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body image

It’s a few days into January and a familiar, unwelcome feeling is looming in the back of my mind. It’s a specific type of dread, regret and panic all at the same time. I dare to glance at myself in the mirror beside my bed. This is a bad idea, but I force my eyes towards the reflection… I feel sick.

I thought I had come far this year. They say you gain confidence as you get older. That the latter part of your twenties herald a time when you no longer gasp at the sight of your own body. 2019 gave us movement and space to say no to the one-size-fits-all narrative we’d been fed since the beginning. I thought I was there. I was done with the self-criticism and had accepted my body for what it is: a body.

January 2020 has proven me wrong. Just like every January, I am in a state of disgust at my own body- and I’m not the only one.

This time of year is one of the worst for those struggling with their body image- and by ‘those’, I mean most people. We have let our guard down these past few weeks, clinging to the holiday season as an excuse to… to what? To pack on a few extra layers maybe? It’s been a cold winter to be fair. To change our relationship status with food from, ‘it’s complicated’ to ‘In love’ for five minutes? To take a break from punishing ourselves when we ‘lose control’?

Whatever way we toxically justify the winter weight gain, the question remains: why? Why do we do it?

Those of us who preach body positivity delight in the fat rolls of others but still cringe at our own. We are so proud of friends when they appear to achieve body acceptance. We would never use ‘fat’ as an insult… but we pull angrily at the rolls on our tummies and double chins when we see ourselves in the gaps between fog on the mirror.

Before I disappoint, I have not come up with an answer as to why we can’t achieve full-body acceptance. However, it would help if we all admitted to having days… or months when our membership to the body positive club was revoked temporarily. Being semi-okay with your own body is EXHAUSTING. It is so much easier to adore someone else’s being, body and mind.

Maybe simply achieving that is a steppingstone: to celebrate all bodies, but our own. This could eventually lead to a relationship with our earthly vessel that is deemed ‘not as complicated as before, but not yet perfect’.

So, this January, let us not to be so hard on ourselves if we are not yet OKAY with our outer shells. It is just as toxic to hate our thoughts as it is to hate our bodies. We cannot expect a year of Internet movement to undo a lifetime of damage done by unrealistic standards and fatphobic culture.  Cut your mind some slack… even if you can’t do the same for your body, just yet.

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Khloe Kardashian has been slated for promoting harmful flat tummy shakes. The mum stated that the shakes work to “get your tummy back to flat” in an ad on Twitter, but users were furious at the claims.

Women are already under enough pressure to lose weight as January comes with waves of gym adverts and diet recommendations. 

They make us feel guilty for indulging over Christmas and force women to view their bodies in the most negative way. We beat ourselves up over every ounce of fat, lump and bump because celebrities and influencers bombard us with ads like Khloe’s. 

Khloe’s ad is no different to the ludicrous suggestions that once January begins you must restrict yourself of food and spend hours and hours in the gym.

What you need to remember is that Khloe can afford a personal trainer, nutritionist and has access to the top cosmetic surgeons in the world if she desires to go down that road.

It is simply hard to believe that this millionaire is drinking a $50 shake that is basically just a laxative.

One Twitter user outlined the danger of using the shakes.

In response to Khloe’s tweet, they said: “Side effects may include: Permanent colon and bowel damage, IBS (not reversible), body dysmorphia, symptoms of eating disorders worsening, dehydration, unbalanced electrolytes – can cause death or hospitalization and self-hatred.”

This list alone is enough to prove that promoting this dangerous product is incredibly foolish of Khloe. 

Considering that the vast amount of her followers are young women, the reality star should be aware of the influence her actions have on them, however, she continues to fill their minds with outlandish notions about dieting and having a flat stomach.

As one Twitter user simply stated, “You’re perfect the way you are without some laxative tea making you sick.”

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This Christmas has been a hectic one for sure. I noticed this because, for the first time in a long time, my inner critic was silent. I was literally too busy, too overwhelmed with emotions and too tired to hear her.

