UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

Why We Need To Change The Way We Think About Our Bodies

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The start of this post is going to make me sound like a bit of a <insert your swear word of choice here> so just hang in there and read to the end, won’t ya?

I am a bitch.

Or correction, I was a bitch.

Not so much the snaking around your best friend’s back and being a two-faced piece of dirt bitch, more the EURGH LOOK HAVE YOU SEEN WHAT WHAT’S HER FACE IS WEARING IN THIS PHOTO, DOESN’T SHE LOOK FAT? kinda bitch.

A lot of my teenage and early adult years were spent critiquing other girls from the safety of my own home, my own car, my best friends’ houses, over the phone, y’know, pretty much anywhere I could discuss in great detail without being found out.

We’d devour entire holiday albums complete with 57456 bikini snaps on Facebook over a cup of tea and Galaxy Cookie Crumble.

We’d whisper about the girls who walked past us in tiny crop tops whilst out shopping in Brighton.

We’d text each other to go online and look at blah blah blah’s new profile pic.

We’d snigger about whose stretch marks we’d seen in the PE changing rooms.

We were, quite honestly, horrible.

And I guess, looking back, it was a kind of coping mechanism. A way to point out everyone else’s ‘flaws’ and the things that stopped them looking like an air-brushed model in a magazine, so that it didn’t matter so much if we didn’t look that way either.

We’d never say those things to people’s faces, but there was some sort of hideous thrill in tearing apart other people without them knowing. Like we had one up on them.

Now, I’d like to say that as I grew up and became y’know, an actual functioning adult in society, I saw the error of my ways and packed it in. Became nice, friendly, less obsessed with appearance. More open to the idea of body shapes and sizes that differed to the media’s perception of beauty, but nope.

It wasn’t until the sort of comments that I was used to sharing with my gal pals in secret started appearing in my blog comments that I really realised how hurtful, how unfair, how wrong, my behaviour had been.

‘You have such a nice, small, skinny face, you’d never guess how fat you actually were.’

‘You look like a fat sausage in that skirt.’

‘It must suck to be the fattest girl in that group of bloggers’.

It hurt, it really effing hurt.

There were days when I questioned whether I was really strong enough for this whole documenting my life online thing, whether I had a thick enough skin or would I’d end up driving myself into a self-hating ball of sadness with no return.

The shock of seeing those comments laid out in black and white on my WordPress admin page made me question why people felt like they were entitled to an opinion, why strangers were obsessed with critiquing my appearance.

And then it hit me.

Although I wasn’t actively going out of my way to tell people I didn’t like the way they looked, I still had those same thoughts. I still gossiped and whispered to my friends. I still had the exact same mentality as the strangers who were trolling me.

I wasn’t any better, I was part of the problem.

Y’see us girls have had a bit of a tough ride in this whole accepting our own body thing. Instead of growing up into a society that welcomes and encourages women of all shapes, sizes and colours, we’re told that unless you’re a size 8 white woman with an ample chest, you’re not pretty or beautiful or worthy.

And if that wasn’t enough, we’re openly encouraged to have an opinion on the way other women look. To put one woman up against another and discuss which one we like more.

How many hot or not pages did you see splashed across your fave magazines growing up?

How many worst dressed lists?

How many ‘these stars have gained weight’ front page features?

We’re programmed to feel entitled to a say on the way complete strangers look. And y’know what? That absolutely sucks. It really, really sucks.

There’s more to all of us than the number in the label of our jeans. Fuck, there’s more to all of us than the way our legs look in those stupid bloomin’ jeans. They’re designed to keep us warm, keep our legs protected from the elements, not to be a defining part of who we are.

And since I’ve realised that, like really, really realised that, the more I’ve started to like myself too.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s taken quite a long time to change the way I think. I have to chase the bitchy, negative thoughts out of my head with positive, ‘hey, that girl can where whatever the flip she wants, she looks sassy and confident af, who are you to think any different?’

