TIME beauty

See How 6 Women Got Over Their Body Image Issues

These women decided to embrace their shapes

  • Maura Pagano

    Real Women
    Joao Canziani Maura Pagano

    Age: 24
    Occupation: Recruiter
    Home: New York City

    Maura’s hang-up: “My calves and ankles have never been proportionate to the rest of my body. I always used to hide them under long, black pants.”

    What helps her let it go: “As I get older, I’m learning that what’s more important than covering up my imperfections is how confident I am. In this dress, I feel sexy—it shows off my chest and my shoulders and highlights my waist. If every other part of me looks this good, no one will stare at my calves.”

  • Rosalie Khan

    Real Women
    Joao Canziani Rosalie Khan

    Age: 41
    Occupation: Senior digital associate
    Home: Jersey City

    Rosalie’s hang-up: “I’m self-conscious about my body, especially my stomach, so I don’t normally wear anything clingy. Because I know they’ll fit me, I stick to baggy clothes. That also means I won’t have to drag out the try-on process.”

    What helps her let it go: “Pulling on skinny pants was a revelation. They actually made me feel slimmer. The fabric of this pair is stretchy and thick, and there’s a panel to hold in my tummy, creating a nice, smooth line. I feel comfortable—and even trendy.”

  • Danielle Hamblin

    Real Women
    Joao Canziani Danielle Hamblin

    Age: 43
    Occupation: Adjunct professor
    Home: White Township, New Jersey

    Danielle’s hang-up: “I have never been thin. While I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to be so, I sometimes think it’s just not meant to be.”

    What helps her let it go: “In comparison to the more serious challenges faced by other people, I’ll take this one. Besides, I have an air of fun about me, and I like that to show in what I wear. This sheath’s mix of prints offers that, yet the shape is professional and flattering. It plays up my waist and hits right at the knee.”

  • Rushmi Mehan Soni

    Real Women
    Joao Canziani Rushmi Mehan Soni

    Age: 25
    Occupation: Senior marketing manager
    Home: New York City

    Rushmi’s hang-up: “I used to love my lean waist. Then I got pregnant, and I was all belly. After I had the baby, I still had a belly. I struggled with that for a while because the weight fell off so easily everywhere else.”

    What helps her let it go: “Now I laugh at how much I talked about bikinis in my 20s. I created my son—of course my body is different these days. I remain somewhat self-conscious, but there are clothes to address the issue. This draped top gave me a trim-looking waist again.”

  • Arielle Devay

    Real Women
    Joao Canziani Arielle DeVay

    Age: 35
    Occupation: Sales-development executive
    Home: Astoria, New York

    Arielle’s hang-up: “I’m very curvy above and below the waist. When I wear something loose, I look bigger than I am. And when I wear something formfitting, I can end up looking like a floozy. Neither is a great option.”

    What helps her let it go: “I’ve found it’s important for me to choose silhouettes that accentuate my waistline, such as a fit-and-flare dress. This provides a nice balance between showing off my waist and being work-appropriate.”

  • Kate Snyder

    Real Women
    Joao Canziani Kate Snyder

    Age: 37
    Occupation: Account executive
    Home: Brooklyn

    Kate’s hang-up: “A lack of curves. I used to feel awkward in my body—I was all legs and didn’t have much of a bust.”

    What helps her let it go: “I have grown into my body, though it hasn’t changed much. I usually dress very understated, but this style is very ‘look at me.’ The cut is fitted through the torso, so my behind seems curvier, and the hem adds visual interest. I like that I look shapelier—not so straight up and down.”

    This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

    More from Real Simple:

TIME women

What I Experienced From Online Dating as a Black Woman

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xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

The majority of the messages I received, mostly from white men, fetishized my appearance and sexualized me based solely on my race

xojane

I try to remind myself that no one ever said online dating would be a wholly pleasant experience. There is an inherent awkwardness that comes with entering the world of swipes and algorithms, and it’s simply unavoidable.