You know to whom I am referring. That bi**h who never stops commenting on your appearance. Who never shuts up about your life choices or relationship problems. They might embody the voice of a twisted society, an unsupportive family member or a toxic partner.

Whoever they are, their voice is loud and lingers at the forefront of our thoughts most of the time. 

Owing to its usual omnipresence, I was surprised that this year’s festivities had silenced the voice for the first time. I was relieved and relaxed for a few blissful days… Until she was woken again by a Facebook post. And shook awake by an ad on the TV and poked into aggravation by a stray comment.

Two dreaded words brought her back to life stronger than ever: weight loss.

To say that we are bombarded with diet culture this time of year is an understatement. The worst part is that we buy into it every year.

 

Every single January you hear and read about other women's plans to lose weight for the new year. Every year we devote time and energy into caring about this thing that, according to society, defines us as people. As females. As partners

 

No matter how little you cared about your appearance, the world will force you to think about it the moment a new year arrived. Are my thighs too big? Could I lose some weight? Is my tummy rounder than hers?

Last year, like many women, I spent yet another January on the weight loss train- it was a sickly ride full of relapses and self-hate. The “healthier” I was on the outside, the less healthy I became on the inside. Sound familiar?

 

So, this January, before you get sucked in by the motivational ads and the motivational outfit you buy in the sale ask yourself one question: Do I exist to lose weight? The answer is always no. If your past attempts to lose weight have been toxic in nature, wave at that train as it passes by this New Year. 

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Being body confident isn’t something that comes easy for most of us. Many of us have something we dislike about ourselves whether it’s our frizzy hair or the extra bit of weight we carry on our tummy.

The last thing you need is someone pointing out these insecurities. One woman was beyond upset when she discovered that her partner’s friends had been mocking her over her weight in a private group chat.

She explained to Mumsnet that her partner had asked her to check his phone to see if his mum had texted, but when she clicked into the home screen, notifications popped up from his friends.

They fat-shamed the woman and even called her a whale. She wrote: “His group chat popped up-saying I must crush DP when we have sex, and that they can't believe he'd go out with me- must be ashamed etc.”

The woman, who is a size 14/16, said she has struggled with weight most of her life. She confronted her boyfriend about the messages but he said his friends were just messing and he then warned his friends to stop.

She continued: “I did send them a message when it happened saying how hurtful it was, and that I've only ever been nice to them. They replied with a half-arsed ‘sorry, it was only a joke.'”

The comments have stopped the woman from socialising with her partner’s friends, “He said that they're sorry, and that it's just 'lad banter' which in my eyes makes it even viler, and that I can't be upset as I was never meant to see it.”

Despite her partner’s efforts, he said he cannot control what his friends say. The issue is now causing major tension between the woman and her partner.

The woman explained that they have a wonderful relationship, but she is now thinking about ending things because her partner was really weak regarding sticking up for her.

What would you do?

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We've all noticed how Love Island has produced some pretty unrealistic body standards, but most of the time our focus is on the women.

Each woman on the show is noticeably slim, and young girls have low self-esteem issues as it is without seeing the exact same physique on every TV channel.

What the focus hasn't always been on is the problem with muscular men and the lack of 'dad bods' in sight. The reality show is now being blamed for giving young boys body image issues too.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Love Island (@loveisland) on

Stereotypically 'perfect' bodies on the show has led many to feel that only this type of body will be able to find love, or even lust. It's a hugely damaging notion that's being perpetuated/

According to analysts from the Children’s Society, boys are catching up with girls in the numbers of them suffering from low confidence and self-esteem.

Its annual 'Good Childhood' report revealed that over 200,000 children in the UK alone are unhappy with their lives as a whole, with looks playing a large role in their moods.

Shockingly, one-in-12 boys aged 10 to 15 are unhappy with their appearance.

Richard Crellin, policy and research manager in mental health and wellbeing at the Children’s Society, told The Times:

"They talked a lot about the pressure to go the gym and have a great body. They talked about the men they see on social media and Love Island … about how people are always working out on that show."