Every time I think something mean about someone else, I have the better Hannah, the cooler Hannah, the Hannah I like most answer back with ‘shuttup bitch, she’s looks absolutely slammin and you’re just jealous that you’re not confident enough with the way YOU look to see it.’

The less I feel the need to find flaws in other people, the less I feel the need to find flaws in myself.

It’s a pretty happy circle I’ve managed to get myself stuck into and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

Because if we’re just a little bit kinder to ourselves and to each other, the world might just seem like a slightly sweeter place to be.

Oh and here’s some photos of me in shorts because the way my thighs look in them literally makes no difference to who I am as a person, and the sooner I see that, the sooner the rest of the world will too.

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Photos by Bang On Style



64 comments so far.
  • Love this blog post. Could not have said it better myself. PS Your thighs are banging and you look hot in shorts!

  • YES QUEEN. Haven’t commented on here in ages, but this post is fab. And you look amazing in those shorts. Keep bossing it xxxxx
    http://www.fashionnomads.com

  • Olivia

    Thank you so much for writing this.

    We’ve all been guilty of being THAT judgemental girl, but as soon as we learn to love ourselves, we’ve solved half the problem.

    P.S all of the sass in these pics. OWN IT

    xxxx

  • Kate

    I also think it’s important that you remember that you can be white a size 8 with an ample chest and still have hang ups and insecurities. Everyone has body confidence issues and it’s not right to dismiss the person with the body you may think as ideal because you have no idea what’s in their head.

    • Really good point, I think everything is relative and it’s a bit of a minefield to talk about – I have size 16 friends who share things on Facebook about how they don’t want to be a size 10 because that means starving themselves and curves are beautiful, yet I’m a size 10 and certainly don’t starve myself and still have curves! It’s hard not to offend people isn’t it. And the sad thing is that we are encouraged to criticise ourselves no matter what our shape or size. I think on the positive side of difference it’s important to remember that we are so harsh on ourselves, yet others look at us completely differently and see more positives. Xx

  • This is SO true, loved this post so much Hannah!

    Shiana xx
    http://www.shianajarvis.com

  • 1. YES!!!
    2. I totally do this too, I say something mean in my head about someone I walk past and then I’m like actually she is fucking sassy so stop being a dick Laura!
    3. You’re legs look great in those shorts – Own it!!!! x

  • Such a true post Hannah! Incidentally, you have a fabulous figure, so you def should flaunt it! x

  • I think as girls we have all said nasty things about other people especially in secondary school. But now I am someone now who will turn around and snap at someone who disses how another person looks or what they are wearing. Now if I find myself thinking like a bitch I do scold myself mentally too because who really cares what another person wears and looks like, it doesnt make the world a bad place or make you any happier, etc.

    Anyways, great post hannah! xx

  • Stacey

    I’m was guilty of being one of those “did you see … blah blah blah” girls, but thankfully now older and wiser.

    Great post – its something that needs to be addressed for certain.

    And you look amaze in those shorts fyi.

  • Very appropriate for now! People get so caught up in things and it’s easy to forget that being nice is actually a good thing!

    You look great in the photo’s too!

  • Francesca

    I think this has hit home a bit because I can still be that girl. It’s not until you hear someone else being a bitch that you realise just how horrible your comments can be.

    Frankie goes to – Travel Blog

  • Amy

    Hannah Gale you are a babe 😍😘

  • Becki

    We’ve all been guilty of this at a young age, it’s definitely just a coping mechanism!

    You look smokin’ in those shorts!

  • sasha

    wow this is amazing. I teared up reading it, you’re such an inspiration. all girls (and boys, tbf) need to read this !!

    (and tbh you fucking rock those shorts)

  • Sarah

    Loved this Hannah – thank you for the important reminder!

