In an age of social media and selfies, of pixel-perfect pictures and surgically-enhanced celebrities, the pressure to change our bodies can often seem overwhelming. We are told we should conceal the signs of ageing and get our figures back after pregnancy. We ought to perfect our complexions, build our biceps, trim our waistlines, cure our disabilities, conceal our quirks. More than ever before, we should contort our physical selves to prejudiced standards of beauty and acceptability. 

Join Clare Chambers (Intact: A Defence of the Unmodified Body), Catherine Simpson (One Body) and Mona Eltahawy (Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution) in this conversation about the pressures on women to conform and how, instead, we can nurture our authentic selves.

About The Authors

Clare Chambers Headshot

Clare Chambers

Clare Chambers is one of the most interesting and original philosophers in the UK today, known for her work on marriage and, as a member of the Nuffield Council, on bioethics. She has worked with the BBC, contributing to their Rethink series with an essay on the body and debating issues of offense with Jordan Peterson. She is Professor of Political Philosophy and a Fellow of Jesus College, University of Cambridge. The author of an acclaimed book, Against Marriage, she specialises in feminism, bioethics, contemporary liberalism and theories of social justice.

Headshot of author, Catherine Simpson

Catherine Simpson

Catherine Simpson is a novelist, journalist, memoirist, poet and short story writer based in Edinburgh. Her memoirs When I Had a Little Sister (2019) and  One Body (2022) have received outstanding critical acclaim for their honesty, clarity, sensitivity and humour, and for bringing a refreshing candour to taboo subjects. Her debut novel Truestory was published in 2015. In 2013 she received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. Her work has been published in vari­ous anthologies and magazines, published online and broadcast on BBC Radio. Born on a Lancashire dairy farm, she is now based in Edinburgh.

About The Journalist

Mona Eltahawy

Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning columnist and an international public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues and global feminism. She is the author of Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution. Her commentaries have appeared in several publications and she is a regular guest analyst on various television and radio shows.