One teen in the report said he felt pressure to live up to the built men he watched on TV "You see all these models, you see all these weightlifters, body-builders, and you look at yourself and you're like, 'I look like a stick.'

"I feel like we’re exposed to a lot more so we are less secure about our appearance."

Image: ITV/REX

Love Island bosses vetoed having plus-sized Islanders, causing frustration among fans and body activists alike.

Speaking to The Sun, the show's boss Richard Cowles said: “We try and be as representative and diverse as possible but first and foremost it’s an entertainment show.

"It’s about people wanting to watch and them reacting and falling in love with another. Yes, we want to be as representative as possible but we also want them to be attracted to one another."

This basically implies that plus-sized people won't attract any other contestants, so that comment didn't exactly go down well…

Feature image: ITV/REX

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A new study by eating disorder charity Beat suggests that dating app users are "more likely to have unhealthy attitudes to weight".

Those who use dating apps might be at a higher risk of controlling their weight through laxative use, fasting and vomiting, according to the research.

The American study is based on a survey of 1,700 adults. Beat stated that dating app users at risk of these habits needed to be offered support in order to reduce the risk of bad weight management habits developing.

Apps like OkCupid, Grindr, Tinder and Bumble have grown massively in popularity over the last couple of years, with men and women hoping to find romantic and sexual partners through swiping.

Physical appearance is one of the main attributes which dating app users evaluate when searching for a potential partner, with emphasis placed firmly on a person's image. 

The study was published in the Journal of Eating Disorders, with researchers comparing the behaviour of those who used dating apps versus those who didn't.

Dating app users apparently have higher odds of engaging in six core unhealthy habits to control weight; vomiting, using laxatives, diet pills, using muscle-building supplements and anabolic steroids.

183 women and 209 men out of the 1,726 people surveyed claimed they used dating apps. Roughly half of men and women admitted to fasting in order to control their weight. 

One-in-three men in that group and one-in-five women said they would vomit to control their calorie count. 40 percent of men and one-in-four women claimed to use laxatives…yikes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by  (@bumble_uk) on

The research also showed that men who used dating apps were more likely to use steroids and supplements to build up muscle, which isn't surprising considering the six-packs constantly displayed on reality shows like Love Island.

The lead author of the study from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Dr Alvin Tran, said they found higher rates of unhealthy behaviours among ethnic minorities, interestingly.

"While we do not know if the people in our study were already engaging in these weight control behaviours before using dating apps, we worry that the use of these image and appearance-focused services could exacerbate those behaviours."

He continued;

"With the tremendous growth in dating app usage in the US, and an increasing number of studies linking their use to body image concerns and unhealthy weight control behaviours, there is a need to further understand how dating apps influence health behaviours and outcomes."

Tom Quinn, director external affairs at Beat, said they welcome studies which can help to identify triggers of eating disorders.

"Not everyone who uses unhealthy weight control behaviours will have an eating disorder, nor will they get one, but such behaviours can contribute to the development of the illnesses for people who are already vulnerable and can prevent recovery for those who are ill."

He added; "It is important to note that this research does not prove a causal link between dating apps and unhealthy weight control behaviours. 

"Nevertheless, it is important that dating app users who may be at risk of eating disorders are directed to sources of support."

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Anyone who fat-shames Love Island-ers should be locked in a room with Lizzo twerking to Juice on repeat until they have learned their lesson…

Yas Dancing GIF by Hustlers

Here’s why:

Each and every one of us has experienced body-shaming at some point in our lives. Any of us who have been fat will have come across a myriad of imaginative insults that tell us it is wrong to take up more than our fair share of space.

However, if contestants of a show made for GORGEOUS people are getting shamed for taking up some extra space, there is no hope for the rest of us.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Love Island (@loveisland) on

Unusually, the person at whom most the shaming was directed was a man. Curtis Pritchard is an elite ballroom dancer who spends 90 percent of his life training. He entered the villa with physical evidence of this. He left it- 8 weeks later- with physical evidence of BEING ON HOLIDAY. Let’s be clear. No one, not even people pleasing Curtis, owes us an explanation or excuse for putting on weight.

