I’m not sure what happened but overnight, about a month ago, I decided I wanted my hair to be lighter and my skin to be darker. I haven’t dyed my hair in years, at University I was shamefully platinum-practically-white blonde, shameful because it’s a hair shade that simply clashes with my complexion. Once in Paris, many years ago I spontaneously dashed into a Toni & Guy and left with a boldly blonde set of highlights, especially for some bizarre music festival I attended all weekend. So this week, while it rained outside I sat for hours at an adorable hairdressers here in Barcelona, on a tiny side street in Born. I walked out with hair a little bit lighter and a boyfriend curious to see if I had chopped all my hair off like I jokingly said I would. Now, perhaps you’ve noticed or perhaps you haven’t, but I feel like I accidentally stumbled into a 2016 makeover, a word I hate but I can’t think of an alternative. I’ve lost a little bit of weight, I shifted my personal style into a slightly different direction and now my hair is lighter against skin suspiciously dark even for winter in Spain. There has been incredible criticism of these changes I slowly began to make; my lips and weight are so avidly commented on, it makes me sad – and I’m not solely referring to the online world but people in my real life too. While I undoubtedly take an interest in my physical appearance, I don’t believe it is a topic open for discussion be it on instagram or between friends or even, family members. I look how I look and sometimes I change how I look and that has always been a conscious decision I took and one I consider internally, I don’t feel the need to seek approval from anyone other than myself. And yet, many times over the last two months, I have engaged with these unsolicited observations; from the body shaming to the anger and even concern from people I perhaps met once for 15 minutes, 3 years ago at a dinner party I can’t remember. Recently, I decided to just halt all responses and ignore- but I’m still upset, upset that we as a society find it perfectly acceptable to offer our opinions on other women and how they look. I see it all the time and especially online. To me it feels as if simply being female and simply taking pride in our physical appearance renders us available and open to public opinion, be it a man on the street to a fellow female suggesting we are too skinny or too fat or whatever other uselessly cruel comment. It has to stop. How someone else looks is no one’s business but their own, and we all are struggling, grabbing at the self confidence that outside influences faithfully erode away. I will never understand why anyone would want to elicit further doubt in a woman’s undeniably, already holed self-image. We as women are essentially like swiss cheese when it comes to self-confidence, solid but faithfully pierced. And the commentary doesn’t stop so neither do the holes. But as a blogger, this ongoing discussion regarding my appearance especially affected me, I was close to tears last week. You see, I have put incredible effort into marking my online presence as a friendship with you, divulging my realities, truths and experiences I have had as a woman. I sit here and re-write and write again words in hopes that they speak to you. I aim to be your friend; not someone you idolize or look up to but rather, someone just like you. Now I’d never criticize how any of my friends look – instead opting to lift them up and make them feel good about the chic clothes they wear or the curls they spent hours putting in their hair. So when I started feeling judged in a way no friend would judge, it made me realize that I’m probably just another blogger and there are a lot of people who don’t even read what I write but just look and shop and sigh because perhaps they think I’m kind of pretty. And that right there is a summary of everything I absolutely do not want to be. I’d like to feel comfortable enough here online to lose weight, gain weight, shave my head and all sorts without initiating a critical commentary. Because how I physically look isn’t why I blog, the size of my thighs or colour of my skin, be it pale or too tanned should not be what people take away from the content I produce. Those sorts of things are not to be judged by anyone, we do not get a voice when it comes to someone’s skin and bones. That stuff is sacred and internal and we all as a society should learn how to stay silent. We seriously need to shush.