'Last week, a Hollywood actress spoke about her biggest insecurity. Never have I felt so seen.'

Insecurities - we all have them. But when we see someone like, say a beautiful, glamorous Hollywood actress, opening up about theirs - it stops us in our tracks.

Last week, 27-year-old Lili Reinhart shared an insecurity of hers on Twitter.

"I wish there were more average-sized arms represented in mainstream media for women," the Riverdale actress wrote.

"My body dysmorphia has been going crazy because I feel like my arms need to be half the size they are currently.

"We’ve glamorised these skinny arms that, for most of us, can only be achieved if you’re a literal adolescent."

I couldn’t help but think, ‘How does Lili Reinhart, one of the most beautiful women in the world, have any sort of insecurity?’ And then I remembered that’s just how insidious body dysmorphia is. 


It doesn’t matter who you are, we have been so conditioned by the media we consume to hate our bodies, we will constantly believe we are not ‘perfect’ enough.

I remember when I first heard the term ‘tuckshop arms’ being bandied about. I heard someone giggle about how women who worked in the tuckshop had arms that wobbled when they moved. They continued laughing and words like ‘bingo wings’ and ‘aunty arms’ were thrown around.

It must have happened during my adolescence when I was feeling every inch of my changing body and so I just added this to my list of insecurities. ‘Oh, I have to worry about having flabby upper arms now? Ok,’ I thought to myself. It became yet another part of me that I felt I needed to hide away.

This trend continued on and on. One week I’d learn about a new ‘unsavoury’ body type. Hip dips, freckles, saggy boobs, a relaxed jawline, uneven earlobes, sausage fingers, a wide belly, cankles. There was no escaping the unmissable eye of public perception of women’s bodies. If you weren’t hearing about it at school we were being blasted with it in the tabloids. 


By the time I was 20, I had developed what I now know as body dysmorphia. So disillusioned I was with my body I chose to cover every inch of it. I remember wearing thick stockings and always a full-length sleeve top to cloak the pain I felt and hide away from prying eyes. 

If I could see how horrible my arms, legs, skin, face and hair was, then surely everyone else could. It wasn’t until I looked back on old pictures of myself and thought how beautiful I looked that I realised what a grip body dysmorphia had on me.

In fact, I was a perfectly normal 20-year-old. I was healthy and fit and had a body that was full of unique features. But I couldn’t see any of that because society had made me feel like I was a complete troll for having incredibly regular, human features. 

Why do these hyper-fixations on women’s bodies always come at our expense? My whole life has had an undercurrent of society picking apart a different area of a woman’s body that needed to be ‘perfect’. It’s so bloody exhausting. 

It’s so insidious that most of my girlfriends have experienced body dysmorphia in their lives. I’ve heard every single one of them tear their bodies apart. ‘I hate my huge arms’, ‘I hate my weird knees’, ‘I hate the pooch I have on my belly’. My heart would break every time I heard the hate they had for their beautiful bodies.

It’s a work in progress but I hope that we can move towards changing this narrative. 


You don’t need to have skinny arms, a perfectly taut bum or a flat tummy. Great, if you do! Also great if you don’t! Having to have the ‘thing’ to be perfect is all a lie and we need to reject it with our whole (perfectly imperfect) chests.

Over the past few years, I have made a conscious effort to try and heal my body dysmorphia. It hasn’t been linear but through mindful actions, I’m getting there. 


I’ve unfollowed accounts on Instagram that don’t promote healthy bodies, I’ve thrown out all the diet books and I have learned to practise gratitude for my body that has helped me achieve incredible things. 

I’ve run in the City2Surf five times, I survived Hyperemesis throughout pregnancy and I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl - my body did all of that and not once during those moments did I think about my tuckshop arms.

At a certain point, I realised I needed to free myself from the negativity that has swirled around in my head for years. As summer approaches I’m going to set some homework for myself and I’m hoping you might be able to join me - you know, an ‘in this together’ kind of mentality to try and shift the needle for the better. 

I’m going to wear those strappy dresses, I’m going to wear the bikini, I’m going to wear the short skirts. I’m going to bear it all and accept my body for all her glory. And I invite you to do the same! 

The only way we are going to combat body dysmorphia is to confront it head-on and give a big middle finger to it (and society). I’m done hiding away.

I repeat: wear the strappy, sleeveless dress!

Feature image: Instagram/@lisakham

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