Mental Health Awareness Week: Body Image Vulnerability


With Mental Health Awareness Week coming to an end, we wanted to round up what the team has been feeling about our bodies, how feelings of insecurity, shame and negativity have affected our self-esteem and sometimes our sex lives, and how we are planning on changing this up so that we can feel confident in our bodies!

girl confident in her body

Cat, Head Of Community

I had an eating disorder for most of my early twenties, equating being skinny to being sexy and have cried myself to sleep way too many times worrying about what men have thought about my body. Two years ago, a wonderful friend and photographer (Madison Araceli, who snapped this wonder!) approached me about doing a collaborative project together, and I felt strangely compelled to work on a series of images of myself that forced me to look at my body with love and compassion.

We called the series ‘Laid Bare’, and went about shooting me in the shed I was living in down in rural south Cornwall, pretty much naked. First of all I was shocked by my own fear of a friend seeing my boobs and my rolls of tummy fat, both of which I have always been ashamed of. It took a while for me to love this photo, but I’m more than ok with it now, because I know that my body isn’t defined by how sexy other people think I am.

✨One thing I’m practising to help me love my body more:

I am spending more time looking in the mirror at my naked body, and any time a negative thought comes in, killing it with kindness and reminding myself that those thoughts are not a real reflection of how I look or who I am!

woman taking seductive selfie

Billie, Co-Founder + CEO

It took me 45 mins to take this 'casual' selfie. My boyfriend at the time asked for a sexy pic. He'd seen me naked a thousand times. But I still had to pose and repose for almost an hour until I felt comfortable sending this sultry nude. An 'influencer' on Instagram said the trick to looking sexy was this:⠀
- Push your leg really far forward⠀
- Bend the knee and stand on tip toes to really elongate that leg⠀
- Arch your back and push your bum out for that Kimmy K look⠀

Sometimes I love my body, often I hate it and the rest of the time I try to accept it. If I'm having an off day I'll contort it into the most uncomfortable positions to try and make it skinnier. I do this during sex, when I take 'sexy' nudes and even when I'm lying in bed with the person I love and they've wrapped their arms around me.⠀

Every time I do this I'm so in my head about my image that I'm unable to be present in the moment and experience the pleasure. My journey building Ferly has been instrumental in shining a light on this and helping me get out of my head and into my body. I prefer pleasure over a flat tum!⠀

✨One thing I’m practising to help me love my body more:

Now I practice mindful sex - I bring awareness into the act. Instead of looking at my body rolls, I focus on my partner's smiling face. Instead of grimacing at my cellulite, I close my eyes and focus on my breath. Instead of moving his hands off my stomach, I focus on the sensation of his touch.

woman lifting weights

Anna, Co-Founder + CSO

For me, it's always been my arms. I would avoid wearing sleeveless tops and I hated being in photos because I was so self-conscious. I'd mimic that typical 'celeb-style' pose that plagues the 'real body' covers of Women's Health. You know the one. Face on, hands on hips, shoulders rolled forward, tummy tucked in, neck stuck out, chin angled downwards.

A few years ago, I reached a point where I'd had enough of trying to be 'skinny' and made the decision to be strong. I joined a competitive weight-lifting club, trained 6 days a week, and went from struggling on a 40kg squat to bossing 110. I felt the most powerful - mentally, physically, and emotionally - that I'd ever been. I stopped focusing on how my body looked to appreciating all the f*cking amazing things it can do. I gave myself permission to not just feel sexy, but to know I was.

During that same time, I remember having a conversation with one of my best friends. As chats between mates often do, it shifted to the 'body types' he found attractive and how he liked them for being 'feminine'. As I listened, all the aspects of my body that I had spent years training to build - my strength, my functionality, my power - suddenly became 'masculine'. As a womxn lifter, I was always accutely aware that I was exactly that: a _womxn_ lifter, not just a lifter. In an instant, my arms went from being 'not skinny enough' to 'too strong'.

I don't love my body. I'm not sure I'll ever love my body. What I am sure of though, is that I respect it. I have broken it, I have battered it, I have neglected it. I have pushed it to its absolute limits. And still, it keeps on.

I say f*ck what it means to be ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’. We don't live in a binary world. Your body is yours and yours alone; no one owns you other than you.

✨One thing I’m practising to help me love my body more:

I’ve taken out every item of clothing from my wardrobe that makes me feel bad about my body.


Lisa, Product Designer

Flat chested. Like an ironing board. Mosquito bites. My boobs have been called many things before they even showed up. I have been teased by other girls in the changing rooms and made fun of by boys during swimming lessons. For most of my teenage years I absolutely hated my breasts. Mostly for not being big enough and not showing up when I thought they should. I cried countless times because all the girls my age were buying cute bras and bikinis while I tried to hide my chest under wide t-shirts so that nobody could make out if I even had breasts or not. I felt inadequate and as if I was less of a woman. I hated my body for letting me down and for being late to the party. I felt let down and as if something was wrong with me. Why is everything happening so late for me? Will it ever happen? Am I broken? Will I ever even have a boyfriend if I don’t have boobs?

I thought about breast enlargement surgery countless times. I was going to have plastic surgery as soon as I turned 18 and had enough money. Thankfully I never made that a reality.

There was never a light bulb moment in which I suddenly realised that I am not defined by how one part of my body looks. It took years of work and undoing. I also got older and one of the wonderful side effects of that is that you just give less of a shit what other people think or say. I stopped comparing myself and found role models in women that were openly loving their small breasts.

Today I love the fact that I don’t have to wear a bra if I don’t feel like it. I love how they perfectly fit into the palms of my hands. I love their shape and how they feel. I love that the right one is slightly bigger than the left one. And it makes me laugh every time I pluck out the two dark little hairs around my nipples from time to time (anyone else got those?!)⠀

✨One thing I’m practising to help me love my body more:

The words we tell ourselves in our head are powerful. One little sentence that has helped me a lot is every time I see a woman I find beautiful – instead of comparing myself to her I consciously tell myself “She is beautiful and so am I.”