L “m beautiful. Period. Yes, quite read. I find myself beautiful; me and my body, my hair in the morning and my belly in the evening, my thighs in the light of the changing room and my scar on my left knee. Beyond subjective and objective, and far from the number of licks for my last Instagram picture.”
Do you recognize yourself in these words? If you are one of the women who recently stated in our online survey that they think they are beautiful – guaranteed. And that was quite a lot.
Two thirds of our readers find themselves beautiful. Yes!
The large number of women who considered themselves attractive – 67 percent to be precise – is in our opinion a great result and a hopeful step in a good, healthy direction. After all, we know that unconditional self-acceptance is probably one of the hardest tasks in the lives of women.
In a time when the comparison with apparent flawlessness threatens everywhere and in a society that fights laughter lines with nerve poison, love for oneself and especially for one’s own body is a rare commodity. We want to contribute to this with our themes and stories. Obviously we succeed with many of you!
No more false ideals: This is how we define fitness
Even if our survey with about 1000 participants on WomensHealth.de neither claims to be representative nor reflects the cross-section of the women’s world – we are pleased about this signal nevertheless. For example, if we look at an international study from 2015, in which around 9000 women were surveyed on behalf of Philips, we get a very clear impression of the self-love of many women out there: just 4% of those surveyed said they thought they were pretty themselves.
Why Body Positivity and Body Acceptance are not hollow phrases
A similarly sad picture emerges from a study by two media scientists at the University of Leipzig, who concluded that 67 percent of the young women they surveyed (average age 21.5 years) would feel pressured by Instagram to be in better shape. Just over half of them felt they had to reduce their own body fat percentage and 43 percent said they felt they had to look thinner.
And our own survey also reveals that for 38 percent the comparison with others has a significant influence on their own body awareness.
A critical look in the mirror is allowed, but it should never be too critical © Ollyy / Shutterstock.com
For us at Women’s Health, the results of this survey are particularly important because we deal with the topics of body perception, fitness and weight loss on a daily basis. We know how important it is to differentiate between the desire to be fit and healthy – and the unhealthy compulsion to conform to a body ideal that is neither medically desirable nor in any way realistic.
How you learn to love yourself
It is undisputed that sport and exercise, mental strength and a good body image are important for a healthy life. It is not for nothing that 60 percent of our survey participants stated that they would feel particularly self-confident, especially after training. But what the results of the survey show us above all is that Body Positivity and Body Acceptance are not hollow terms that may sound good, but in the end have little effect.
Not because our readers simply think everything is great in itself – 74 percent alone said they would like to lose a few kilos on their hips – but because they don’t let these few kilos spoil their mood and certainly don’t start to question their beauty.
Mental health and social networks: How do they fit together?
“There will always be people who don’t like me, no matter how much I weigh”
One person who not only uses terms like body positivity in hashtags, but lives every day with all her heart is Charlotte Kuhrt (www.beautynotsize.com). The Berliner works as an art director, blogger and curve model and with her Instagram account beautynotsize now reaches around 85,000 subscribers. Anyone who looks at her pictures on the net will quickly notice: a radiant laugh and an incomparably beautiful charisma have nothing to do with dress sizes, but with an inner attitude towards life.
“It wasn’t always like that,” admits the 26-year-old today quite openly, “When I started out as a make-up artist five or six years ago and had to deal with these supposedly perfect bodies every day, it did something to me. At some point, I based 90 percent of my day on what I eat.” Charlotte gained weight from time to time, most recently 20 kilos after a burnout. Eventually, the young woman got tired of striving for what she thought was perfection.
“I understood that there will always be people who don’t like me, no matter how much I weigh,” she says today.
10 reasons to find yourself great
One of her leading figures in this period was plus-size model Ashley Graham. The pretty brunette almost knocked her down at the time and aroused in Charlotte the thought that there are no laws between beauty and body measurements. “I suddenly realised that if I thought this woman was beautiful, I could find myself beautiful.” That moment more or less changed everything in Charlotte.
She began to find herself beautiful, finding pleasure in showing herself, trying new things and appearing confident. Not overnight, but every day a little bit more.
Today she is happy to receive feedback from women who write to her to encourage them. Be it because they suddenly dare to wear a dress in summer or to go to the beach in a bikini – without feeling bad. Or because the written words of anonymous critics on the net no longer hurt so much and sometimes even bounce off them completely. But there’s one thing Charlotte is most important in the trend for body positivity: that it’s not just a trend that’s easy to market, but that is filled with content.
“The downside of this movement is that many people think we want to propagate obesity. That’s absolute nonsense,” says Charlotte, “I also do sports, eat healthy and keep fit. The fact that I wear a size 48 dress is no contradiction.”
Avoid people whose favourite subject is their own body
Your tip for all women who are still struggling with themselves and their bodies: First of all, question your own social media behaviour and avoid the people who make you feel uncomfortable. By the way, this also applies to the offline circle of friends: If you are constantly surrounded by people who criticize you and whose favorite topic is your own body – please stop and ask yourself if these people are good for you or if they don’t pull you down sooner!
Charlotte’s strategy in such cases: “Stand up and say `Stop! It’s insulting` and if necessary just walk away.”
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She also advises: “Just try it out and be bold.” No matter whether it’s a short skirt or bright red lipstick – the more often you jump over your own shadow, the more you give kind people the opportunity for an honest and heartfelt “You look great!”. And what could be more encouraging than a compliment from the heart?
Tip: In her blog post “How to gain more Confidence” Charlotte gives great tips on what healthy self-confidence can look like in everyday life. Absolutely worth reading!