Weekdays 12.30pm

Saira Khan on Loose Women's Body Stories: 'I was brought up to never bare my skin in front of men'


'Coming from a Muslim background you had to hide your body and could not expose your skin. I was brought up to believe I should keep myself covered at all times to protect my modesty from the gaze of men and, if I was not careful, my body would bring me shame and disgrace.'

'I battled against my curves when I was younger as I didn’t want boys to notice me for being sexy. I was brought up to never bare my skin in front of men - it took me a long time not to feel guilty for wearing a dress or baring my arms.'

'As a Muslim teenager in 1980s Britain, I longed for the freedom of the light cotton dresses or shorts and T-shirts worn by school friends in summer. But it never happened.'

'Because in my religious community, those clothes would have branded me a harlot and signalled that I was offering sexual favours.'

'I have talked about being "touched up" when I was 13 years old and that experience led to a disconnect between sexuality and my body. I have never done a bikini shoot but I’m really excited and honoured to be part of this campaign, and to just be honest with other women about how I am.

'I firmly believe all women should be encouraged to celebrate their bodies. So I had no choice but to put my bikini body where my mouth is – wobbly tummy, scars and all.'

'We want all women, regardless of age, ethnicity, sexuality or ­religion, to celebrate their bodies and see post-op scars, birthmarks or stretchmarks as part of their unique life story.'

'I want to say "this is NORMAL" particularly to women of colour. Forget the airbrushed images you see. This is what I REALLY look like. I’m sticking two fingers up.'

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Loose Women Body Stories
Weekdays 12.30pm