  • Ada

    Unfortunately it is normal behavior of girls of a certain age. Everyone is beautiful and there isn’t a certain we have to look like, we all are good enough the way we are, worthiness is a birth right xx

    https://foreverseekingagreatperhaps.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/from-prague-with-love/

  • Yas Queen!!!
    I admit that I only wear shorts in private, just me & my boyfriend get to see me in shorts because I am insecure about my legs. No matter how much exercise they do, they never get toned.
    I need to work harder and accept that these are my legs, and to accept them for how they allow me to walk every day, or run when I need them to, not judge them on appearance.

    http://www.justbeingbrooklyn.com

  • Niamh

    The first thing I noticed when I saw the first photo was how pretty you looked and how nice the black top set off your tan, I read the rest of the post and went back to look , you better take your own advice and be kinder to yourself!!!!!!:-) great post

  • Such a great post and I can completely get what you are saying! I can be such a bitch and its such a disgusting habit in myself that I hate. I would be so upset to know that other people were saying these things about me. Magazines are literally the worst. Some of the headlines and topics I’ve seen are so degrading and horrible to women and yet we get sucked into that way of thinking!

    http://www.ohsobecky.com

  • Mollt

    £300 sunglasses?!

  • Molly

    It helps that you’re an attractive woman with a decent figure

  • First thought I had was, “That Hannah, always wearing sassy and rockin’ outfits.”

    On to the actual topic of the post – I agree with 100% of what you said. And truth be told I still find myself having to do a mental slap every so often. But you are right! The kinder we are to others, the kinder we are to ourselves. It’s great!

  • Chloe Berry

    I’m going to try practising what you’re preaching HG. And you look like a solid 10 as always XXXO

  • Amy

    Oh Hannah so much YES to all of this – I actually wrote a post quite similar to this a few weeks ago about how I used to bitchy in my head and just because I didn’t say it didn’t make it OK! I think blogging plus just getting older has helped me to try to stop critiquing others’ appearances because it is such a problem! Oh and you look babein’ in these pictures!
    Amy xx
    http://www.callmeamy.co.uk

  • Julia Fuller

    oh Hannah darling! I just stumbled on your blog via the September 2015 body image and the blogging world post. Beautifully done. So much true and delightfully expressed. Now I am a fan of the Hannah. I was a skinny girl until age 39 and an illness. Now I fight the chub constantly and as a short girl it’s double trouble to find clothes and to get right with my body image. Thanks for the words and the humor with it. Well played and love from Arizona, USA, land of the cowgirl.

  • Such a great blog post Hannah! *applause*
    I completely agree – something needs to change in society where we stop pitting girls against each other and stop putting so much emphasis in how our thighs look. Time and time again I find myself going into a shell of a human because I get so stroppy about how my body looks…and it’s ridiculous…because it shouldn’t matter.
    I’m going to share this post with some of my friends – loved it so much!

    Holly x | http://www.thechroniclesofholly.com/

  • Caroline

    Could not love this post more….

  • What a great posts. I used to hate my body so much that I wouldn’t wear anything fitting as I was worried you’d be able to see my ‘fat’. I know that sounds stupid now and even though I’m still not a massive fan of my shoulders I really am starting to love the body I’m in. I try not to look at others (judging myself against them) and just try to focus on what I want to wear and so on. I completely agree, it’s hard but I’m a lot happier in myself because of it.

    Tabitha x
    http://whattabithaloves.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Jess

    Thank you for this post :) it’s made me want to wear a pair of shorts for thr first time in 12 years!

  • I used to do the same thing when i was in my teenage years, I think a lot of us did, if we were being honest. And I think its OK to suddenly realize what you are actually saying isn’t nice, funny or clever. Great post Hannah, I hope that if enough bloggers write posts about this topic it might be picked up by some major magazine and make them change the type of content they choose to print in their magazines. Eventually changing the way women see other women.. Am I just a dreamer? Possibly, but someones got to start the ball rolling.

  • Hannah, my eyes are literally welling up as I write this. Before I get deep and stuff, can I just say that your thighs are absolutely fine and that a tonne of people would die to have your figure? You look healthy and happy in all your outfit photos, and to me that’s the best form of beauty.

    I too used to shake my head at girls who wore crop tops and such. I was the girl who nudged my friends shoulder to snicker at the girl with electric blue hair and really short shorts… and the brutal truth is that sometimes, I still am.