I grew up and into an era during which the Internet has basically informed much of my identity and sparked many of my most important relationships — I’ve met some of my closest friends via sites like LiveJournal and Tumblr. And today, there’s no twentysomething I know who hasn’t met a bae or a jump off via some app or online service. So there’s no real sense of the taboo when it comes to dating online.

I created my first online profile in 2013 on OkCupid, a tiny baby step into unfamiliar territory with no real set goal in mind. All I knew was that as someone painfully shy around men, dating in the real world, in New York City, felt downright impossible. If anything, this was a way for me to gauge my own interest, and to date in a way that felt a bit more intentional, a bit more on my own terms.

And because I had girlfriends who told me about their escapades on the site, the good and the bad, the inevitable creeps and trolls, I felt relatively prepared for an imperfect if interesting experience.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the horror story that is online dating as a black woman.

Recently, OkCupid released data on race and attraction amongst its users, which revealed messed up but unsurprising realities about how people navigated the site.

Compiled by the site’s cofounder Christian Rudder, the data showed that black people and Asian men were least likely to get a date on the site. Black women specifically, the research showed, were at the very bottom of the barrel, receiving the fewest messages and likes from all races of men, and the least amount of responses to outgoing messages. Latina and Asian women, overwhelmingly, got the most likes and responses.

Rudder’s take on the data was pretty vague. “Beauty is a cultural idea as much as a physical one, and the standard is of course set by the dominant culture,” he said. “I believe that’s what you see in the data here.”

The narrative about black women and dating, about our lack of desirability and dateability, has been one I’ve actively tried to unlearn, despite a constant, nagging feeling that the reason I couldn’t get a date was because of the so-called stigma. But in my first major foray into the world of online dating, what struck me wasn’t so much this idea of not being wanted, but the kind of men who apparently wanted me.

A few creeps and trolls I could handle just fine. But from day one, I got tons of messages, many of them one or two word lines like, “Hey sexy,” and a larger majority of them reading, “Hey chocolate.” These weren’t worth the energy it took to respond.

The chocolate thing, though, kept coming up. Gradually, I began to notice a theme — the majority of the messages I received, mostly from white men, fetishized my appearance and sexualized me based solely on my race.

There have been so many ridiculous and offensive messages, too many to count or read. Many I’m not even comfortable sharing in this essay.

“Do you taste like chocolate?”

“Is it true what they say about black girls?”

“I’d love to slap dat big juicy booty.”

Once a guy was good enough to message me just to tell me that I look like “something you find in the zoo.” Another man, after luring me into a false sense of security by opening with a pleasant enough conversation about one of my favorite TV shows abruptly changed the subject to pose the question: “Do you act black?”

I asked him what exactly he meant by that.

He replied, “I like black women minus the attitude. Why is that wrong to ask? Haha.”

Haha, indeed.

In the three years I’ve been on OkCupid, I’ve only met up with a handful of people, mostly because it’s been impossible to meet anyone who doesn’t open or end conversations with offensive, racist, sexually aggressive language. A brief sojourn into Tinder world marked the worst of it — someone called me the n-word when I said I didn’t want to meet with him. I automatically deleted the app and haven’t been there since.

I know that I don’t represent every black girl’s time spent in the online dating world. I have black girlfriends who’ve had relatively decent, pleasant interactions, which is wonderful. But I also know my experiences aren’t unique. I do still wonder who else out there has put up with this kind of unwanted attention. The OkCupid data suggested Latinas and Asian women get the most attention on the site, but I can only imagine what kind of attention they’re getting — creepy fetishizing, no doubt.

It hasn’t all been bad, of course. In the past year I’ve met a few guys online who have been fun to hang out with, and a couple whom I’ve actually really liked. But I’m taking an indefinite break from the online dating world. Partly because I want to experience different forms of dating, but mostly because the energy of weeding through hundreds of gross and racist messages from strangers is, to me, the very opposite of self-care.

Last year, some important conversations were sparked surrounding the kind of street harassment women face on a daily basis. There needs to be, I think, a similar conversation about online harassment. Because it’s not just the dating sites where women are subjected to this kind of behavior.