Actually, the fact that he chose to let loose and enjoy himself on his holibops comes close to redeeming the questionable qualities he has as a person. He's normal. He's a human and his abs are not his sole reason for existing.

The 23-year-old has had to discuss his weight to the public as a result of the absurd media attention given to his calorie count, despite the emphasis on mental health issues as a result of reality television. It's often the exact same culprits who critique the islanders on their appearance that end up lamenting the suicide of a contestant or expressing empathy for a former star who has run into problems with depression or anxiety as a result of fame. The hypocrisy is honestly astounding.

The star shared his thoughts on the trolls in an interview when he came out of the villa; "'I’m not going to lie – I probably gained a couple of pounds. I won’t deny that at all, but I enjoyed it, that’s the thing. It’s the first time I’ve just been myself. All the other lads were in incredible shape, I like to go up and down. When I’m dancing I’m up, when I’m enjoying myself I like to eat food." The buoying of somebody's weight is by no means uncommon, and it's brave of him to open up about his body when there was no need to do so. Frankly, the interviewer who brought up the public trolling about his 'gut' was being irresponsible by doing so.

The ITV show released a statement about cruelty online. Speaking to the Mirror Onlinea spokesperson said: "It is incredibly irresponsible that any Islander would be body-shamed in this way and we would always discourage anyone from making appearance-based comments that could be hurtful to the islanders and their families. It is astonishing that there have been calls for body diversity yet an islander who has allegedly put on weight is now being trolled because of it." They're not wrong. The polarising nature of the show has led to a mixture of both criticism and abuse online, and it's not under enough control. Vitally, an increase in aftercare and fame training has occurred this year in order to protect the finalists from the onslaught of attention and career opportunities that are coming their way.

Like Maura, we think Curtis’s tum is fab. Body positivity often comes from a female perspective, simply because women's bodies tend to be scrutinised more. However, that does not mean that lads won't benefit mentally from seeing a tummy (yes that's how low the expectation is) on national television. It is refreshing to see guys fluctuate in weight. We all know it happens because that’s life, but we rarely see this kind of thing on a show as influential as Love Island.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Curtis Pritchard (@curtispritchard12) on

It’s also important to remember that many boys as young as 12 watched the show religiously as it ran over 8 weeks. Boys who are normally bombarded with images of ripped bods in a world where many are resorting to using substances to achieve this very specific look. Curtis and the other men in Love Island may unwittingly be doing society a favour by showing us the reality of having a normal human body that changes constantly.

Curtis received some extra trolling for his ‘camp’ mannerisms. His sexual orientation was questioned repeatedly by online bullies. These may or may not be linked, but it sure shows that the way a person chooses to carry themselves physically garners far more attention than their personality traits. For us, his silly advice and general two-faced-ness was an issue. His tum and flamboyant ways were nothing but refreshing in a world where you are criticised for simply being yourself.

Feature image: Instagram/@curtispritchard12

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Little Mix singer Jesy Nelson has emotionally opened up about her body positivity journey to her Instagram followers, describing how she saw herself as the 'fat one from Little Mix'.

The musician won The X Factor in 2011 with the girl group, and has recently filmed a new documentary exploring body image and mental health for BBC One and BBC Three.

The 28-year-old explained to her 5.4 million followers on social media that she wanted to 'erase' her former self 'from my mind and everyone else's memory' until only six months ago.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @jesynelson on

The caption reads; "Six months ago this girl was someone I just wanted to forget. I wanted to erase her from my mind and everyone else’s memory. I didn’t see her as Jesy I saw her as “the fat one from Little Mix”.

"Up until now I hated her not because she’d ever done anything bad but because I was made to hate her by endless amounts of trolling. Since filming my documentary for @bbcone and @bbcthree I’ve learned so much more than I ever expected to," the singer continued.

