Illustration Susanne Gold, text Johanna Schlemmer
It is the year 2122: I stand in front of the mirror and look at my body. At first without judgments. Then I speak to it with loving affirmations. Just at that moment, an Instagram message pops up on my phone. “You are enough the way you are!” reads a comment from a follower.
100 years ago, in 2022, that would have been hard to imagine.
Back then, society was thoroughly dominated by beauty ideals. Please an hourglass figure with a flat stomach far removed from reality, full lips, long eyelashes and pure baby-soft skin. Everything was seen and demanded – except the authentic and natural self.
Of the agony of having to live with beauty ideals
The beauty ideals put endless pressure on humanity, especially on young people. No matter if girl or boy. One always got the feeling of not being enough. It went so far that many suffered from mental illnesses like depression. But not only that. Eating disorders became more and more of an issue. Many slipped into anorexia because the compulsion to have a wasp waist was too great. But some also fell prey to sports mania or became ill with bulimia. People defined themselves only by their outward appearance. Calories were a thousand times more important than one’s own health. Going out to eat in the evening no longer had anything to do with enjoyment, but became a real compulsion. For pictures one put oneself naturally perfectly in scene: Just look good, pull in your stomach, hold your breath, purse your lips, smile and snap!
The way we are, we are right
Back to the future: Today, this would hardly be imaginable. Calories are no longer found on products. Nor are we judged by our appearance. What matters much more is how people treat and encounter themselves, others and the environment.
Diets, shakes and weight loss programs are foreign words to us today. There are also no more weight scales. After all, what does body weight tell us? It’s just a number that doesn’t define us. What would we need all that for? We are perfect the way we are. We don’t want to change anything anymore.
Instead of forcing yourself to go to the gym, grab your family and preferably your pets and go for a long walk in nature. Completely free of worries.
In the past, people still fought over who was the most beautiful. This competition went so far that bodyshaming was practiced and hate comments were posted on the Internet.
In the meantime, there are no longer even beauty filters. A ban on excessive image editing has also been introduced to prevent young people from being presented with an image of beauty that is far removed from reality.
Instagram or even any other social media platforms became a permanent source of inspiration for a healthy, casual and happy lifestyle.
A boon for (performance) society
Now, of course, the question arises whether the end of a beauty ideal affects other areas such as performance. The answer is YES. People have learned to accept themselves as they are – with all their weaknesses and strengths. This is also how they treat others. It becomes a harmonious coexistence. Everyone learns from everyone else. Performance in the sense of “being better and more beautiful than the other” no longer plays a role.
Of course, it will take further decades until these obsessive thoughts and behavioral patterns of beauty ideals are completely worked out. But step by step we are moving in the direction that health is our highest value. What we can continue to do? Turning our gaze from the outside to the inside and focusing on the essentials.