We're told that to be a 'proper man' we need to build more muscle, lose more fat, get stronger and be sexier. So what do we do? We buy into it. We start believing that we need to look this way, even believing it's the only way to be sexy, successful and accepted.
We as women are flooded by pictures of 'perfection'. As mothers we are met with comments such as 'when are you planning to lose that baby weight?' and images of celeb mums in size six leather hot pants two days after having their children.
Ask any number of women and they might tell you that they shave their bodies for a number of phony reasons such as "societal pressure", it being generally stereotyped as "more feminine" and "attractive", or because it is "the norm". But there are much darker, much more serious reasons, why unshaven women are a danger to public health.
I could create a multitude of Brownie badges for encouragement, write lines upon lines to raise awareness and shout from every rooftop about this report. But I need to hand the microphone over, turn the spotlight round and let this remarkable young woman's words fill you up.
Imagine if someone came up to you, at your workplace, while you're sitting at your desk -maybe you're composing an email, putting together a presentation, adding numbers to a spreadsheet - and says, "going for a wank over your sexy body". Yep, it's pretty much an average day online when you work in the lingerie industry.
Living as part of a culture that allows those at the 'top of the chain' to decide not only what is gorgeous, but what is socially acceptable and what is not, is something that grates on me every single day of my existence.
Something I've seen a lot of on the old WWW lately, particularly Instagram, are some posts and images from women who are helping to empower other women by feeling confident in their own skin. This, of course, is marvellous.
Every disgusting stretch-mark is actually a forever connection to the child I grew and a mark of respect for the ones who didn't make it. Every bit of disgusting over hang covering up my mum pants is actually a story of good times, eating and drinking with friends, sofa buffets of cheese and crisps with my husband and birthday cake for all the years and years celebrating my own life and those that I'm blessed to have around me.
At 8 years old, I remember feeling frightened to change into my P.E. shorts for school sport because I didn't want people to see how thick my thighs were. Apparently I was not alone. Almost one in six girls aged 7 to 10 reported being embarrassed or ashamed of their appearances.
I'm of an age when certain women shy away from the camera. I must admit that for several years now I've been slightly taken aback when presented with a photograph of myself. My best friends daughter was married last year and my bestie was shocked when she saw the photographs.
I'm currently residing in the trendy east London area that is Shoreditch and I would classify myself as a 'fashionista'. I go shopping on the High Street almost every week but I still don't see images of people like me staring back from the hundreds of advertisements.
The question is what do we do now? Delete their apps? Take away their phones? They'd only need to watch a few television adverts, go to the movies, flick through a magazine or look up at a billboard to once again be swallowed - Pac-man like - by the fear of not matching up.
The tricks we rightfully criticise when used by professional photographers are now so easily accessible to us, making us much more aware of our features and physical appearance. And who/what is there to monitor who is using them and how excessively?
What's great about GNs is sex isn't always the be-all-end-all goal of character relationships, either. GNs often use sex as a storytelling device, which means putting more effort into the crafting of satisfying erotica to accompany a well thought out story.
Let me tell you this, it is possible and fantastically liberating to have fitness goals that are not doused in shame. How do I know this? Because I have found the Holy Grail, I have found my very own body positive gym
It's no wonder that so many of us suffer a collapse of self-esteem when we are surrounded by such messages and images. But far from letting ourselves wallow in our own negative self-esteem, why not try these five things and see if you can banish those bad habits?