On my Tumblr blog I’ve gotten creepy messages, and had my personal photos posted on ebony fetish blogs. Some might say that the solution to avoiding this kind behavior is to delete my blog or my profile, to block the guys I don’t like and focus on the ones I do.

I say that I shouldn’t have to do that to begin with.

Zeba Blay is a writer in New York. This article originally appeared on xoJane.com.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME relationships

Why Your Self-Esteem Matters More Than a Compliment

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A lot of women are guilty of fishing for compliments or looking to partners for praise

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

One of my recent guilty pleasures is this dating show where the participants meet, naked, on an island, and try to find love. In one episode of Dating Naked, a female contestant seemed to be hitching her self esteem to the compliments of the naked meathead with whom she was riding horses. “He told me I was beautiful, so that made me beautiful…” she said.

I wanted to throw a pillow at my television screen and yell, “NO! You’re beautiful, period!” The premise of the show is pretty ridiculous in and of itself, but what I found even more outrageous was this woman’s inability to feel beautiful without her guy’s assessment.

And yet, a lot of women are guilty of fishing for compliments or looking to partners for praise. I’m certainly not exempt from this. The fact is, it’s not easy to only look within ourselves to affirm our beauty. I often talk about how confidence is complicated. I know from experience that being confident is a journey, not a destination, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a tough road. While I try to be self-assured and poised, others’ opinions (men’s especially), have had an impact on how I feel about myself and my appearance.

(MORE: This Is How We Should Be Talking About Beauty)

My dad raised me to believe that I’m beautiful, inside and out — and I’m grateful for that. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay in that protective bubble forever. Growing up, if someone I was crushing on didn’t feel similarly about me, I questioned my attractiveness. But, if a boy asked me to a dance, I could feel my self-esteem sky-rocket. In college, when I was single, I wondered if it had something to do with how I looked. But, when I started dating a guy who told me I was beautiful, well, then it was easy to believe I was.

Eventually, I began to realize: I was doing myself a disservice by allowing the men I dated to determine how I felt about myself. I mean, they call it self esteem for a reason, you know? Wanting to get off this exhausting roller coaster (feeling good about myself one month, lousy the next) I decided to return to what my father had taught me so many years ago: I’m beautiful — period.

(MORE: The Dress That Made Me Like My Body)

The thing is, I can appreciate the boost I feel when a man compliments my appearance, but it’s far more important that I feel good about myself regardless. I don’t want my positive self-image to be defined by the way a man sees me. I was able to put this idea to the test about a month ago when I decided to take out my hair extensions and rock my short, natural hair (you can watch that process if you’re interested). As I went from hair that fell down my back to a short cut that hits just below my ears, I knew I loved it.

But, although I felt gorgeous and had a spring in my step when I walked out of the salon, I worried that if my boyfriend didn’t like it, my bright mood would dampen. More than that: I knew that I wanted him to be attracted to me with my new ‘do. Still, I also told myself that what mattered most was how I felt about it. And, I meant it. The minute my man saw me, though, I could tell by the look on his face that he loved it. That took me from cloud nine to cloud 10.

And, it hit me: When our partners make us feel beautiful, it’s not a bad thing — as long as we also feel beautiful on our own. It’s kind of like that pair of jeans that makes your ass look amazing. Those jeans aren’t magic, but they might just have the power to make you feel hotter than you already know you are.

(MORE: Body Image: The War Nobody Wins)

TIME Humor

I’m So Bored With This ‘Color of the Year’ Thing

red
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Calling something a trend doesn't make it trendy

xojane

This story originally appeared on xoJane.com.

At the risk of sounding like one of those people who shows up on the Internet to complain about something completely pointless, can I just vent real quick?

Last week, Pantone unveiled the 2015 Color of the Year, and immediately, everyone ran their typical headlines “You’ll Be Seeing This Color Everywhere in 2015” and “The Trendiest Hue for All Your Holiday Parties.”

This year’s Color of the Year is Marsala, for those playing along at home.

I think it’s time for us to all step back, take a breath, and collectively agree to just calm the eff down.

