In a world that bombards us with images of perfect bodies all day long, hardly anyone can escape the beauty craze. We stumble from one advertising hell into the next: posters, social media, television. Perfect bodies everywhere, requirements and rating. But what does that do to us and how much freedom can we take?
It is human nature to compare and so we try to emulate the perfected body image. Coloring hair, smearing creams, injecting Botox. If necessary, we’ll go under the knife. The industry of minimally invasive and invasive procedures is booming. Worldwide. But it’s difficult to get the right balance. The hateful comments quickly follow: “Too much make-up! She can’t move her face anymore! She looks like Madonna!” Anyone who indulges in the beauty craze is quickly seen as dishonest, superficial or attention-seeking. A woman who cannot defend herself against the demands that are placed on her body everywhere – whether by her own mother or by advertising – is often seen as not strong enough or anti-feminist. I ask myself: How much Botox can I put my political stance on?
In my opinion, we have more important things to negotiate than our beauty routines. Women still earn less than men, do most of the care work and have fewer orgasms. We suffer from spousal splitting, unsolicited hands on our butts, and significantly worse medical care that can be fatal.
Whether wrinkled or botoxed, whether limp or well-trained, whether with gray hair or make-up, I would wish that women* showed more solidarity with one another when it comes to bodies. Whether we look like Jane Fonda or Jane Goodall shouldn’t matter as long as our topics and content move. As we begin to embrace the bodies of others, we may also learn to be less critical of our own bodies and to enjoy the diversity that comes with it. Wouldn’t it be nicer to be able to be simple?
“The Eternal Unsatisfactory” by Saralisa Volm has been published by Ullstein Verlag (EUR 21.99).