self-esteem quiz

Self-Esteem Quiz

Is self-esteem something you need to work on? Or do you have bags of the stuff? Take our self-esteem quiz to see if you’re lacking in self-love…

It’s so important that you embrace who you are and feel comfortable in the skin you’re in. Join our community to talk to someone about ways you can give your self-esteem the boost it needs, or check out these articles:

We talked selfies and racial stereotyping with photographer Florence Ngala

DtL: What inspired your selfie series?
Florence: When I started taking pictures, I didn’t know it would turn into a series— I took them out of boredom and curiosity about what else my camera could do. The more I learned about its capabilities, how to find good lighting and control it, as well as the other technical aspects of taking and editing an image, I then became more creative because I had more control. This evolved into me just shooting more and freely producing content. So I was initially inspired by the learning process, then after a while ideas kind of came to me based on what I saw, what I did, and I just tried my best to bring those ideas to life.

DtL: Why do you think this generation turns to the ‘selfie’ to express themselves? And what effects do you think that is having on self-esteem and body image?
Florence: Well for starters, there was a time just two hundred years ago when the photograph was this very valuable possession because it was not accessible to everyone. It’s still important now, but not in the same way. People paid photographers just to have portraits taken of their family or themselves to preserve something, to record history. Now you don’t need to pay someone to take a picture of you, you can do it yourself, you don’t even need a camera, people take pictures on their phones, laptops, etc.

“I think selfie culture has empowered many more people, especially women”

 

So to answer your question, I think that this generation turns to selfies for the same reason humans have always created images. Back then the technology wasn’t there yet, but people have always been interested in being able to represent themselves. Cavemen did it, the Egyptians did it, the Greeks did it, and now people have literally created careers solely based off of creating pictures of themselves. We’ve gone from Neil Armstrong taking pictures on the moon, to Kim Kardashian being able to publish and sell a book of images of her face. The common denominator is the fact that we all want to control our own narrative. In terms of self-esteem and body image, I think selfie culture has empowered many more people, especially women. Sharing a picture opens this window for comments, likes, and lots of positive reactions. When talking about the effects, it has definitely encouraged this generation to be more self-confident, and in some unfortunate cases kind of vain.

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/otto.jpg”]

 

DtL: What do you think of ‘selfie’ culture?
Florence: I mean, it’s here to stay for sure. It’s fascinating to see how it has evolved. We have the Go-Pro, the selfie stick, I just recently saw a video about engagement ring boxes with cameras in them. What started off as front camera on a phone has without a doubt completely revolutionised the way people document their lives and share them.

DtL: Have you personally ever experienced prejudice because of attitudes towards your ethnicity? If so can you tell us what happened and how you overcame the experience?
Florence: Growing up, as the child of immigrants, I noticed the divide that existed between Black students and African students. I noticed that there was an impression of inferiority that some kids in my class tried to project onto me which seemed to be based on stereotypes which existed about African people. At that age (like 9/10), I never really thought to identify more with one than the other until classmates made it seem as though there was a difference between me and them. I retaliated by hitting them back with any mean comment I could think of.

“I noticed the divide that existed between Black students and African students”

 

I also used to figure skate for years and was blessed enough to really excel in that sport. I surpassed in skill girls who had been part of my program longer than I had, or who were older than me. I worked really hard to make sure I didn’t come off as being better than these girls and was almost scared sometimes to showcase my skill because I thought people would dislike me. At a point I experienced passive bullying and fake friendships from individuals who were in my group. I could tell these people were my teammates but not my friends. What made matters worse was that since I became a strong figure skater, I was moved up to a harder group where everyone was also older than me for a while, my real friends and I were separated. I dealt with this by ignoring that gut feeling I had that these girls didn’t like me, and overcompensated by trying to be really nice. I kind of wish I wasn’t though, but I was young and just didn’t want to not have friends, especially people I saw multiple times a week.

