it, it’s got worse as I’ve not long had a baby and my figure is almost back to normal (unlike some things I might add!) and I’m sick of people staring at me, I’ve even had people accuse me of not giving birth to my baby, it’s genuinely affecting my thoughts on how to dress and I want to disguise my figure just so people will stop going on about it!!

  30. So glad you found time to reply to this Emily Jayne as I know you must see the detrimental effects of this on a daily basis. You are, of course, quite right and the reasons for trying to alter one’s size ought to always be for an improved lifestyle and healthiness and nothing else.

  31. Congratulations for living your life in a way that suits you and benefits your health. I suspect people will always treat that with suspicion as it seems to be human nature to have a modicum of self-destruction, be that as trivial as too many takeaways and a shedload of cake. Hope you had a tasty lunch!

  32. Bravo! SO glad you stood up to him. In my last job a male colleague asked a female colleague who I was friends with if they ought to stage some sort of intervention to make me address my eating disorder. She categorically told him I had no such issues and he might want to lay off the ale and pies before he started casting aspersions on others.

  33. I do wonder when female solidarity will overtake the overwhelming urge for female bitchiness and backstabbing. Particularly in gyms!
    Thanks so much for stopping by to leave a comment my lovely.

  34. Ah Lucy, thank you for your comment and sorry to hear that your formative teen years have left you feeling a wee bit lost in terms of how you ‘ought’ to look. I hope you find a happy medium and a happy way of reaching your comfort zone.

  35. Dawn you make an absolutely excellent point and one that I suspect will continue as long as there are women on the planet. Tudor women, as we all know, competed to have the tiniest corsetted waists; Georgian women were considered less attractive, less worthwhile and less fertile if they weren’t curvy; and as we have seen in the last century the shift has change again to make us all believe we ought to be a hair’s breadth away from emaciation. Society will always deliver us an icon on to which we fixate.
    But regardless of that, it’s when other women are belittling and berating each other for the way they look that I take umbrage with. When it is so abundantly forced in our faces, as you say, we shouldn’t be absorbing it and transferring it on to others.
    And for what it’s worth (not much, admittedly) I’ve never wished I was any size, just that, like you, my size didn’t matter.

  36. Hoorah for male insight! Although, you sort of reinforce the point that if some of us girls are naturally flat-chested and lanky and, I suppose, ‘boyish’ looking then we’re not as lovely as curvy girls. Ah well, different strokes for different folks!

  37. I certainly would not, Miss Sarah! It’s such a strange social convention to unknowingly insult a slim person and I wonder if it might not be borne out of a hyper awareness of the increasing obesity rate that it’s almost seen as light relief at the opposite end of the spectrum. People just don’t think, do they?

  38. Good grief! What an utterly horrible thing for anyone to say. I think anyone who has ever had a child and doesn’t have a heart made of stone would probably just congratulate you on having supersonic metabolism to get your figure back.
    The point is no one likes to have their appearance discussed, by strangers or friends, and it’s a bit baffling that we’ve come to think it acceptable to offer unsolicited ‘advice’ on the topic.

  39. This really resonates with me – I train hard for my sports teams, and have made some great friends there. But you know what, they are ALL male. They encourage me and cheer me on, and don’t line up at the scales afterwards. They don’t care if I sweat like or a horse/throw up a little bit or wear no make-up to the gym. A lot can be said that is different for their female couterparts whom I now do not train with due to their regular weight/image/looks complaints the entire session. I’m there to feel good, not to be made to feel rubbish!

  40. Hmmmm what a thought provoking little number. I often think to myself, wouldn’t the world be a better place if girls could look at other girls and say “doesn’t she look HAPPY” or “wow those shoes are fabulous” rather than, “yep, she could stand to lose a pound or ten” or “what a skinny minny, she needs a burger”. But magazines, movies, modern culture, bad days at the office, make everyone just that bit more judgemental, when really, if our bodies do the trick, keep us healthy, happy and ticking along just fine, shouldn’t that be enough?
    I got married last year to a man I had loved from the moment I laid eyes on him 11 years ago. Now, I am a 16/18, and with dodgy hormones and a thyroid that drives me mad, so there isn’t a lot I can do about that! I exercise, eat healthily and have tried every diet under the sun. But you know what, he loves my boobs and my “curves” (wobbly bits)even though I don’t, and makes me feel beautiful. And thats enough for me.
    It would just be lovely if women, our allies, sisters in this world, could do the same and just accept each other whether size 0 or 20, ages 18 or 80, and I think we would all be much, much happier and the world would be a nicer place to be…

