Yes, it’s nice to see that models like Ashley Graham, Angelina Kirsch or Sarina Nowak are appearing more and more often on the catwalk, despite being far from a dress size 36. Additionally, influencer and activist Melodie Michelberger is presenting her curves on a cover – in a bikini, mind you. But before we start celebrating this, we should stop and ask ourselves: why the hell are we celebrating something that should be totally self-evident? But somehow isn’t. Worse, overweight or very slender people are still socially othered or even face hostility. We say: let’s stop this crap!
Look, the skirt does not do anything for her figure either” or “Did you see how thin she is, she probably has an eating disorder” … Honestly, if the attention we pay to other people’s bodies was put into something really important, the world would be a better place.
PR manager and influencer Melodie Michelberger, who founded the “trustthegirls.org” platform and is committed to body positivity, knows the pattern from an early age: “Body shaming has been a recurring theme throughout my life since my childhood, unfortunately as a child I was teased because of my figure, today similar messages pile up in my mailbox, and since I’ve been active on Instagram and in significant campaigns, I regularly get hurtful messages and discriminatory comments on my body. “
So we learn from an early age that to be beautiful, a normal body has to be slim. How do we break the cycle then?
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What is body shaming exactly?
To make it clear: we are talking about tough discrimination. Those who do not conform to the social norm run the risk of being confronted with prejudice, criticism or even malice. And the optical social norm in our culture is a slender body. In numbers: According to a DAK survey, 71 percent of Germans find overweight people unaesthetic.
For overweight people, this often brings other restrictions in everyday life. Often they struggle with prejudices, e.g. they are less trusted in the job. They themselves often feel inferior and have problems opening themselves in love. Especially women often feel reduced to their appearance. No wonder in a world where TV shows like GNTM suggest to young women to be “dizzy” with dress size 38. This is a clear case of body shaming, because it reinforces the social picture that only a slender body is a beautiful body. Melodie confirms: “How deep thieving is in most of us shows how we use the words ‘fat’ or ‘fat’, in the best case as descriptive adjectives, without judgment, at worst they are abusive words or are meant to express inadequacies. “
What we totally lose sight of is what a marvel our body is and that the most important thing is to keep it healthy and not necessarily slim. Men are also struggling with body shaming, albeit in rarer cases. A man is forgiven for a “small beer belly” most of the time. Many men define themselves through a muscular, well-toned body and those who can’t keep up with it often feel bad.
What can we do against body shaming?
First, we should say goodbye to the image of a perfect body, because perfection is purely a matter of definition. As cliché as it sounds, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Let us begin to focus on ourselves instead of others, lovingly. Let’s stop focusing on supposed blemishes, and let’s focus on what we love about ourselves. Let us celebrate our body for carrying us through our everyday lives. Self-love is the only good answer to body shaming. In addition, we should make one thing clear: this supposed perfection, which we encounter every day in social media, is 90 percent illusion – conjured up by filters and Photoshop. These ideals, which we so often chase after, do not exist at all. It is all the more important to celebrate influencers like Melodie who show us that every person is beautiful.
“It’s important not to make people who are fat feel like their body is an imposition. By the way, every fat, overweight person knows what she looks like. Comments on weight or appearance are a no-go and insidiously packaged body shaming. There is not a single reason justifying body shaming, not a single one. “
- Stop chasing alleged ideals. Everyone has their own ideal, so it’s important to feel in yourself how you want to be yourself.
- To love your own body, you have to understand it. Masturbation is a helpful tool to learn to love yourself. And orgasms are true self-confidence boosters.
- Health is the new beauty: look after your body, feed it as healthily as possible, and exercise it sufficiently – these are the fundamentals. Being extremely overweight or underweight can be health risks against which you should do something. Ultimately, it’s about a completely healthy body.