DtL: Our research revealed that 35% of teenage girls believe that their gender will have a negative effect on their career. What are your thoughts on this, based on your experiences in the industry?
Florence: This is a great question, I honestly have never felt that my gender would hinder my success. I feel as though this question will spark a different answer for women depending on the career path they’re in. I can understand how individuals in one field may feel that gender inequality is more so the case than those in other fields. Going into a creative industry, I’ve always just felt that no matter what, creativity trumps everything, it doesn’t matter who you are. A good idea is a good idea.

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/IMG_2454.jpg”]

 

DtL: What advice would you give to someone who may be experiencing bullying right now?
Florence: Well, I believe that in life, it is such a comforting feeling to realise what you’re good at, and to be undeniably passionate about it. To be consumed and invested in your talent and to just develop this work ethic where you’re motivated by you loving what you do and not being distracted by anything else. During my 2016 spring semester at school we had to create anti-bullying posters in my design class and the approach I took for one of my designs was promoting this idea of working hard at what you want to do, and being the best at it. So I created posters with the ages of people who’ve broken world records and reached amazing feats at very young ages. The point of this was to showcase that once someone harnesses their talent, there’s truly no stopping them, and that there is no age where this starts or ends. Kids as young as 10 and 11 have broken world records, and so have people as old as 80 and 90.

So, if you’re being bullied now, cliché as it sounds, distract yourself, that means try every sport, hobby, extracurricular, anything, and in time you’ll latch on to what you love, become good and just kick a**. Who will stop you if you are focused on your craft? In retrospect, this is what I did as a young figure skater when it came to dealing with the girls who I felt uncomfortable around. I loved figure skating so much that no matter what, getting on that ice was always when I felt strongest and safest. Over time, the more I did that, the easier it was to not pay attention to the shade I thought was being thrown my way, or comments I thought were being made about me. Find what you love to do, and keep doing it.

“It’s heartbreaking and overwhelming to think about how messed up some parts of the world are for people”

 

DtL: What is it like to be a woman in 2016 and what needs to change?
Florence: Well this response could go on for a while, but for now I’ll just point out the things that really break my heart and resonate with me. For starters, honour killings—I was reading about this on CNN recently and find it so disgusting and repulsive that a brother, uncle, or father can execute his female family member, in some cases publicly, because she has “disgraced” their family— and then not have to deal with serious repercussions for it. The reasons for these killings are usually also very subjective and foolish, just further emphasising that some parts of the world are still so patriarchal.

Female genital mutilation also needs to change, kidnapping of young women and girls, human trafficking, rape culture, I mean there’s so much. So, so much and sometimes I just think about the fact that some people live harder lives simply because they were born a certain gender, in a certain place. It’s heartbreaking and overwhelming to think about how messed up some parts of the world are for people. Even here in America things still suck. That’s why I respect activists and humanitarians so much, I hope to one day feel moved and passionate enough to devote my life to changing the lives of others. I also am sure that one day soon I can create art that addresses these issues and not only brings awareness but also change.

DtL: Is there anything you would like to add?
Florence: Art can change someone’s life, someone’s mood, someone’s beliefs. Think about when a movie made you cry, or a song made you happy. I, myself, will never forget the first time I was moved to tears by a photograph and how amazing of an experience that was for me. I believe everyone is capable of making art, and there are so many mediums. I hope that people do not feel limited by school, careers, or what they think they should do in life to make money or be successful, but remember to always try to tap into that creativity, you never know how it may affect someone.

http://www.flongala.com/

 

We spoke to Connie Chiu – the world’s first albinistic fashion model

DtL:  Hi Connie! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your story so far? 

Connie: I was born in Hong Kong, and come from a big family; I have three sisters and one brother. We moved to Sweden and grew up in a society where solidarity and equality was encouraged and taught in school. There I studied arts and radio journalism and never planned to become a model. My big sister studied fashion design and asked me to model for her college show – I enjoyed it and got good feedback from friends and family, so I wanted to see how far I could take it. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but there were people I admired in the industry and wanted to work with. I posted a black and white photo of myself with my name and phone number on the back to the French designer Jean Paul Gaultier. A few months later I was invited to Paris and did my second catwalk – for Jean Paul Gaultier! My career took off from there really; photoshoots for magazines such as Dazed and Confused, advertising, TV commercials…

DtL: What would you say has been your recipe for success?

