Pressures to be Perfect and Addressing Lookism 

In the media

“... the extent to which beauty matters, defines meaning and identity, constructs the self, structures daily practices, and against which values are valued (or not), is not well recognised" (Heather Widdows, Perfect Me)

Below is a selection of Heather's popular media articles and appearances. She has been quoted in The Guardian and the New York Times, been interviewed by BBC Radio 4 and ABC Radio (Australia), and appeared on Netflix’s popular Vox documentary series “Explained”. Marie Cascione, Producer of "Explained", interviewed Heather for an episode on plastic surgery and said “Perfect Me has been integral in shaping my views on the topic”. To contact Heather, please visit her University of Birmingham staff profile.

TV & film 

Articles which quote Heather

Articles which quote Heather

Articles by Heather

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

Radio and podcastsEveryday lookism campaign logo of megaphone and the words stop body shaming

Selected public talks

  • ‘The politics of ugliness in a beauty obsessed world’ Panel discussion, Anti-Diet Riot Festival (January 2020)
  • ‘21st Century Body’ Panel discussion, Being Human Festival (November 2019)
  • ‘Perfect Bodies’, British Science Festival (September 2019)
  • 'Perfect Me', Swindon Spring Festival of Literature and the Arts (May 2019)
  • 'My body, my self?', Global Ethics Conference hosted by University of Birmingham (May 2019)
  • ‘Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal', Oxford Literary Festival (April 2019)
  • 'Perfect Me', Book to the Future Literature Festival, Birmingham (October 2018)
  • 'Perfect Me', Hay Festival of Ideas (May 2018)

Social media highlights

Screenshot showing engagements with the body-positivity campaign

Blogger and influencer features

Did you miss our MOOC?

Almost 2000 people across all five continents in the world enrolled onto the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Perfect Me: Understanding Beauty Ideals. Here is a breakdown of where they came from.

Perfect Me Mooc statistics
ContinentScale of engagement in that continentNumber of people who took the MOOC
Europe 36 countries 1056
Asia 41 countries 399
North America 10 countries 173
Africa 24 countries 165
Australia 2 countries 70
South America 9 countries 62
Unknown N/A 68
Total 122 countries 1993 people

Data gathered from FutureLearn and simplified by the Research Development team in the College of Arts and Law, University of Birmingham. Original data file available on request.