Unhappy with your body? Visit a museum

your body

In her book Schön!, German philosopher Rebekka Reinhard writes that we particularly like what we are conditioned to like, what is familiar to us. And the fewer things we are exposed to, the harder it is to judge what’s beautiful and what’s not. 

Reinhard writes that beauty is very much like food: only someone with lots of culinary experience can judge whether a poached goose liver terrine with pears, kohlrabi and smoked pigeon breast goes better with a beer or Riesling wine. According to her, you can develop your skills of discernment with regard to your own body by going to museums more often.

Borrow the eyes of an artist – Rubens for example. For him, large bodies do not signal plumpness, but opulence, an open mind, a carefree spirit and joyfulness. If you can see that, Reinhard argues, you will also look at your own body in a friendlier and less inflexible manner.

  • In Issue 32, journalist Otje van der Lelij discovers how she can look at her body in a different way so she can love it again.

Text Otje van der Lelij  Illustration Lucy Driscoll