Connie: Being myself. Don’t get me wrong, it takes time and work to get to know yourself and grow into the person you are happy and comfortable with. I think you work best with people if you are quite secure as a person, you can be open to new ideas and experiences on your own terms.

And good timing. When I first started modelling, there was no other model with my look, or albinism. I was quite surprised when a makeup artist called me a ‘pioneer’, on reflection, I suppose it was true. My priority and focus was to do good work, creating beautiful images.

DtL: How do you feel the media represents people with Albinism? What needs to change?

Connie: I don’t mind fairytale and science fiction inspired images, as long as there is variety and balance overall in the images and movie characters representing or represented by people with albinism. I can tell you from my own experience that these things matter and do influence people’s view on those with albinism. Many years ago there was a Chinese horror film featuring a character called ‘White Hair Devil Woman’; some Chinese people who thought I didn’t understand the language called me by this name. Last year, in a Chinese restaurant in Central London, a young Chinese waiter said to me that my hair was beautiful. ‘Like Frozen’, he added. ‘Thank you,’ I replied with a smile, ‘But no magic’.

 

unnamed-8

DtL: Have you ever experienced bullying or negativity based on attitudes towards your appearance? If so can you tell us what happened and how you overcame the experience.

Connie: I think some people make assumptions about me based on my condition and my appearance. I was not bullied in school, but every now and then, people try to provoke or upset me. Once I was in Hong Kong, travelling on the underground by myself and after a while I felt that someone was staring at me. The population in Hong Kong is mainly Chinese and not mixed, like for example, London is. So I do understand that some people in Hong Kong are curious and can’t help but look. But this was different. I turned around and glanced at a couple of women who were staring at me; their faces were twisted with anger and hate. The tension was tangible; they were standing a few feet from me. There were plenty of people in the carriage, and that probably stopped them from verbally or physically attacking me. How did I deal with that situation? Well, it became quite clear to me that their intent was to make me feel hated; it wasn’t enough that they hated me. So, I decided not to be bothered by them. I was calm and relaxed as if I hadn’t noticed them. They were strangers and I had not done anything to upset them. Their feelings and attitudes had nothing to do with me, but with their own issues. A few stops later, the two women were getting ready to get off the train. It was fascinating to see the change in their demeanour; they turned very timid, apologetic and almost scared of the other passengers as they carefully stepped off the train.

DtL: What challenges do you face and how do you overcome them?

Connie: My condition comes with some physical challenges, such as light-sensitive eyesight, and skin that is sensitive to sunlight. I have learnt to live with it. The same could be said about dealing with people’s attitudes, for example, there is a difference between staring and staring. Most people are just curious and are in general nice and positive. Others want to insult and make you feel inferior. Those people are in general, unhappy, frustrated, scared, and probably in great need of support and understanding.

DtL: Do you find modelling empowering?

Connie: It can be. I always ask and discuss ideas before accepting a modelling job.

In many ways it is more empowering to be an independent jazz vocalist. As a model, you portray and become part of someone else’s idea. But as a jazz vocalist, I choose the songs, the style and the image I want the audience to see.

DtL: Our research not only revealed that 47% of young people want to change the way they look, but appearance was also cited as the number one aggressor of bullying. What advice would you give to readers who may be struggling to embrace their appearance?

Connie: Would people who are happy and secure in their own skin bully other people? No. People that bully are always scared and often jealous. I would like to say to everyone, including those that bully others, don’t always believe what people say about you. Be strong, be kind and find your own way in life.

DtL: If you could go back in time what would you tell your younger self?

Connie: Keep going. You’re on the right track. Remember to be kind and treasure people who help you and love you for who and all that you are.

 

unnamed-9

DtL: At Ditch, we believe it is our differences that make us unique, and find they are often our strengths! What is the best thing about having albinism?

