#EverydayLookism

Has a comment on how you look made you feel bad? Don't feel bad. Kick back.

Share your stories with the #everydaylookism campaign.

Share your story

Negative comments about other people's bodies matter. When we shame bodies, we shame people. These are lookist comments.  We no longer put up with sexist comments, we don't need to keep putting up with lookist comments. Sharing your lookism stories shows how common lookism is, it calls it out, it says it's not ok.

We post the #everydaylookism stories as they are submitted to us. However, we only post stories which are explicitly about lookism. We do not post stories about any other form of discrimination or anything not directly related to the campaign. Some find reading and posting #everydaylookism stories painful. If you feel you need support of any kind please visit the support page, which lists organisations and contacts who can help. Thank you for feeling able to share your stories with us.

Share it today, Stop it tomorrow

Body shaming is people shaming. Together we can stop it.

Do you think today’s beauty ideal is out of control?

Don’t feel bad, kick back against body-shaming comments.

FAQ

What is the #everydaylookism campaign?

The #everydaylookism campaign is modelled on the successful everyday sexism campaign. It is a social media campaign which shares stories of ‘lookism’ and body shaming. It aims to name lookism and say that negative comments about other people’s bodies are never acceptable.

To address discrimination we need to be able to recognise and name what is wrong. Before we named sexism, we might have found sexist behaviour – the cat call, or the pinch on the bottom – uncomfortable and humiliating, but it was difficult to call it out as wrong, or to say how harmful it was. ‘You should be flattered’, was the response, or ‘it’s only a bit of fun’. We all know that when it comes to sexism its not a bit of fun, we don’t put up with it, we call it out. We call it out in person, or in court or on social media with #metoo.

Sexism might not be over, but the shame is shifting. It shifts to the perpetrator. ‘You can’t say that’, ‘You should be ashamed to behave like that’ we say to the blatant sexist. It’s not ok in work, in public, and we have regulations to prevent it. We can begin to do the same with lookist comments. Right now we think lookist comments are normal, at school, at work and red circles in the media and social media, point out body flaws, body hair, cellulite, botched surgery and so on. But just because negative comments are normal and ordinary doesn’t mean we have to keep putting up with it. Racist and sexist comments and views were once normal, that didn’t make them ok. We can do the same with lookism. We can say it’s not ok, and we don’t want to live in a culture where people can say such hurtful things. Body shaming is always people shaming. Intention is irrelevant. Sexist comments are not ok, even if they were meant as compliments! Just as sexist comments belittle, humiliate and make us ashamed, so do lookist comments.

The #everydaylookism campaign aims to share your body shaming stories to show that this is not ok, we need to change. We don’t put up with sexist comments or racist comments, we don’t have to put up with lookist comments. Each story of shame, when shared becomes a push back against body shaming. Shame should attach to the perpetrator, the person who discriminates, who makes the comment. Together we can make this happen.

To read anonymous lookism stories or submit your own visit our website or Instagram page.

Read more about the campaign and how by tackling lookism together we can reduce the pressure to be perfect.

What research is the campaign based on?

The #everydaylookism campaign is based on the work of Professor Heather Widdows. In her latest book, Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal, Heather explores the radical transformation of the beauty ideal into an ethical ideal. Read more about Perfect Me Perfect Me, and read the first chapter. From this research came the view that we need a collective and communal approach to the epidemic of body image anxiety. It is not about what individuals do or do not do to their bodies – a theme Heather has explored in her objections to some aspects of the body positivity movement. It is hard for individuals to be resilient in the face of a dominant and powerful beauty ideal. Instead, we need to work together to make beauty culture kinder.

One small way to do this is to take a collective stand against lookism by joining the #everydaylookism campaign. Taking inspiration from the everyday sexism campaign, #everydaylookism asks us to anonymously share our stories to show just how damaging lookism is. Each story alone is one person’s painful experience, but together they are powerful.

The last chapter of Perfect Me is called "Beauty without the Beast." We want the connection, the pampering, the self-care. But we don’t want the shame, the feelings of failure, and the constant sense we’ll never do enough, never make the grade. Heather says the way to address the pressure is not to focus on what individuals do or don’t do. We shouldn’t blame people for ‘doing beauty’, or shame people when they don’t. This blames women, and stops us working together.

We should work together to change the culture and make things kinder, more diverse and more celebratory.

Why was the campaign founded?

The #everydaylookism campaign was launched in June 2019 at the annual Global Ethics Conference. In Professor Heather Widdows’ latest book, Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal, Heather makes four key arguments:

  1. First, that for very many of us beauty has become an ethical ideal. In this brave new world to fail to attain a ‘perfect’, ‘good enough’ or ‘normal’ body is to fail across the board. It is to be a failure.
  2. Second, that beauty ideal is more dominant than previous ideals and for the first time a global ideal is emerging. It is not simply a Western ideal and it is more dominant than ever before. Applying to more women, more of the time and increasingly to men.
  3. Third, under the beauty ideal we identify ourselves with our bodies. We locate ourselves in our current, flawed bodies, in our transforming bodies, which feel powerful and full of potential, and in our imagined perfect self.
  4. Fourth, the old arguments no longer work. We are not coerced to engage, but nor is this all about choice, as non-engagement is ‘not an option’. Nor is this gender exploitation – men too are engaging in body work and striving to conform to unrealistic appearance norms.
If we carry on regardless the future will be bleak indeed. We will be moving towards ever more modified bodies and unrealistic beauty ideals. We will feel like we are failing to make the appearance grade even more than we do now. But this is only one possible future. We can also be kinder to ourselves and to each other. Collectively we can make beauty culture kinder. This is what #everydaylookism seeks to do. 

What is lookism?

We have identified many themes within the anonymous stories we receive including weight, makeup and body hair, but these themes are not exhaustive. Any negative comments about the way we look are lookism. “You’re too fat/thin/tall/short/ugly/saggy/wobbly/spotty/not enough makeup/too much makeup” the list goes on.

Negative comments about other people's bodies matter. When we shame bodies, we shame people. These are lookist comments.  We no longer put up with sexist comments, we don't need to keep putting up with lookist comments. Sharing your lookism stories shows how common lookism is, it calls it out and it says it's not ok to body shame.

I have been affected by body shaming - where can I get support?

There is a wide range of support available from various organisations and charities.

Get involved

The Everyday Lookism campaign is an opportunity for us all to unite against body shaming. We all have an important role to play in changing the culture around bodies and there are many ways that you can get involved.

Have a story to share? Head to our website to read other anonymous stories and submit your own.

On Instagram? Follow us on Instagram and support our page. Search ‘body shaming’ in Instagram stories to use our ‘stop body shaming’ GIPHY sticker.

Enjoy photography? Email beauty@contacts.bham.ac.uk if you would like to receive some campaign stickers to help spread the word.

In Education? Teachers and parents can download our lesson pack suitable for pupils between Year 11 and Year 13. This contains a research project related to body image and will be suitable for those with interests in philosophy, history, art, English and drama.

Download the lesson pack

Media:

For media information or interviews, please contact: Hasan Salim Patel, Communications Manager (Arts, Law and Social Sciences) on +44 (0)121 415 8134 or contact the press office out of hours on +44 (0)7789 921 165.