How did your environment affect your body image?

I’m curious and I’d like to have a better perspective of how other people’s environments affected how they viewed themselves, their sexuality and their views on clothing etc for one of the characters in my story.

So, I know as an that going to an all girls catholic school heavily influenced my body imaging as I grew up being taught about it from conserved teachers. I was taught (mostly in school) that our dresses should cover our knees, that we shouldn’t show our shoulders or other “unnecessary” body parts and that we shouldn’t wear tight clothing. I was taught to be a strong woman, but also to be ashamed to my body, which in all honesty was quite ridiculous. Sexuality was (and is) highly discouraged and my school (not including most students) is against any gender not considered straight, which was awkward considering I came out as bisexual last year.

(Oh just to add on, I completely disagree with everything mentioned above. You should proud of your body and show as little or as much as you’d like, because your body is yours and yours only :revolving_hearts:)

Basically I’m just curious what other people’s experiences regarding this topic were like. How did your culture, religion, schooling etc. affect your views body image and sexuality?


I’ve always been allowed to express my self and like what ever gender I want (even though I’m still straight, but I do support anyones sexuality) I wear clothes shorter than my knees I wear strapless stuff. I believe you should be allowed to do, wear, like what ever you want.


What an interesting question! My school don’t have that strict rules like you had and I’m very grateful for that.
But I think we still judge people based on their clothes, maybe their favorite music? And personally I think you should get to know a person before you judge them. But I also think that if you grow up in an environment where people don’t accept people who for example isn’t straight or likes to wear short clothes, I think you will have it harder. If you are for example bisexual because you, or if not you people you know and maybe care about dosen’t accept it.

And about body image I personally get very affected about what I see in social media.

-I’m sorry if anything i have written confuses you, my first language is not english, but just so you know i’m happy that you came out and I wish you the best :sparkling_heart:



I come from a very religious Muslim family, I guess I was taught to be close to God and wasn’t taught to question my identity. All though I am Theist and heavenly religious I understand how it can oppress others from exploring their own thoughts.

I’m not allowed any fizzy drinks, only water. I’m glad, since I’ve never had a cavity.


Haha thank you! And thanks for adding on! Social media is also a huge factor in body imaging in general for males and females.


I grew up here in Los Angeles, and my mother isn’t very heavy on religion, although she does have religious beliefs. She always dressed me up in flashy clothing, and added accessories (my baby pictures are adorable), but when I started choosing my own clothes, and picking out clothing at shops, she never really questioned it, and just went with the flow. And well… the people around me have never influenced my look? I’ve always done what feels right.

As for sexuality, I have come across some homophobic people, and for a short time even had them as friends. My mother never sported any homophobia around me, and never told me it was wrong, because she doesn’t feel that way. I made a ton of lgbtq+ friends when I got into highschool and they really introduced me to different sexualites, and some months ago I started exploring my own sexuality. I came out as bisexual not too long ago, and my mother supports me, which I’m so grateful for. I have had a few slandering comments on my sexuality, and I’ve had to cut ties with some people who shame me for it, but overall nothing too bad came of it, and I’ve since met some amazing people.

When it comes to self image, I started doubting my looks early on, in about 6-7th grade while I was being picked on, and I wasn’t accepted by kids at my school. It was rough around that time, as I had recently lost my dad, and some kids weren’t very nice about it, joked about it, and weren’t welcoming in general. They’d also tell me I was ugly, I dressed weird, and lots of rude things. In middle school, I lost contact with my only friend at the time, which made me immediately think that something was wrong with me, and I started doubting my self image. To this day it’s very hard for me to appreciate my looks, but I’ve been a lot more self confident, recently, thanks to my friends, family, and my boyfriend. :blush:

Religion was never forced on me, and my mom wasn’t really big on church services, so I eventually strayed away from that, and I am not religious today.

In a nutshell

Nothing was ever really forced on me and I grew up in a mostly-accepting, and lenient environment and I’ve always been able to express myself freely.


I’m glad that you found yourself eventually and really happy that you had people who were there for you! I loved your reply and thanks for sharing xx


I can absolutely relate on this point! I’m really happy that you made it through such rough (what an understatement) patch in your life and thank you for sharing the story x

I really loved your response to this :heartpulse: I want to ask one or two questions in PM if you wouldn’t mind?

Thank you for your kind words! And yes, I’d be open to talking into PM. :heart:

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Well, my mom has always taught me that I am great the way I am. Body image wise, I’ve only had a brief moment of wanting to be taller and not so skinny, but of course, that didn’t happen and I accepted it. I also really wanted to be darker like my mom, which is kind of the opposite for other black girls here in America.

I mostly wore thrift clothes, and kids made fun of me for that. I felt " uncool" and would beg my mom to buy Aeropostale or some other brand at the time. She of course said no, and I eventually embraced thrifted clothes. I think it also helps that more people are interested in thrifting.

Sexuality was never a problem. My mom and I would watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. Plus, being a child of the Internet, I found so much info on being LGBT+. I don’t particularly need to identify with anything, I just like who I like🤷 I’m just thankful that my family is super supportive.