I’ve never really gotten the whole Color of the Year thing, for many reasons. For one, it’s just such a forced trend. I have a weird relationship with trends in general because I always want to rebel against them on principle, and yet embody each and every single one of them because I have a horrible fear of being left out and also want to be viewed as one of the cool kids. So there’s that.

What makes a trend ~trendy~ is that it happens organically. People see something, respond to it, and incorporate it into their own lives. Like, I don’t know, dark lipsticks, messy fishtail braids, or literally anything on Pinterest. All of that caught on because that stuff is cute. No one just decided on those certain things and handed them down to us.

The whole concept of the Color of the Year just seems very manufactured, like a bunch of execs were sitting around a board room in gray suits, analyzing pie charts and bar graphs, whatever those are, to figure out which color would sell the best throughout the coming year, then making that the color of the year.

It’s just BORING. And doesn’t officially declaring something a hot item automatically negate any cool factor it once had? What’s interesting about a certain color if we’re all going to be wearing it? And could you ever actually hear yourself saying, “Oh yeah, this? It’s the Color of the Year.” I’d rather go blind.

Maybe it’s the fact that the Color of the Year never feels very thought out. Pantone always partners with Sephora for a Color of the Year collection, which is an awesome idea in theory, but the execution always seems to fall a little short. The Color of the Year for 2014 was Radiant Orchid, and the year before that, Emerald. Good on Sephora and Pantone for not being afraid of vibrant colors, but neither of the aforementioned shades struck me as being very wearable nor flattering on any skin tone. I realize that this is just a matter of taste, but still, I would think it would be a factor that would inform the decision on what color you’re going to be marketing to the masses.

This year’s color, Marsala, is in my opinion, the most versatile color Pantone has chosen in a while. They describe it as “a naturally robust and earthy wine red, Marsala enriches our minds, body, and souls.” SIGH.

The images accompanying the announcement play up the luxuriousness of Marsala.

Everywhere you look, there are plush fabrics, mulled wine, berries, and of course, macarons. What would a photo shoot in 2014 be without a macaron? They’re serving up the color to be perfect for the holidays, very warm, able to be incorporated into your clothes, makeup, your couch, your kitchen, whatever.

As colors go, I actually kind of like this one, because it’s sort of an in-between of, like, five other colors. It’s vague. All of my favorite colors are lifeless and boring and this one fits right in. Marsala is like a darkened dusty rose, a muted brick red, with a tiny bit of taupe thrown in there for good measure. It’s a nice departure from the jewel tones of the last couple of years. It’s also a lot more in line with what is actually going on in fashion right now. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Marsala pairs very well with this 90s revival we’ve been seeing with the darker makeup and brown lipsticks.

But do we really need to pair one trend with another? That almost seems like it defeats the purpose of having a color of the year, if they’re just going to align it with what we were already doing anyway.

Is it just me? Are you down with having a color of the year every year? Trends, even at their silliest and most pointless, are supposed to be fun, and I am the last person to hate on something that’s simply supposed to bring us a little joy. After all, I’ve been known to lose my mind over a color-changing nail polish or whatever, so it’s not like I take any of this too seriously. It just seems a little forced. To me, the people who would respond to the Color of the Year are the same people who would wear a band T-shirt without actually knowing any of the band’s music, just because they think it makes them cool (he types, wearing an AC/DC T-shirt, unable to name a single AC/DC song).

Am I putting too much thought into this? Am I taking this too seriously? Have I become what I fear the most: A hater? What trends do you hate? How do you feel about marsala? Was that seriously the cutest name they could come up with?

Tynan Sinks is a Beauty/Style contributor for xoJane.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME beauty

There May Be 50 Shades of Red but Only Marsala is the Color of the Year

“Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal.”

A marsala shade of red will be the in color next year across fashion, makeup and interior design.

So says the design consultancy firm Pantone, which picked Marsala as the Color of the Year.

“Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness,” Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said in a statement. “This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.”

Pantone, which is owned by X-Rite, the maker of color-matching products, has named a Color of the Year since 2000. Last year it was radiant orchid, and the year before it was emerald.