  41. Really interesting post. Sadly whatever size we are does effect peoples judgements.. i’ve been a size 20 and a size 10 and now rather in between but recently dropped two stone from a lot of exercise. I do find people treat me better when I am thinner, I get more attention and aren’t treated like an invisible being. I know often bosses have treated me much better when I am thinner. I’d much rather be a naturally slender woman than the one that struggles not to be obese but we all want what we don’t have.

  42. What a refreshing post Emma. I’m 5 10″ and a clothes size 8-10 and have been since the age of 17. I know I am ‘lucky’ to be this size but I have long gangly legs and no boobs and frequently feel unwomanly. I find it so hard to find trousers that are long enough and tops which don’t make me look flat as a pancake. I would love to do a boudoir shoot but think I would look awful because of my lack of curves and inability to ‘fill out’ the sexy lingerie. I also regularly feel guilty in the staff room when I tuck into birthday treats etc when other people complain that they can’t. Wedding dress shopping was also as difficult for me as I’m sure it was for plus size girls. The dresses were all at least 2 sizes 2 big and It was so hard to imagine what they would look like in the correct size when I had a cushion shoved down my back to fill me out!! Anyway rant over, thank you so much for addressing this topic. Alison x

  43. Oh Dawnydawnydawn!! That made me so sad reading this!
    Please don’t ever late images used by the media make you feel full of self-hatred for your body.
    I am a size 14 right now too – I was a size 8/10 when I met my Husband and now weigh 4 stone more than I did when I met him. When I was 8 stone nothing, I thought I was overweight. Now I’m 12 stone, I realise I wasn’t overweight at all! I am happier now than I was then though! Even if I do know that I need to lose a couple of stone to be at my optimum ‘healthiest’. It will come in time once I start to incorporate a little exercise into my life! 😉
    Please please my love, don’t ever feel this way again when you look at these images. They are ALL falsified using image editing techniques that lengthen limbs, then the torso, air brush out bad skin.
    When you next step out dressed up for an event, I don’t know, a party of something, remind yourself you are a woman, you are sexy and have curves all in the right places. Check your posture, hold your head up high, smile and have confidence in yourself my friend 🙂

  44. Bravo Mark! Thanks so much for your comment! Boys/men are welcome on Love My Dress any time to contribute.
    I hear what you’re saying but must acknowledge that some guys like thinner girls too! {I know, I’ve dated a couple of them in the past}.
    As you say Emma, different strokes for different folks, but Mark, YES, most women are never truly happy with their appearance. And I doubt there’s any kind of quick fix to that in the short term, providing the media continues to feed us with false images of what is perfection/sexy/attractive.

  45. “It is never acceptable to deride someone for their size or to base how real a woman or a man they are based on it. You wouldn’t say I’m less of a woman because I’m short, would you?”
    This is the perfect soundbite Sarah.
    People take note!

  46. Hi Liv,
    I’ve a non-functioning thyroid too which means I have to take pills for my metabolism to function and that I find it MUCH harder to lose and maintain weight loss these days then I used to, so I hear ya!
    I was so pleased to read the rest of your comment. I sense a very confident woman in your words – one who is relaxed in her own skin.
    Bravo for leaving such positive inspirational words 🙂

  47. Hi Laura,
    I was really keen to put something out there from an opinion that is so often overlooked by the media.
    Anyone who can bring themselves to make a comment about your birthing abilities my lovely lady is basically a foolish, niaive, uneducated idiot.
    Don’t you ever let anyone who makes a remark like that get to you – but equally, don’t let yourself get cross with them or bitter about the remark. That’s negative energy and nobody wants that.
    I hope that some of the feedback that’s come about on Love My Dress this week reassures you that you’re not alone, but more importantly, that you have NO need to feel this way.
    Embrace the person you are and be proud of it! We’re all behind you 🙂

  48. Many thanks for your feedback helena,
    You make some interesting social observations and I guess you are so right, we all want what we don’t have. Why is it we’re so unable to feel happy with what we’ve got?