    I completely agree with you in that we need to be kinder to each other and to ourselves, and it’s so amazing that you have found a way to do that effectively. I’ve always been very self conscious about my body as all my friends are stick thin and I’m slightly more, er, chunky. But as you said, that doesn’t define who I am as a person. Just because all my friends are size 8’s and I’m not, doesn’t mean that they love me any less or that I don’t fit in. My friends couldn’t care less about what size of jeans I’m wearing- they care about who I am as a person.

    This post really struck a chord with me, and from looking through the comments it looks like you’ve had the same effect on quite a few people. Thank you so much for writing and uploading this. P.s. you look amazing in those shorts.

  • Emma

    You’re beautiful! Continue doing you♡

  • em
  • Leigh Georgina

    Well said…I too have been greying to change my mindset!! I’ve wasted most of my life saying no to events because I hate the way I look. Well no more Sister!!

    BTW your thighs are sooo toned..you have zero cellulite and skin is amazeballs!!

    Xx

  • You Go GURL! I love this. This is everything. I need to create that better self voice in my head more often. WHY are we so mean to each other? You look fab in those shorts – great combo with the boots! xx

    Laura | Collectinglabels.com

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  • This was such a great read! The world is deffo way too judgmental! and for the record, you look amazing! xxx

  • Sophie

    Love this, I think it’s all too easy to take a little comfort from the way other people look, whether that be looking at pics of celebs with no makeup on or seeing someone you know having a bad hair day. I guess we should just all remember that it is far more important to support one another, nowadays I love nothing more than having no-makeup days and if someone thinks I look a bit rubbish then so be it haha x

    http://www.sophieblxck.com

  • Excellent post and well said. This is exactly the subject that my friends and I were discussing over the weekend. I don’t know why we women are always so hard on each other but I think you’re right, we must all make a conscious effort to change this. Laura x

  • Ally

    I would literally kill to have your legs.

  • Love this post. I’m literally obsessed with these shorts, why have they sold out in my size?? I used to be exactly like you and were often the ‘mean girls’ in school- it’s our society.. and at least we’ve learnt from our mistakes.

  • I genuinely don’t understand why all this bitchiness has migrated from snide asides to being plastered all over the internet. I honestly feel like social media used to be a friendly place to be and then all of a sudden people felt like saying mean, awful things publicly and on blogs (for goodness sake) was somehow ok. It really, really isn’t. Kids now have to deal with so much more than the bitchiness and the gossiping at high school, now it’s plastered all over their Facebook walls and on snapchat. It makes me so bloody sick. I haven’t had any comments like you’ve received since high school but the wounds are still there and wether they are online, in person or written on a note it can still hurt years later. Please don’t listen to idiotic people who don’t have the good grace to think before they type – why ‘don’t saying anything if you don’t have anything nice to say at all’ hasn’t become the blogging community’s motto I don’t know!

    You do you, because you’re excellent at it and that outfit is sexy as hell.

    http://victoriaspongepeasepudding.com

  • Love this post so much! I used to do exactly the same, I think most girls did, but I decided one day I would stop even in my own head, thinking someone looks horrible in what they wear feels mean! I think girls need to treat each other with all the respect, because we all know what each other goes through and how hard being a girl is! You look amazing Hannah!! x

  • Maria

    Well done you for actually come out and admitting this. I’m the same. I preach body confidence, and not judging others on their appearances, I get angry when its always the girl that needs to meet a certain expectation while guys are treated far less harshly.. and yet I have consistently bitched about others behind their backs and made nasty comments about their appearances.
    Nothing too bad – it will always be about people that I find are more attractive than myself, and I totally agree its a coping mechanism for those with low self esteem.
    Its definitely something I have tried to stop doing. It helps no-one other and just ends up making me feel worse.
    Girls definitely have a hard time accepting ourselves for who we are because of the media that surrounds us while we grow up, and unfortunately still does. But if we keep being honest about it with each other, we can beat this horrible, superficial culture :)