Connie: Not letting albinism define me. Not letting any one label define me. This may be surprising, but I think having albinism enables me to understand how complex identity can be. I appreciate all the things I am; not in any particular order, being Chinese, being a woman, growing up in Sweden and having a Swedish nationality, having albinism, loving jazz, being a chocoholic… I don’t want just one aspect of me to define and limit what I am, and what I want to do. I like my white hair, pale skin and violet eyes. But I also like my Chinese features. You see…complex.

DtL: What does the future hold for you?

Connie: I am in discussions with a photographer; we are planning to collaborate on a project – lots of close ups of face and body in beautiful landscapes. It will be on location, probably a beautiful beach somewhere. I love doing photoshoots on location.

I have just done an interview with a French magazine that will be published in a couple of months and I am also preparing for a gig next month singing songs from my debut EP, My Huckleberry Songs. I already have two music videos on YouTube and will release a new video soon.

So all in all, more modelling and more music. You can find my music on my YouTube channel.

http://conniechiu.com/

12-year-old YouTuber Nikki Lilly on positivity, bullying and life with AVM

DtL: Hi Nikki! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Nikki: I was diagnosed with a condition called AVM (a rare condition that’s characterised by an abnormal connection between arteries and veins) when I was six years old. It isolated me for a while, as I felt like a misfit and lacked in confidence but I realised I couldn’t let my myself live that way anymore. So, I took up new hobbies such as art, baking, makeup artistry and singing.

DtL: What inspired you to set up your own YouTube channel?

Nikki: I think being at home a lot more often got me feeling quite bored, and so my dad gave me the idea of starting a channel. It’s a great place to combine all of my hobbies.

DtL: What is it like to be so young with such a successful YouTube channel?

Nikki: It feels overwhelming and amazing at the same time! Four years ago I never in a million years thought I would get this far sharing my happiness and positivity with my viewers aka best friends.

DtL: Who taught you to do your makeup?

Nikki: I taught myself to apply makeup – I idolise the makeup artists on YouTube who have taught me more advanced makeup tips and tricks.

DtL: What are your most prominent challenges living with AVM, and how do you overcome them?

Nikki: To be honest, from a young age I have faced quite a lot of challenges, but the hardest and most isolating have been my life-threatening nose bleeds that can start any time, any place and just ruin my whole day. Just having AVM brings such intense, nauseating pain to my forehead and right eye/face. But, I always try and see the positives every day and try my best to take my mind off of my challenges by doing things such as yoga, baking and painting.

DtL: What advice would you give to others living with AVM? 

Nikki: Just know, although our condition is rare, there is someone facing the same challenges, and feeling the same feelings as you out there; it will get better – just try to remain positive and be the best version of yourself you can be, letting your beauty shine out of the inside.

DtL: Have you ever experienced bullying/trolling/cyberbullying? If so how did you deal with the experience?

Nikki: Yes I have been bullied – not physically, but verbally in person as well as online. The cons of having a YouTube channel is the hate and negativity projected towards any human being who isn’t deemed ‘perfect’. I get called ugly, chubby and some people tell me to stop making videos and to fix my face! But the funny thing is, these things used to get to me but now I just feel sorry for these haters because they have nothing better to do than to try and make others feel worthless. Really they are the ones with the actual insecurities.

DtL: What advice would you give to someone who may be experiencing bullying/trolling/cyberbullying?

Nikki: The people attacking you are actually really insecure and are not happy in their own life – they pick you apart to make themselves feel better, but they will soon realise that this behaviour won’t change the way they feel inside. You are beautiful inside and out, and the most powerful beauty you have is your inner beauty, so let it shine!

DtL: What has been your proudest moment so far?

Nikki: My proudest moments so far include winning a Diana Award for fundraising for a charity that my parents and I set up when I was seven to raise money and awareness for people living with AVM, and hopefully one day find a cure! Also, winning a WellChild Award in 2013 for being the most inspirational child in Britain – it was given to me by Prince Harry! And last but not least, getting through every day and trying my very best no matter what big bumps I might encounter along the way.

DtL: Is there anything you would like to add?

