"I am a flat-chested size 16 with more cellulite than dover cliffs.
I have sailor tattoos on my right arm, breasts and pussy.
My left arm and right leg, torso and head are covered in scars.
I am a self-harmer in many different ways.
I cut, burn and beat myself, take overdoses.
I have more diagnoses than a Bernard Matthews turkey has sneezes.
I am a woman. I am a woman with many qualities, many talents many skills. And I'm a bit mad. I know I am.
If I were to cut off my breasts, inject toxins into my face, try to revert to puberty, look 30 years younger than my age and spend obscene amounts of money in chasing those rainbows; if I were to deny my gender, despise my gender, then I would be admitted.
And it wouldn't be nice.
I can't stand the way these women want to encourage other women to deface their bodies: the bodies of women. Observer Women.
I might be mad, but I do love being a woman. I am proud to be a woman. I love every fucking scar, every fucking wobble, every fucking crease on my body. Including the ones under my arms.
Self-harm is self-harm is self-harm, however you do it. It is about loathing, and that is not something to be bragging about. It is not pretty, it's not glamorous, it's not fashionable. It doesn't belong alongside handbags and shoes as a lifestyle choice. Whether operations and injections, diets and poisons or 69p razor blades from Netto - it is all self-harm.
When I'm ill, I damage myself. I engage in risky behaviour. I drink, self-medicate and hate myself.
But I don't glamourise it through a national Sunday newspaper. I refuse to be ashamed of who I am - but I do know that self-harm is no solution.
Observer Woman Magazine has the influence to make us as women feel better about ourselves. It could celebrate women as we are. It could love women for infinite reasons. Instead, it tells us that what we are, how we look, what a woman actually IS... is shocking.
Observer Woman is Self-loathing Woman.
Observer Woman - you are much more fucking mad than I am."
Some quotes from OWM:
"I found big breasts revolting as well as terrifying: pendulous, covered in blue veins. I was scared of everything in those days - talking to boys, swimming lessons where others might glimpse my body or I might drown - and so I thought, it will be far easier to opt out. I starved myself, and so of course I didn't grow breasts; my adolescence consisted of precisely one period
I was in my early twenties, working on a glossy magazine in London, and the starvation thing had got a bit out of hand. At a particularly arduous ballet class one Saturday morning (I did four hours of classes on Saturday, seven hours during the week), I caught sight of my emaciated frame in its pink tights in the mirror and knew I needed help, which I got (eating-disorder clinics, steroids, peanut-butter sandwiches), but no one told me that one of the side effects was that I would grow breasts. Oh God how I hated them. They meant I couldn't run properly each evening, they meant men looked at me, they meant clothes (Azzedine Alaïa bodies, Katharine Hamnett stretchy dresses) looked obscene. I started to hide my breasts (bear in mind that up to, and way beyond this point, no man had ever touched them or seen them);
But then one day, on the bus, I had a revelation. I was reading the very first issue of British Elle magazine (the gloriously flat-chested Yasmin not-yet-Le Bon was on the cover), in which there was a feature that seemed to answer my prayers. It was about the fact that women in Paris were getting breast reductions to achieve that boyish, gamine, high-fashion look, and I thought, of course! Why didn't I think of this? And so, at the age of 29, I had my breasts removed
I can't feel anything in my breasts, and I will never be able to breast-feed (a bit of a moot point, given my two-decade-long sabbatical from men due to my breast phobia), and the scars mean I have never felt liberated by my flatchestedness; I have never been able to sunbathe topless, for example, or wear Versace gowns slashed to the waist, but how often do those situations arise? When I was finally, fleetingly married, my poor husband never got to see or touch my breasts;
Now that I am on my own again I can go back to not being a woman any more. I am alone, I no longer have to play netball or hockey. I no longer have to be seen naked. It's fine, really."
"I've lost two stones in 12 weeks on a diet not endorsed by any doctor, dietician, scary TV food guru or indeed anybody with half a brain. It amounts to a combination of stress, not eating very much and smoking like a volcano. Happily, Observer Woman readers are far too clever to follow such a patently idiotic prescription for rapid weight loss.Whatever! This week I am prancing around reacquainting myself with my cheekbones and jaw line while wearing ballet pumps with skinny jeans"
(Founder, Spare Rib.)
"Two years ago, I was offered the chance to try out non-surgical face treatments for a newspaper article. Even though I hate the pressure that women are under to look good, there's no point in denying how much I try.
From 'The Next Big Thing'
"We watched our models, Kate Smith and Elizabeth Satherlund, get transformed, made-up, and styled. We watched them pose. We studied early Polaroids. But still, we were shocked by the finished product. The photographs seemed illicit, transgressive. They seemed overtly sexual. Fetishistic, almost. They certainly seemed contrary to today's rules on glossy-magazine aesthetics. So much bosom! So much bottom! Such luscious rolls of back fat! Such extravagant thighs! Aren't there laws against this?
Elizabeth and Kate are in fact both a size 16 - the dress size of the average British woman. They're (young, beautiful, statuesque versions of) us. They're the majority of women that pass us on the street every day. They're the most realistic representation of beauty in town. So of course, their image shouldn't be shocking at all. These photographs shouldn't be a statement, shouldn't be remarkable in any way. But they are."