You can’t weigh beauty

I always had the feeling that social media were dominated by young women with a skinny frame and flawless bodies, thus setting the standards for “beauty”. But when scrolling through Instagram lately, I see more and more photos of overweight women proudly showing their curves and flab. They smile into the camera without any shame. And also pictures, in which models reveal the magic of photoshop, flexing and perfect lighting, fill up social media. “Where do they get their confidence from?” I asked myself. Then my eye hit the…


Body positivity is a movement used to show self-empowerment. It’s a way to liberate people from the social stigma of what a body should look like. It’s all wrapped up with the idea that even if your body doesn’t comply with what society deems to be beautiful, it isn’t necessarily something that needs to be fixed. Over the last few years, more and more people have become part of the movement. It promotes the idea that all bodies are beautiful, equal, deserves respect and that everyone should feel confident in their own body.



Unfortunately, not all bodies are treated in this way. Because of all the stigmas such as fat people being lazy, overweight people are hired and paid less on average. As a nation, we have to understand that not every body looks like perfectly-shaped fashion images. Not every woman is blessed with big breasts and no cellulitis. The social pressure to look the way society expects you to affects people of all sizes, but, in fact, many overweight people must deal with harmful comments on a daily basis.


Body positivity is often questioned by people who accuse the movement of simply glorifying obesity and sending people to an early grave. As a nation, we are overweight and this is a really huge issue. But making people feel miserable about themselves won’t work. And, fat shaming is extremely harmful and science has proven that it leads to weight gain. If you feel terrible every time you look in the mirror, you won’t be motivated to make a change. We need to accept our body before we can move in the right direction. For example, non-judgmental acceptance will allow people to make smart choices like adapting a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Shame on the other hand will just prevent them from fixing the problem and lead to irrational decisions such as crash diets. The sooner we accept the reality without adding extra negativity, the better we can deal with the situation.


For the people who have struggled with their figure for a long time, loving and accepting their body might seem like a Herculean task. One of the reasons is that our society and the media work against this acceptance by only showing flawless bodys, which isn’t an accurate representation of our society. And statements such as “real women have curves” and “strong is the new skinny”, only express how one body shape is superior to others. But by spreading the message that every body type is worthy of respect and by using models of all shaped and sizes, growing self-love would become easier. So, stop shaming others and show your body some love by accepting it with all its strengths and flaws!

Text & Pictures: Victoriy Fairley

What coming out taught me about tolerance

I’ve always thought of myself as a very tolerant person. I’m not a racist. I’m not scared of Muslims. One of my best friends is transgender. I could never even begin to understand how anyone could dislike a person just because of their skin colour, religious belief or sexual orientation. I told myself that there just had to be something seriously wrong with those people.


Welcome to the minority group

And then this happened: I came out. Now, here I am, newly out of the closet and getting used to being part of a minority group. I’ve never been different from what our society considers to be the norm. Only now do I realise how easy life is when you tick all the “normal” boxes. White? Tick. German? Tick. Christian? Tick. Heterosexual? No tick here.

What happens if you can’t tick all the boxes? That’s right, all of a sudden you depend on other people’s open-mindedness. But what I’ve learnt is that for my life to work out I’m the one who has to be tolerant. I can’t change the reality that some people are homophobic. For some reason I will probably never grasp, the thought of two girls or two boys loving each other is scary, revolting and wrong for some people. I could just stay away from homophobes, you might say. Why should I waste my time and energy on those people? But what do you do if those intolerant, homophobic people are people you love?


Here comes the life lesson

I came to the conclusion that if I deserve tolerance, so do others and I’m as much a recipient of tolerance as I’m a giver of tolerance. So far so good – now to the tricky part. It’s all quite honourable to decide that everyone deserves tolerance. But I can tell you it’s not as easy as it sounds. I always thought tolerance comes naturally to me because it perfectly fits into my worldview. However, when I came out to one of my closest friends who happens to be very religious it was the end of easy-peasy tolerance for me.

She told me that homosexuality could be healed if only you trust in God. I don’t agree. I believe with all my heart that if homosexuality was a life choice, there wouldn’t be any gay people left on this earth. Being gay sucks. It’s complicated, scary, exhausting. So when I sat there and listened to my friend tell me about her views that go against everything I believe I realised that tolerance is painful. It’s actually not a natural and easy thing. It’s horrible and upsetting and challenges your innermost values.


Be brave!


All the more reason to make an effort for it. My friend and I tried to understand each other. We failed. I don’t understand her and she probably has difficulty understanding me. But that’s OK. Because that’s where tolerance comes in and has helped us save our friendship.

Tolerance doesn’t mean agreeing with things you believe to be right anyway. That’s easy – anyone can do that. Tolerance means accepting people whose values you consider to be wrong and listening to opinions you ‘despise’. It’s only natural that people struggle with that. We just have to be brave enough – or should I say tolerant enough – to try anyway.



Author and Pictures: anonymous