Nikki: Lastly take each day as it comes and don’t let negative people drag you down, do more of what makes you happy so you can be the best, kindest and most positive version of yourself!

 

Check out Nikki Lilly on her YouTube channel!

Louie Helyar on his trans journey so far…

My name is Louie, I am a 20-year-old trans man from Surrey.

This means I was born into a typical ‘female’ body, but on the inside I have always been male – I just had to transition to make my exterior a true reflection of my interior. I guess I first realised I might be trans when I saw ‘My Transsexual Summer’, a documentary about transgender people that aired on channel 4. I found myself incredibly jealous of Fox Fisher and realised that I wanted to be doing everything that he was doing.

I officially started transitioning on the day I came out; 31st March 2015 – which coincidentally is also Transgender Day of Visibility, a day dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide.

To be honest with you, I was absolutely terrified of coming out. To start with, I only told my best friend, and although he was extremely accepting of me, it took me about a year before I actually plucked up the courage to come out to everyone. I decided the best way to do it, was to come out on Facebook first – that way, I could tell everybody at once.

The response was no way near as bad as I expected – in fact, in the main, people were very positive and understanding. Of course, I have had my fair share of unaccepting and ignorant people but you have to take the rough with the smooth.

After I first came out, there was a period of time that followed where I felt really low and down about everything. Mainly due to the frustration of not being able to transition instantly. The waiting list on the NHS for transgender people is quite long, so I looked into other alternatives to speed the process up. I managed to save up some money to get the treatment privately. I started testosterone shots (hormone replacement therapy) on the 21st of December 2015 – a day that completely changed my life for the better. I then went on to have my first NHS GIC (Gender Identity Clinic) appointment on the 31st of March 2016.

Louie now!

I am now currently on a waiting list to be referred for surgery, which hopefully should be happening in about 8 month’s time.

Throughout my school life I was bullied a lot for being ‘different’, although I wasn’t even out as transgender at this point. I couldn’t pinpoint why I was different exactly, but I knew I was, and I guess others did too. It was a really tough time for me, but, things do get better and I could never have envisioned myself as happy as I am right now.

I am now making it my mission to help other transgender people; I hope that by sharing my story, there might be someone else out there who is going through something similar, that will find comfort and reassurance in reading this.

If I could go back in time and tell my younger self one thing, it would be to never put your happiness on hold because of someone else. It’s okay to be who you are, even if you don’t conform to what society (in the main) considers ‘normal’ – and if that means losing people along the way, then so be it, because they obviously weren’t meant to be there.

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

 

Written by Louie Helyar

 

If you would like to share your story with Ditch the Label, get in touch!

Meet the GRL PWR Gang, a collective of girls set for world domination.

We interviewed Artist/Designer Elizabeth Ilsley, Photographer/Director Millicent Hailes and Marketing Consultant Jessica Riches; just three members of GRL PWR Gang, a collective of influential women who have joined forces to promote female empowerment and support other women working in creative industries. 

Founded by Kirsti Hadley and Kylie Griffiths, the GRL PWR Gang works together to provide opportunities for like-minded women to come together for girl-chat, media networking, creative support, team projects and sharing of ideas.

Their objective is to encourage and inspire other young women to access the creative industries as a potential career path, and plan to pass on their collective knowledge to the next generation of young girls via digital engagement and live events. They will soon host talks and mentor young girls on body image, beauty, feminism, social media and how to access that dream job!

21728226-1657-4d50-8d60-46c769a6210d

DTL: Our research revealed that 35% of teenage girls believe that their gender will have a negative effect on their career. What are your thoughts on this, based on your experiences?

  • Jessica: It’s true. But if you’re prepared for that, you can be aware of it. Call it out when you see it, know your rights, educate yourself and join any organisations or unions available to you for extra support.
  • Millicent: It’s really sad. There have been shoots in the past where I have been mistaken for the assistant, and my male assistant is assumed to be the photographer, just because he’s an older guy. This has happened before we’ve even set up or spoken to anyone, so it really is based purely on gender, and who is perceived to be the most ‘capable’ or ‘powerful’. It frustrates me, but ignorance isn’t going to keep me from furthering my career.