TIME beauty

Kourtney Kardashian Posed Nude While Pregnant

Kourtney Kardashian in West Hollywood, Calif., Oct. 23, 2014.
Jason Merritt—Getty Images for De Re Gallery Kourtney Kardashian in West Hollywood, Calif., Oct. 23, 2014.

Another Kardashian tries to break the Internet

Just when you thought the Internet was finally fixed, another Kardashian has stepped up to break it again.

Kourtney Kardashian, Kim’s sister and the E! star of Keeping Up With the Kardashians fame, posed nude while nine moths pregnant with her third child in a photo shoot for DuJour, which you can see here. Kourtney’s no stranger to nude pregnant photo shoots. She posed nude while carrying Mason (now 4 years old) and said it feels natural to appear in the buff while pregnant.

“To me, nudity is not something to be ashamed of,” she told DuJour. “I’m not embarrassed of my body. I’m at my best when I’m pregnant. It’s such an amazing feeling, the transformation that your body goes through.”

This, of course, follows her sister’s “Break the Internet” derrière shot for Paper magazine last month.

MORE: Kim Kardashian’s butt is an empty promise

“This was something that initially I did for myself just to capture the moment in my life, but these photos are beautiful and I’m happy to share them,” Kourtney Kardashian said.

Read next: Let Kim Kardashian’s Butt Help You Study for the SATs

TIME beauty

Study Reveals Americans’ Contradictory Thoughts on Self-Improvement

Most Americans think cosmetic surgery is fine, but also expect celebrities to age naturally

New data shows that Americans believe the best way to do good in the world is through self-improvement–though the exact manner in which U.S. citizens believe one should go about that may not be as clear.

Sixty-six percent of American women say that improving oneself is the best way to accomplish good in the world, compared to 54% of men–though 46% of men and 31% of women think more can be accomplished by improving someone else, according to a new poll from 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair.

When it comes to where to do for a little self-rejuvenation, 35% of pollsters said they turn to a house of worship, and 34% said they go to the gym.

A full 70% of Americans say they think cosmetic surgery is fine, though there is a bit of a double standard for celebrities: 77% of those polled also said that successful actors should age naturally. Americans making over $100,000 per year were the most likely to argue in favor of cosmetic surgery, but 67% of people earning under $50,000 also agreed.

Still, Americans’ aren’t shallow. The poll also reports that 72% of Americans disagree with the phrase: “You can never be too rich or too thin.”

You can see the full poll, here.

TIME beauty

Reese Witherspoon Sticks Up For Renee Zellweger After Face-Shaming

Actress Reese Witherspoon attends the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood.
David Livingston—Getty Images Actress Reese Witherspoon attends the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood.

Calls sniping "cruel"

Reese Witherspoon is very disappointed in everyone who participated in the kerfuffle over Renee Zellweger’s face.

In the The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual actress round-table with Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Amy Adams, Hilary Swank, Patricia Arquette and Felicity Jones, the conversation turned to Renee Zellweger’s face-shaming last month. Witherspoon stuck up for Zellweger:

It’s horrible. It’s cruel and rude and disrespectful, and I can go on and on and on. It bothers me immensely…I know this is so Pollyanna of me, but why — and it’s particularly women — why do they have to tear women down? And why do we have to tear other women down to build another woman up? It drives me crazy. Like, this one looks great without her makeup but that one doesn’t look good without her makeup, and it’s all just a judgment and assault that I don’t — look, men are prey to it as well. I just don’t think it’s with the same sort of ferocity.

Later in the interview, when she was asked if there was a contemporary woman she wanted to play, Witherspoon said, “Beyonce.”

[THR]

TIME beauty

Keira Knightley and 7 Other Celebs Who Protested Photoshop and Won

'The Imitation Game' - Opening Night Gala of 58th BFI London Film Festival
Anadolu Agency—Getty Images Keira Knightley attends a screening of 'The Imitation Game' in London, England on Oct. 8, 2014

Keira Knightley recently posed topless in an Interview magazine shoot so that fans would know what she really looked like. The actress said her image is often manipulated to make her breasts look larger or her body curvier, so she wanted to set the record straight and send the message that it doesn’t matter what shape you are. “I think women’s bodies are a battleground,” Knightley told The Times. “And photography is partly to blame.”

