THIS isn't my usual light-hearted post. While my blogging over the past couple of years has focussed largely on fun fashion and how to wear it, I miss writing about my true feelings and opinions. Because I am opinionated and I don't think women should have to hide that. So a little disclaimer: if you're just after pretty pics and not a lotta honesty and openness, feel free to direct away from this page now. Anyway, I digress. What I really want to talk about is the world's focus on women's looks and just how much it shapes all women today.

Growing up as a young woman, it's fair to say a lot of emphasis is placed on your appearance. Female celebrities are generally all attractive, slim and desired by men, while everywhere you look beautiful size 0 women are staring back at you. That is the aspiration. Magazines, fashion brands, movies, adverts and TV shows are all guilty of this and there's no denying that it has an impact on those witnessing it.

As soon as I developed awareness to the world around me, I realised how important it was to be attractive in our society and I knew I had to change. I stopped eating for enjoyment and started wearing make-up. I began straightening my hair and shaving my legs. I tore out pages from magazines which gave me exercise plans and performed them in my bedroom religiously. I spent all my money on beauty products. At 15, I joined a gym. After being branded attention seeking by my school friends for skipping meals, I challenged myself to not eat a thing for 7 days. Towards the end of the week, I sat in the bath and successfully ripped all of my weakened nails off, one by one.

My obsessions with food were never deemed dangerous and of course, I grew out of this extreme behaviour - but my preoccupation with the pursuit of perfection certainly didn't finish there. It continued to varying levels for years. 

A couple of years ago, I worked at a magazine that focused on tearing down women. As a feminist, I'm sure you're wondering why, and I can't give you a good answer. It made me sick - both physically and mentally. I spent hours interviewing women about their appearances, all the while despising mine more. I ate less and exercised more. I never allowed myself to have a day off, because that would be seen as failure both to myself and what society was telling me.

Eventually, I left the job and the battle with my appearance eased up. I read books like Mel Wells' The Goddess Revolution. My body started changing and the battle to make peace with it ensued. I started following bloggers of all different shapes, sizes and attitudes. In fact, it's only now that I'm beginning to accept myself for who I really am, and after nearly 15 years of working my ass off to look good, I'm starting to realise the absurdity of this. I realised that if societal beauty standards didn't exist, I'd probably look completely different. I'd have spent years enjoying sweet treats rather than turning them down on my quest to be deemed attractive by my peers. I could have spent all that time worrying about how thin I was educating myself and bettering myself in more fulfilling ways.

I work in fashion and I love it for many reasons; it has the ability to shape your mood, it allows you to represent who you are, and it can be really individual and creative. But one thing I would like to see change is the industry's preoccupation with beauty in such narrow forms. We come in so many exciting shapes and sizes, and we each have beautiful flaws that I want to see more of! Blogs and social media have done so much to change that, and now its the media playing catch-up to try to gain the same popularity. Perhaps they should have done this right from the start and all the women they tore down wouldn't be forming a legion against them now.

There are still days where I still struggle to let go of that feeling of always trying to improve, or to to overcome the guilt of actually being happy with my body. But on the whole, I'm slowly learning to accept and love it. My body may not be super skinny, nor super curvy, but I'm lucky to have it and I'm going to celebrate it wholeheartedly.

'Till next time,

Daisy xox


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