"Thanks to all the inspirational people I’ve met on this emotional journey, I now love the girl in this photo. I’ve made this documentary for 2011 Jesy and for anyone who might be feeling like she did. I refused to speak about how I was feeling for so long."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @jesynelson on

The Little Mix star, who is loved up with her reality tv star boyfriend Chris Hughes, encouraged her followers to open up about their body image struggles and get mental health assistance if needed;

"I was embarrassed and scared to. But I was so wrong to feel that way. Please if you are feeling how I did, SPEAK ABOUT IT. Talk to your family, speak to your friends, there’s always help out there," she added.

"If you’d have told that girl one day you won’t feel sad anymore, I’d never have believed you….and here I am. Now when I look in the mirror, I don’t see Jesy the fat one, I see Jesy the happy one."

Feature image: Instagram/@jesynelson

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We can all acknowledge that Love Island can have a damaging effect on our mental health.

For one, we arguably lose a few brain cells any time we binge a series of it, but also the lack of diversity in the show is stark.

From racial issues to ridiculously high beauty standards and zero plus-size contestants, it can all be a bit draining.

A new poll conducted by professional marketplace Bidvine has now revealed that four-in-five people feel insecure when they watch the ITV2 hit reality show.

Let's face it, the show depicts scantily-clad stunners in bikinis and swimwear all day looking gorgeous, and rarely ever shows them eating.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Love Island (@loveisland) on

Presumably, there was pressure from producers and the show's bosses on the Islanders to maintain a certain weight and look when they entered the villa, which implies that finding love is purely for super skinny, athletic, bronzed beauties.

From an audience perspective, the show is as far from reality as it can get. 

The Bidvine poll also showed that one in eight respondents claimed they had looked up plastic surgery costs whilst watching Love Island.

73 percent said that they felt insecure about their body and 55 percent said the same about their face.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Love Island (@loveisland) on

53 percent of the programme's fans also said that they had looked up personal training costs, and 47 percent had searched for nutritionist services.

"Seeing chiselled bodies on Love Island and the summer months approaching, it is amazing to see how many people are seeking out fitness professionals,’ said Russ Morgan, Co-Founder of Bidvine.

Morgan warned that pursuing a healthy lifestyle needs to be done for the correct reasons, and not for body image issues.

Russ also elaborated on the value of seeing your own unqiue beauty;

"Don’t let a television show dictate how people “should” look and don’t work towards that unrealistic standard. Instead, pursue a healthy lifestyle and be confident in knowing that everyone is beautiful."

Since the show began on June 3, there has been a shocking 38 percent increase in personal training bookings through the professional marketplace and a 22 percent increase in nutritionist bookings.

The show's bosses caused outraged when quizzed on their lack of body diversity, after which they claimed the reason is because they "want people to be attracted to each other."

People of any look, race, gender or weight are attractive, there is no one standard of the perfect beauty ideal and the show is causing toxicity.

Make sure to take care of your mental health and be aware of how damaging insecure emotions can be as you focus on fitness. F*ck the 'summer bod' trope.

Feature image; Love Island/ITV

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It would take something monumental to force us to give up drink for a full six months, if we're being honest. That cheeky glass of wine on the couch watching Love Island is simply a must.

One of the islanders, Lucie Donlan, has revealed that she gave up drinking alcohol for six months before entering the villa to be at her healthiest when the show began.

The Newquay surfer opened up about the lengths she went to in order to feel her best. In scenes aired on Love Island's Extra Bits, Lucie said: "I haven't had a drink since New Years Eve." We gasped.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Lucie Rose Donlan (@lucierosedonlan) on

The 21-year-old has already caught the eyes of Tommy Fury, Joe Garratt and Anton Danyluk since entering the Majorcan set, and is coupled up with Joe for the moment.

In a candid chat with the girls, she admitted that she underwent a dramatic diet change in order to feel her best.

The reality star has been spotted nursing a drink in her hand since the show has aired, so it appears she's lifted her own ban.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Lucie Rose Donlan (@lucierosedonlan) on

It's likely that the health kick was to look her best for the ITV2 series, which emphasises looks and body image to a slightly alarming point.