DTL: Did you ever experience bullying? If so can you tell us what happened and how you dealt with it?

  • Elizabeth: Unfortunately, like a lot of people, I experienced bullying throughout primary and secondary school. I had ginger hair and have a prominent mole next to my mouth, so kids used to tease me constantly about my appearance. I was in such turmoil during that time; I tried to cut my mole off with a razor when I was in Year 8, after a group of boys wouldn’t stop calling me ‘moley’! But my god, I am so glad I never had it removed – having a noticeable mole on my face makes me unique, and it has become one of my favourite features now!
0acd7148-5c7c-4790-8a24-39cae1b55438
Elizabeth Ilsley
  • Millicent: One of the many times I was suspended at school, was for not intervening in a situation when I was aware that a girl was being bullied. Maybe the teachers thought that, because I was outspoken and confident, I should have stepped in and helped the girl. My mum always tells that story to my little brother and sister who are just starting secondary school – the tale of when their older sister was a coward. I still feel really awful about it now.
  • Jessica: All you have to do is go online to see the disgusting abuse directed at people – particularly women, LGBT+ people and ethnic minorities. I work with a number of bloggers, journalists and celebrities on their personal profiles online, and it makes them want to give up their platform. All you can do is tell them to focus on the people who are positively impacted by their words; they far outweigh the cowardly, unhappy few.

DTL: What advice would you give to someone who may be experiencing bullying right now?

  • Millicent: Tell somebody right away – a problem shared is a problem halved. Don’t isolate yourself, situations seem worse when you feel alone, there are people out there who are going through the same thing as you. More than you think.
  • Jessica: You are not alone. If you can’t get a support network in real life it will definitely exist online – Ditch the Label is a great example of this. You can visit their website and access support at the click of a button if you need to.

DTL: If you could go back in time, what one thing would you tell your younger self?

  • Elizabeth: You are not ugly. You are as funny and important as everyone else at school. There is no one else like you and life will get really, really fun as soon as you turn 18. Also, stop worrying about the colour of your hair and the socks that you wear.
  • Millicent: Embrace who you are. Wear weird clothes, watch weird movies. You’re great and don’t give a s*&% if someone says otherwise.
b014e2e3-4013-49a8-8886-f9b0c3269b47
Millicent Hailes

DTL: What are your most prominent challenges, and how do you overcome them?

  • Jessica: Being taken seriously as a young woman in business is hard. So many people have said to me ‘you’ve done so much for a girl so young’. They’d never say anything like that if I was a man.

DTL: What is it like to be a woman in 2016 and what needs to change?

  • Jessica: I have a very specific experience of being a woman in 2016, as a straight, white, cis-gendered woman with a degree and a middle-class background. I deal with sexist comments disguised as compliments, and have probably lost out on some income as a result of this – but I’m one of the lucky ones. There are lots of mainstream movements to make life better for women in 2016, but the majority of movements still need to broaden, listen to, and represent the needs of all women, not just those like me.
  • Millicent: Even in 2016 it’s important to remember how far we’ve come together, and how far we still have to go for gender equality and women’s rights.
  • Elizabeth: I want to keep this positive so, to be a woman in 2016 is…fun! Not in every aspect, of course, but in the main, it is incredibly fun! We are free to express ourselves, and there are opportunities out there for us – you just gotta find them.
79679007-3721-48ad-891d-200753df99a2
Jessica Riches

DTL: Is there anything you would like to add?

  • Millicent: I’m always available to speak to anybody that needs my help or advice. I might not be as good as Ditch The Label, but I’m still here!
  • Elizabeth: Enjoy being a woman – it’s a blessing, but don’t hate on men. Men are a blessing too!

Learn more about GRL PWR Gang here: Girls Girls Girls

aa8a6824-2595-4867-a59f-f8a2471e30d9

Read our full Gender Report here: https://www.ditchthelabel.org/gender-report-2016/

Whether you are being bullied, or you are aware of someone who is, Ditch the Label is here to help: https://www.ditchthelabel.org/get-help/