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I’m really lucky to have grown up in such an accepting community. My public school system has always been really big on freedom of religion, sexuality, body type, etc. Unfortunately, even in such an amazing place, I’ve struggled with body image.

I remember the very first time I started to feel insecure about my body was in eighth grade. I was in a play and the lady doing costumes was taking measurements, and she had these two other students helping her. We had to tell them our hight and weight, and when I told them my weight, they laughed. In that moment, I was able to brush it off, but it still really affected me. Even as I got older, no one directly said anything about my weight, but all my friends were athletic and slim and I wasn’t. I was always the biggest out of everyone (I still wasn’t even that big anyway) but it always made me feel bad about myself. Over the years I just started feeling worse and worse, and it was all in my head too, but I couldn’t help it. It’s a little better now, but I still struggle with it.

For clothes, my school had a dress code, but they never really enforced it, so people just wore what they wanted. I always wanted to wear tight shirts and crop tops and cute shorts like everyone else, but I always tended to wear looser, longer clothes to conceal my “fat” which also kind of backfired anyway because it made me look bigger than I was.

LGBT acceptance was great though. There are gay, bi, trans, and more in my community, some of which are my friends and I’ve gotten to watch transition and become more comfortable with themselves. I don’t really know what I am and I don’t really care, and that’s okay too. I know I’m a girl, I may like guys, I may like girls, I may like something in between, and that’s accepted.

In summary, my community was amazing, all my problems came from my own head :sweat_smile:

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Wow, I’m really happy that you had good experiences with your community, and it sounds like they enforced a lot of important, great beliefs. Unfortunately, even within amazing communities, insensitive, mean people will exist. I’m so sorry that those people laughed at you, especially since they had no right to do something as rude as that. It really saddens me to hear that. I’m glad that you feel a little better about yourself, and I hope that your thoughts of yourself continue improving. I hope you know that you’re valuable and of great worth, and no one can take that away from you.

Ooh, I kinda wish that my high school hadn’t enforced their dress code or at least been so strict with our clothing. :joy: But I should be grateful we didn’t have to wear scratchy uniforms (like I did in my old elementary school, ugh).

Thanks for sharing your personal experiences. I don’t like hearing that people struggle with their body image, and I wish they didn’t, but I admit that reading others’ stories helps me feel more connected and not alone with my problems.


It’s subliminal messaging, though. Yes, society and media is not directly saying “you need to be thin to be beautiful” but that doesn’t mean they aren’t indirectly saying that. I remember watching a show and a commercial came on every commercial break for this treatment that freezes off fat cells from your stomach to make you look thinner, and the woman they were using wasn’t even remotely fat!

Also, when you’re not thin (me) and all you can see are people with smaller figures, it makes you feel different. When I go out with friends, they’re all thin or at least not fat. When I watch shows, the only characters that are bigger are there for comic relief, their character traits are that they’re fat, nothing else. Heck, the Episode character body type is a woman with nice boobs, a nice butt, and a flat stomach.

Say what you want. As someone who came from a family with really slow metabolism and is not thin at all and has to constantly see people who aren’t like me hurts a lot, and it does a lot subconsciously.


I can relate to the brand thing. It’s not that anyone openly says anything, but you sort of just become the one tat no one talks to or spends time with.

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It’s literally so heartwarming knowing you (and others) have such accepting communities.
That kind of love and acceptance is something everyone deserves and I’m glad most of you received exactly what you deserved :sparkling_heart:

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I was forbidden by my mum to wear anything other than pinafores in school. Yes. Pinafores. Up to Year 6 (11 yrs old). My pinafore went to my knees, any shorter would get me a telling off. From my mum, not school :joy: Cardigan had to be buttoned up. Charcoal grey tights with black leather shoes, no patent. In the summer, a checkered blue-white dress, white knee socks. Same shoes. I got bullied 's well, just for how I looked, so that affected my body image greatly and is one of the contributors to my anorexia and body dysmorphia.

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I think this is the response that I can most closely relate to - if you ever need to talk my pms are always open :ok_woman:

I’m quite positive and happy about my body. Secretly, I think I’m really good looking and dance in my bedroom (but I don’t like telling everyone about that). I came from a really normal family and lived in a normal street with no other kids (probably why I never related to kids my age) so I was really boring. I’ve always loved chocolate and cake. Yum!

I’m straight but I don’t want to marry or have a boyfriend. Anime is better. I despise sex and I’m single and live on my own.

I prefer dressing modestly (I don’t like showing off unnecessary parts) and I pretty much wear whatever I want.


I live in an African Muslim house so it’s different. For years I’ve been going to schools with uniform policies. Most of the time I’m allowed to wear most clothing. I can’t wear shorts to school in the summer, I have to wear capris. Basically, I have to dress modestly.

As for sexuality, generally I don’t think my family supports LGBT+. I do, however. Love who you want. People have thought of me as a lesbian simply because I never had a boyfriend. Which is weird.

Body image… I absolutely hate the way I look in general, and I guess I could say I hate myself. I have huge problems with perfectionism. I think of myself as ugly because I can never fit anyone’s standards. My hair is messy and nappy, light brown, and my face is an oval. I have golden tan skin. I have braces, and freckles. By America’s standards, I am ugly. People tell me otherwise, always, but it’s not true.

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