  49. Boudoir photographers of the world, someone PLEASE take some photographs of Alison and prove to her that she has a sexy, feminine, womanly body!!
    Alison – try not to worry about the cushion down your back thing. Although I hate that wedding boutiques do that so insensitively {I heard of loo roll being shoved down one client’s back recently ?!?!} it’s a standard practice, NOT that it is at all acceptable or comfortable, but many shops do this as it’s rare that a sample wedding dress will ever fit the person trying it on absolutely perfectly. Bull dog clips, standing on a box, stuffing things down your back – it’s all pretty commonplace!!

  50. Hi Sam – yep, I get that too! But my lifestyle dictates I can’t exercise as much as I used too, My role as blogger is often a very sedentary one {sat down, still as I type etc, even if I am furiously working away and getting lots done}.
    I’m finding it very difficult to fit exercise time into my weekly schedule, but I’ll keep trying because actually I do really miss my exercise and being active *IS* a great way to control weight.
    Get some cheap free weights, google how to lift them effectively and spend 15-20 mins training your muscles in your bedroom or in front of the TV every night. It’s SO easy and I guarantee you’ll see results in no time.

  51. Thanks Jillian, she really did hit the nail on the head. And I was so keen to feature a post that considered the other point of view!
    “Maybe if we could all just…start being nicer to each other, instead of constantly berating each other for our differences, then body image would not have to effect the next generation”
    This should go up on noticeboards around the country and be a warning sign on all fashion magazines!!!

  52. I hate seeing people getting bashed, some of the things you read online are horrible. I have tried to raise my daughter to let her feel free and be happy with however she looks, we eat healthly at home but if she wants some snacks or a takeout, its not my place to say she cant.

  53. Great post! I have all sorts of issues with body image and food… and on top of these images I feel under pressure from all the stuff we see everywhere about losing weight and being small. I am a size 16, sometimes towards a 14, sometimes an 18. I exercise and I love food. Sometimes I eat too much, most of the time I eat healthily – but even when I full on diet I have never ever been in the “normal” BMI range.
    A couple of years ago I refused to diet any more. I now focus on being healthy and getting regular exercise. But I still worry that people will think I’m a glutenous fat lazy person, when that’s not me at all.
    At the opposite end of the scale I know some of my friends are tiny because that’s their size. My niece is just about to start secondary school, she has a huge appetite yet she’s so thin my sister worries she looks like she isn’t being fed enough! I’m going to make sure that she knows that she’s beautiful and that if anyone says anything differently they should just be ignored.
    I know being fit and healthy is the most important thing. I just need to get my brain to understand that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of me as long as I’m happy!

  54. I’m glad this topic has been brought forward again!
    I was feeling a bit down the other day, and it’s kinda uplifting to hear others feeling the same.
    It seems you can’t win, because everybody has a different ideal – that I don’t even know what I want to look like anymore!
    I work in fashion – so my size 6 frame and flat chest are admired, but I’m only 5’1 🙁 So, I’m not so great after all!
    I’m not a ‘real’ woman, because I have no curves.
    I have muscular legs, and a ‘friend’ taunted me by telling me that I look like Disney’s Hercules “Skinny but with massive legs”. 🙁 I wanted to respond “it’s called going to the gym”, but instead I hid in my bedroom and cried.
    All of my features I’ve had grown up inwardly wishing I had those of the long and lean and ever so slightly busty. But actually, I knew I was pretty happy with what I had.
    I feel less content now – thanks to the ‘normal’ people around me, criticising to compensate for their own insecurities.
    If I’m 100% honest, I know I should be happy with the way I look. But it’s a hard task reminding myself of that everyday!
    Girls are actually nicer at school than they are now – that’s my experience anyway!

  55. I’m glad that woman of all shapes are talking to each-other respectfully. I’m 23, 5,1, short waisted, size 6…apple shape. The women in my family are always telling me to put on weight, you will look womanly…. as if putting of weight will make me look like a sexy hourglass or pear with a sender middle! Damn apple shape, I keep the weight off so that I don’t look like I’m pregnant. They make me feel less of a woman, less attractive then them…:( ultimately less attractive to men.
    I don’t know other apple shaped women, so would love to hear from you guys!

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