Lucie dropped from a size 12 to a size 6 in under a year to make it as a professional model.

Lucie told The Mirror: "I used to be much bigger than I was now. When I was surf coaching when I was younger I was so much bigger and then I realised it wasn't healthy for me."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Lucie Rose Donlan (@lucierosedonlan) on

She changed her lifestyle completely for both her health and her image;

"I started eating much healthier and doing lots of cross fit with my trainer at home. I just carried that on just maintaining it," she explained.

"I did lots of surfing three times a week in a gym. I don't drink or smoke. I was probably about a size 12 and now I am a six to an eight. I was pushing on 11 stone. I wasn’t massive but it just wasn’t healthy."

Something must have worked, because she's been a successful fitness model ever since. We love a pint too much to ever try this though…

Feature image: Instagram/@lucierosedonlan

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Feeling shame can impact negatively on women’s wellbeing, confidence and mental health. A new survey conducted by St. Tropez, has found that shaming can be a very real part of Irish women’s day-to-day life. In Ireland, tanning is commonplace, with 1 in 5 women wearing tan daily and almost half (44%) revealing they’d wear it to dinner.

Yet despite being the biggest tanning region of Great Britain with 65% of Irish women using self-tan vs 45% in the North of England (the UK region with the most number of self-tan wearers),  why are so many shaming? Who is doing it and why?

55% of Irish women admit to judging their fellow females for wearing a sunless tan with 7 out of 10 (68%) women in Limerick admitting to having judged other women who use self-tan specifically compared to just over a half (54%) of women in Dublin.

58% of women who have experienced judging looks and insults say that their confidence was seriously knocked, they went straight home, and they did not wish to leave the house. Whilst 70% of the women surveyed admit a badly applied tan is the number 1 reason they judge another’s appearance.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by St.Tropez (@sttropeztan) on

Shocking. In an age where positive body confidence messages are high on the agenda in schools, the workplace and from consumer brands – it appears that its women who need to start supporting the cause.

But, in-spite-of the stigmas, the survey revealed that the top two reasons for Irish women proudly wearing fake tan are to make them feel confident and look well with 41% citing confidence in particular. In addition, having a post-holiday tan is a confidence booster for 27% of Irish women, which also suggests that golden glowing skin inspires us to feel our best and on top of our game.

These insights have led St. Tropez to boldly address the stigmas surrounding self-tanning head-on, with a motivational campaign entitled You Set the Tone which aims to highlight that tanning is more about how you feel than how you look and a goal of empowering women to feel more confident, every day. Launching on the 10th April, the campaign aims to put the Self back in self-tan and has the support of Philanthropist and Charity Founder, Katie Piper, as well as an army of brand fans.

Katie said, “I’m backing St. Tropez’s You Set the Tone campaign as it’s vitally important for women to feel confident in their own skin and with their own bodies, and if a beauty product or regime can help them achieve this, it can only be positive.

Every woman has an individual reason for how they wear their make-up or hair and it’s no different with self-tan. Tanning doesn’t just add colour, it can also help to even out skin tone, cover up pigmentation or redness, allow you to wear less make up or go without heavy foundations.

The survey findings show that us women need to be supporting and celebrating each other and finding ways to improve our self-esteem and ultimately, our mental wellbeing”

St. Tropez is pledging to give women across Ireland the tools to feel confident, look glowing and make tan-shaming for bad application a thing of the past with game-changing developments. New St. Tropez Purity Bronzing Water Gel, which sold out within hours of its official launch in February, is a one of a kind innovation that means no-streaks, no-transfer, no-stickiness and no-fake tan smell, and 88% of users agree.

Enough of the judgement! St. Tropez boldly empowers women to set their own tone.

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During her time in the Love Island villa, Megan Barton-Hanson was judged for many things – her attitude to romance, her choice to have plastic surgery and her on-point style were just a few. 

However, nothing drew more judgement than the revelation that she had once worked as a stripper and the fact that she had sex in the Love Island house on camera – two things which speak to the discrimination women who enjoy their sexuality still face. 