Knightley isn’t the first to protest the use of Photoshop to modify women’s bodies in media. Several other celebrities have either spoken out or purposely posed without editing in the hopes of changing the world’s unrealistic beauty standards:

Jamie Lee Curtis

Children's Hospital Los Angeles' Gala: Noche De Ninos
John Sciulli—Getty Images for Children’s HospLOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 11: Actress Jamie Lee Curtis attends the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ Gala: Noche De Ninos at LA Live on October 11, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles)

Curtis famously went nude as a young actress for films like Trading Places and Perfect. But she stripped down again in 2008 at the age of 50, posing topless on the cover of AARP to show women that they can be beautiful at any age.

And that wasn’t the first time Curtis made a statement with her body. In 2002, she posed makeup free and unretouched in a sports bra and underwear for More magazine. “There’s a reality to the way I look without my clothes on,” she said at the time. “I don’t have great thighs. I have very big breasts and a soft, fatty little tummy. And I’ve got back fat. People assume that I’m walking around in little spaghetti-strap dresses. It’s insidious—Glam Jamie, the Perfect Jamie, the great figure, blah, blah, blah. And I don’t want the unsuspecting forty-year-old women of the world to think that I’ve got it going on. It’s such a fraud. And I’m the one perpetuating it.”

Lorde

Back in March, Lorde protested Photoshopping on her Twitter account and reminded fans that everyone has flaws.

The “Royals” singer has been very open about her imperfect skin, even Instagramming a picture of herself with acne cream on.

in bed in paris with my acne cream on

A photo posted by Lorde (@lordemusic) on

(READ: Not-So-Flawless: Lorde Protests Photoshopping)

Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet  Cover
GQ

After GQ got Photoshop happy with a picture of Kate Winslet for a 2003 cover, shrinking her legs and curves, the Titanic star came out against the editing.

“I actually have a Polaroid that the photographer gave me on the day of the shoot…I can tell you they’ve reduced the size of my legs by about a third,” Winslet told the BBC. “For my money it looks pretty good the way it was taken.”

Winslet has also taken a stand against cosmetic surgery. “It goes against my morals, the way that my parents brought me up and what I consider to be natural beauty,” Winslet told The Telegraph in 2011. “I will never give in.”

Ashley Benson

Pretty Little Liars actress Ashley Benson publicly slammed ABC Family for an image the network put out to promote the show in 2013. “Saw this floating around…hope it’s not the poster. Our faces in this were from 4 years ago…and we all look ridiculous,” she wrote. “Way too much photo shop [stet]. We all have flaws. No one looks like this. it’s not attractive.”

Benson went on to share her personal philosophy with her followers, “Remember, you are ALL beautiful. Please don’t ever try and look like the people you see in magazines or posters because it’s fake. It only causes an unhealthy mind about how you see yourself. You are perfect the way you are.”

One of Benson’s costars, Troian Bellisario, responded to Benson’s post on Instagram, saying, “, “Wow @itsashbenzo I couldn’t agree more. Very cool concept as always. But aren’t we attractive enough women as we are? Why can’t we just look like us. Once.”

(READ: Pretty Little Liars Star Talks GQ Photoshop Controversy)

Colbie Caillat

The singer went makeup-free in her video for her song “Try” earlier this year. Caillat told TIME in June that her own struggles with beauty standards inspired her to write the song, which is about the many pressures women face.

“‘Try’ is written from my personal experience having so many insecurities, as people do and I think women especially do. We see people looking perfect on TV and compare ourselves to them,” Caillait said. “I remember when I was a teenager, I was so confused about how I should look, and I tried changing every single thing about myself…If girls at that age were just comfortable in their own skin it will benefit them for the future.”