  • Jade Coldwell

    Love this post. As a “fat” girl the way my friends talk about others actively cuts me up inside. I constantly feel secretly judged by them since they judge others so harshly.
    Sometimes they stop themselves mid-sentence but more often than not they rip others apart without knowing a single thing about them.
    We definitely need to be more accepting of others whatever their supposed flaws are, we’ll get a million times further in life by building people up than tearing them down. :)

  • I 100% agree so so true! But girl you look amazing in those shorts, just saying! We definitely need to spread more love to everyone rather than drag them down, I know I am guilty of this too. Sophie x

    sophiehmstewart.com

  • YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
    Preach!
    http://www.aliceadventures.co.uk

  • Love this! I’m struggling with my own body image at the moment, and this is a really positive post!
    Ps, you’re thighs look fab in those shorts!

  • If people think you are fat they really need to look up the word in a dictionary! You, in my mind, are far from what I would EVER call fat and anybody who thinks so can just buggar right off. Nuff said!

  • I love your honesty! Its really nice to have someone who isn’t afraid to say when things in life are tough or awkward. Mentioned how much I enjoy reading your blog on mine.
    https://charlotteebarber.wordpress.com.

    Love the blog, Keep writing!

  • I can’t say I entirely relate to this post, I never made fun of how people looked or how they dressed (I wasn’t cool enough for that). I was the one being made fun of, whispered about, and bullied. Which sucked. A lot. I cried a lot too haha, I’ve grown a (slightly) thicker skin and can honestly say I don’t give a fuck what people think or say about my appearance anymore. I used to try to conform and look how all the cool girls did. Now I have hairy armpits and legs and wear my granny skirts with pride!

    Well done for being so flipping honest about being one of *those* girls. Insecurity is never an excuse to tear down other women, and I’m sorry about the comments you’ve received, it’s a shame it sometimes takes something like that happening to us for us to realise we do the same thing.

    Growing up is a funny thing!

  • LOVE LOVE LOVE this post.

    It’s so so true and I find it crazy how many people are negative about others but then when I sit back and think I can be quite judgemental (even if I keep it to myself and don’t say it!). Everyone has wonderful things about themselves and it’s time we all focussed on what makes people amazing and wonderful instead of honing in on the negatives.

    Oh – and you look amazing, and I ADORE those boots <3

    xxx

  • Kelly

    Why do you always pose with pigeon toed feet? Do you think it makes you look cute? Or skinny? It makes you loook like you have rickets.

    • Emily

      you are the type of person this post is about, she can pose however the fck she wants to?

  • Emily

    you are honestly an inspiration, seeing you rocking all your outfits with such happiness and confidence is amazing and I only aspire to be more like you. You look amazing in these shots. I used to be the exact same, saying bitchy things to my friends but luckily grew out of it once i got to college and realised those kinds of girls aren’t the type of friends you want. I try and encourage self love and love seeing other girls posting things with self love in because its so hard to love yourself but so important.

  • I don’t know whose quote it is, but I found on the internet once and it has stuck with me ever since because it’s so damn relatable. The quote is; “The first thought that goes through your mind is what you have been conditioned to think; what you think next defines who you are.” and I think it’s relatable because even if many won’t admit it, we’re all guilty of it with various different situations.

    It’s never too late to be the change you want to see in the world xx

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  • May I begin by saying , even though it kinda defeats the object of the post, you look amazing in those shorts and anybody who says otherwise is just trying to stir crap.

    Having said that, I know exactly what you mean about being judgmental and judging myself. The whole world seems to revolve around how you look. Even though I know it shouldn’t matter if I have cellulite, or rolls over my jeans, or blemishes on my skin I can’t seem to stop tearing myself down. It’s an endless comparison between myself and every other woman in the world.

    I totally agree that women need to start measuring their worth by their character and stop constantly fretting about how they look. Feel good in yourself and you’ll be happy, no matter what you look like. Now if only media coverage could catch up…

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