Since exiting the villa, Megan has become a vocal spokesperson for gender equality and personal sexual empowerment – championing women to embrace their power and be unashamedly themselves.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Megan Barton-Hanson (@meganbartonhanson_) on

'We are no different than men. Why should women get penalised for saying they like to have sex?' she told SHEmazing, who chatted to Megan about her new role as an ambassador for PrettyLittleThing – a role that is exceptionally fitting, with Megan and the brand's attitudes to self-empowerment and individualism harmonising perfectly.  

'Why if you dress in a certain way you get penalised? Why if you're in a certain industry you get put down for that? I don't see why for men, it's applauded and they're praised for going out and getting a load of girls and have sex on TV, but if you're a girl, it's like everyone is in shock.'

'Especially the fact that I slept with not one but two guys on Love Island, people can't get over it, it was groundbreaking. But I don't see why its like that Adam (Collard) did exactly the same and he didn't get half the stick I did for it. '

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Megan Barton-Hanson (@meganbartonhanson_) on

When discussing her female role models in this space, the model cited vocal women like Amy Schumer and Amber Rose – who faced serious slut shaming at the hands of her ex-boyfriend Kanye West when he said ' I had to take 30 showers before I got with Kim,' following his relationship with Amber – literally implying that she was dirty. 

'I think its time to move on and I think the more people like me who are in the public eye to say that there is nothing wrong with it, people like Amber Rose and Amy Schumer, the more girls will be open about it and honest, I think the more accepted it will be,' Megan said. 

'I think it's really old fashioned to look at it as women need to be virginal.'

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Megan Barton-Hanson (@meganbartonhanson_) on

Megan revealed that she receives countless messages from women and girls who are facing bullying based on sexuality and slut shaming in their personal lives.

'Loads of girls DM me about similar things. Obviously it hurts when someone is negative towards you – it's taken me years to just own it and say 'do you know what, there's nothing I can do, this is just me and why should I feel bad that I have a high sex drive.' 

'Im not ashamed of it, I'm not ashamed that I was a stripper. The first thing is, you have to accept yourself amd not care what anyone else says.'

Megan has always been open about her journey to self acceptance – despite being an exceptionally confident and empowering woman, she faced hardships like anyone else. 

'It was difficult. My whole school life I was put down, bullied, for having different boyfriends and stuff like that, and then in my area I started dancing and everyone was like 'oh my God, I can't believe Megan's done that.'

'It was a journey and it wasn't easy but I think with age you just grow in confidence and learn to accept yourself.'

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Megan Barton-Hanson (@meganbartonhanson_) on

When it comes to personal style, Megan is known for her on-trend medley of high glam and street wear – with feminist slogan t-shirts being mixed and matched with curve-skimming dresses and edgy jumpsuits. 

Her advice to anyone who wants to be more experimental with their personal style? 'I think you shouldn't take fashion so seriously, dress how YOU want to dress, don't worry about what other people are saying as long as you're happy.'

'I think people just take it too seriously, especially with social media, there are always pictures of what you have worn to this event and that (event), but it doesn't need to be so serious,'

'If one day you want to war a short body-con dress, do that if the next day you want to dress in street style like baggy combat trousers, do that,' she continued.

'Just embrace your body, everyone has got different shapes and sizes so just do you.'

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Megan Barton-Hanson (@meganbartonhanson_) on

The Love Island stars get a bit of slack for being fairly prolific with the sponsored Instagram posts – but Megan's social media is noticeably devoid of sponsorships. 

Megan revealed that this was a choice of hers, as she didn't want to champion every brand which came her way as a gesture of authenticity to her audience.

'I felt like I had a responsibility, because a lot of people who watch Love Island are younger girls and they don't have loads of money, so I didn't want to put my name to everything just for the sake of me getting paid and advertising things I didn't believe in.'

'PrettyLittleThing really is a brand that I really do believe in, and I love the fact that they cater for all different shapes and sizes, it's affordable, it's on trend, and it's always been a brand I've loved.'

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