Lady Gaga

Glamour MagazineLady Gaga on the December 2013 issue of Glamour

Lady Gaga was not pleased with her December 2013 Glamour cover, which she felt was heavily airbrushed. When Gaga was honored at the Glamour Woman of the Year Awards, she took the opportunity to blast the magazine for its overuse of Photoshop.

“I felt my skin looked too perfect. I felt my hair looked too soft,” the “Bad Romance” the singer said. “I do not look like this when I wake up in the morning… I don’t even look like this,” referring to her wild wig and makeup for the evening. She went on to say that she thought photoshop was damaging to readers who see the images and called on her fans to “fight back against the forces that make them feel like they’re not beautiful.”

She also issued a challenge to the media: “It is fair to write about the change in your magazines. But what I want to see is the change on your covers… When the covers change, that’s when culture changes.”

Gisele Bundchen

Colcci - Runway - SPFW Winter 2015
Victor Virgile—Gamma-Rapho via Getty ImagesGisele Bundchen walks the runway at the Colcci fashion show during Sao Paulo Fashion Week Winter 2015 at Parque Candido Portinari on November 4, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Gisele, arguably the world’s most powerful fashion model, bemoaned the use of airbrushing in high-fashion photographs last year. After shooting a campaign without makeup or hairstyling for BLK DNM, she praised the brand’s creative director for his natural approach. “I feel like women should be really real and raw and it doesn’t really happen anymore [in fashion photographs],” she told Fashionista. “I love that feeling of, you know, we are women — we are so different. Our imperfections are what makes us unique and beautiful. He gets that. He’s not trying to retouch you or put a pretty light on you. He’s not like, ‘You’ve got to look a certain way.’ He’s like, ‘You are you.'”

(READ: This Is What the Same Woman Looks Like Photoshopped in Different Countries)

Read next: Here’s What 20 Famous Women Think About Feminism

TIME Culture

Keira Knightley Posed Topless to Protest Photoshopping

"The Imitation Game" Press Conference
Vera Anderson—WireImage Keira Knightley at "The Imitation Game" Press Conference at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel on September 10, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario.

"I think women's bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame"

Keira Knightley recently posed topless in Interview Magazine as her own personal protest against photoshopping. Knightley told The Times she demanded the (not safe for work) photos be unedited so people could see what she really looked like.

“I’ve had my body manipulated so many different times for so many different reasons, whether it’s paparazzi photographers or for film posters,” Knightley said. “That [shoot] was one of the ones where I said: ‘OK, I’m fine doing the topless shot so long as you don’t make them any bigger or retouch.’ Because it does feel important to say it really doesn’t matter what shape you are.”

(READ: Keira Knightley and 7 Other Celebs Who Protested Photoshop and Won)

Knightley’s figure was controversially distorted on the poster for King Arthur in 2004: Her breasts were edited to look bigger than they are in real life. Though the studio bore the brunt of that scandal, the actress herself came under fire in 2006 when she and Scarlett Johansson posed nude with a fully clothed Tom Ford on the cover of Vanity Fair, in a picture that emphasized the gap the demands made of famous women and men in terms of playing up their sexuality. (Rachel McAdams reportedly skipped the shoot after realizing the women would be asked to pose in the buff.)

But Knightley is taking a stand now. The Interview shoot captures Knightley’s real figure—including her true breast size. “I think women’s bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame,” the Imitation Game actress told The Times. “Our society is so photographic now, it becomes more difficult to see all of those different varieties of shape.”

(READ: This Is What the Same Woman Looks Like Photoshopped in Different Countries)

That’s just one of many candid truths 29-year-old Knightley has been preaching on her current press tour. This month, she also told Net-a-Porter that she’s annoyed as a feminist that most movies reflect only what middle-aged white men want and identify with. She has turned down many a role because she thought she was being asked to do things male actors are never asked to do—specifically gratuitous sex and violence. “It’s actually a difficult question: how much flesh are you meant to bare?” she said. “We’re saying that we should be sexually liberated but then again not that sexually liberated. It’s confusing.”

She added that she long ago left fairy tales behind: “Why should you wait for some f–king dude to rescue you?”

Amen.

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