We live in a society in which still not everyone is accepted and in which there are many expectations and judgments. Many people are struggling with themselves and there is an identity crisis going on. In this article you will read different perspectives on these subjects from researchers Jessica Alleva and Esther Jansen, among others.


Body Positivity

In the documentary: “Fair photo” by Miljuschka Witzenhausen, Jessica Alleva passes by. She researches how women look at themselves. That research shows that women are still very dissatisfied with their own bodies. The current ideal of beauty becomes more unrealistic, because we compare our own bodies with the bodies we see on social media. This is because we have lived our whole life in a ‘diet culture’ where The current ideal of beauty only becomes more unrealistic, because we compare our own bodies with the bodies we see on social media. For most people a positive body image is very difficult, I can confirm this myself. Between 30-50 percent of all women are not satisfied with their body or have a negative body image.

“Women are judged more strictly on the basis of their appearance than men”.

- Jessica Alleva (researcher)

Miljuschka Witzenhausen: “Sometimes I do have the feeling in the media world that I’m kind of the fat person in the classroom, who’s always cozy and eats well. But what’s crazy is that I’ve been completely trained. But then I was less satisfied with myself than I am now”. According to Jessica Alleva this is because many people think that being dissatisfied with your body is good. Because then you start to exercise more, eat healthier and live a healthier life. But actually it is the other way around: that dissatisfaction with the body leads to disturbed eating behavior, unhealthy thoughts, depression, less exercise, etc. And if you feel positive about your body and grateful, then you will feel more satisfied with yourself in general.

“By saying again and again how brave it is, you confirm just how important weight and appearance are”.

- Esther Jansen (psychologist & researcher)

The other side of Body Positivity

Body positivity originated as a movement that focuses on the idea that all bodies are good and can be seen. Esther Jansen said: “The annoying thing about body positivity is that it continues to emphasize weight, even if in a positive way”. It’s nice that on social media, in magazines and TV one shows a more diverse image, but it often has to be accompanied by a story of: “‘look at me brave with my fat role”. But without such a phrase it would be much more powerful. That’s when people really start thinking that weight doesn’t matter. Now you create an image where weight does matter. By emphasizing that ‘bravery’ every time, you still underline the importance of appearance, and weight in particular.

Be yourself

Being yourself is like having a beautiful, special, but fragile part in your heart. If you are not faithful to it, it gets hurt. Therefore, remember the following: Your identity does not consist of temporary, external things. In other words: If you are unemployed, don’t say to yourself that you are a failure. Or if your relationship goes out, it doesn’t mean that you haven’t earned that someone loves you. If you are yourself, it means that you have to feed yourself from the root, from everything you have experienced and felt, to form your own perspective of things in a positive and holistic way. What often goes wrong is that we prioritize the expectations of others. Or out of fear, afraid to disappoint someone for example. Something else that makes accepting yourself difficult is that we live in a society in which everyone condemns, judges and labels. People need labels and judgments in order to feel in control of others. If we label these people as strange and ridiculous, they will believe it and we will have more power over them. We may first allow ourselves to be controlled by unjustified statements that people make about us. So we have to take the step to see it for what it is: just empty words. Because what others say or think of you is their problem. It’s their own little world you shouldn’t influence, because the only thing that makes you happy is feeling free and being proud of yourself.

To change means we can grow in order to remain ourselves

Being comfortable with your own identity does not mean that it is fixed or unchanging. After all, anyone who refuses to change an aspect of themselves will not be able to grow. They will also not be able to adapt well to their environment. Carl Rogers was one of the most influential psychologists of the twentieth century. His humanistic approach has an unusual focus based on some essential ideas, namely: People develop their personality in order to achieve their life goals. And when we accept ourselves, we allow ourselves to change to fulfill our dreams. The art of being who we really want to be requires first of all that you accept yourself. Later, we move forward with each victory and each failure to continue to build our own identity.

“Inclusiveness has always been second nature to me”

- Rihanna (founder Fenty & singer)

Various characters

Getting new personas is like expanding new roads. Rihanna: I find it inspiring how you can use colors, makeup, makeup, textures to embody whatever you want”. For example, drag queens do this when they draw their lips and suddenly their whole posture changes. You can see and feel the self-confidence. There’s an enormous emotional attachment, and there’s an empowerment in them. We all have different personalities. There are so many different parts of us that collide and are intertwined, that’s powerful! Fashion is just an extension of expression, it’s your first impression you give and get from people. Rihanna has so many personas and roles in it, and sexuality and elegance. They all belong to her personality.  

- Images by Eva van Wolven


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