“As an athlete, I’ve grown to love my body. To me, my body represents strength, power, and hours of dedication. Thus, it’s frustrating how I consistently feel the need to hide my body because of the way that the female form has been hyper-sexualised by society.

“Sexuality is consistently, and pervasively, imposed upon women. From a very young age, we are taught that our bodies are something to be ashamed of. This objectification is rooted in how women are presented in the media, but is also exacerbated by every well-intentioned comment directed at a woman about ‘covering up’; every ‘she was asking for it’; and every snide remark made about the way another woman chooses to dress.

“For me, it manifests in constantly second-guessing the type of clothing I wear, feeling uncomfortable every time I walk into a gym full of men, and getting nervous when I walk through a dark street alone at night. For others, the consequences can, and have been, be more severe.

“I’m tired, and I know I’m not the only one.

“As a society we need to re-evaluate the manner in which we think about the female body, and truly, deeply, understand that the intrinsic value of the female body should not be tied to its sexuality.

“Women should be able to be proud of their bodies. Women should be respected regardless of how they choose to present their bodies, and, more importantly, women should be unashamed of their bodies.

“No woman should feel unsafe simply because of the skin we exist within.”

Photo credit: Harriet Evans and Oxford Skin Deep
Photo editing: Harriet Evans

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