I Want to See More Diversity in the Media

Lena Riedl avatar

by Lena Riedl |

Share this article:

Share article via email
skin, challenges, diversity, EB community, Rare Disease Day, 2020, love

This month, I want more diversity.

I want to see more reality in the media and in advertisements and commercials. Show us real people who have stretch marks, scars, and imperfections, because that’s normal.

Normalize different body types

I want society to normalize different body types and to stop body shaming. I want people to accept that beauty has nothing to do with size, weight, skin color, or hairstyle. You don’t have to look a certain way to be accepted, but it’s important to find your way. Look inside, listen closely, and find a lifestyle that makes you happy and helps you accept your body the way it is. Don’t try to be, or look like, someone you are not.

Forget beauty norms

Beauty norms are just a social construct. Show people in wheelchairs and people with missing limbs — not to emphasize or put their disabilities in the spotlight, but to show that they are completely normal. It is a part of being human. What’s normal should be accepted as normal! Show how different humans are and how beautiful these differences can be.

Lena Riedl by Ricarda Ravena

Portrait of Lena Riedl. (Photo by Ricarda Ravena)

Instagram vs. reality

A few days ago, I shared my thoughts about diversity on Instagram, along with a photo of me that my friend Ricarda took. I received a very rude comment, and couldn’t help but start a discussion. The person told me not to post pictures like this, because they are “disturbing.” He said he didn’t want to see reality, only fake and surreal beauty. This person told me to switch to another platform, where I can focus on “inner beauty.”

I had to stand up for myself and defend the part of my life that’s been my greatest insecurity. I told the commenter that it’s OK if he doesn’t find scars beautiful — no one is forcing him to. But I will never accept someone telling me to hide my scars, avoid posting pictures of my body online, or censor myself in any way.

I don’t want to create new beauty standards and force everyone to like the same things. I do want to change the perception that physical beauty equals perfection. I hope to open minds, encourage broader ideas about what beauty means, and help people realize that beauty has so many facets. Luckily, different people like different things.

My reality

For most of my life, I have been very lucky and never really had to deal with bullying. But of course, there have been a few people who have said mean things about my skin and scars. Because I live with epidermolysis bullosa, a rare, genetic skin condition, my skin blisters and rips easily. Therefore, I have a lot of scars.

I’ve come to terms with my scars. They belong to me. They tell my story. Of course, sometimes I feel insecure and think about hiding them, as I’ve previously written. But I try to challenge myself to be strong and not hide my scars. Why hide something that is natural and human?

Change

I can see that change is happening. Society is becoming more accepting of various body types, skin colors, and origins. That is a big step, but we should not stop there. We need to fight for what is right, fight for what is real. I am so happy that I am surrounded by people who support and inspire me on my journey.

***

Note: Epidermolysis Bullosa Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Epidermolysis Bullosa Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to epidermolysis bullosa.

Comments

Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.