Idols and Ideals

After a few hectic months of completing exams, writing my thesis, doing an internship and ultimately graduating cum laude with my master’s degree, I finally have time to do other things, like reading the Vanity Fair issue of November 2013. It has a feature in it about Jay Z that, surprisingly, changed the way I perceive idols and ideals.

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Bikini Battles

Spring is in the air! You can tell from the summer sounds that fill the city, people filling terraces, and waiters filling the customers’ empty beer glasses. A rosy blush from the sun on their cheeks; pictures of flowers and sunglass-selfies on social media. People lying in the park with magazines — magazines that will soon feature “Ten Ways to Get that Bikini Body” and “Twenty Tips to Get in Shape for Summer.”

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“You’re Too Thin”

Whenever people told me I looked good once I started recovering (read: gaining weight), I felt awful. While they genuinely meant to express what they said — after all, I didn’t look like a walking skeleton any more — I translated “you look good” as “you clearly gained weight” and on bad days as “you look fat.” Yet when someone told me I was too thin, I beamed. That was the biggest compliment they could give me, and the fact that so many women interpret these three devilish words similarly is, I think, rather worrisome.

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The Contradiction of Self-Criticism

“I’m having a bad hair day,” I tell my boyfriend on a very regular basis. Because really, when do I have a good hair day? Almost never, for I am my worst critic. My boyfriend, however, looks at my hair, then seems confused since he does not see the difference with yesterday’s hair (which he liked). This is the problem: I am so absorbed by my own self-criticism that I counteract what I want to achieve: a better version of me.

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