Why am I ugly 1

Karlsruhe resident photographs for more self-acceptance: "I'm not that ugly!"

Body positivity in front of the camera

"But you've gotten pretty fat." The Karlsruhe photographer Sabrina Kugler was fed up with such comments. "I was fed up with being told how to look. What to weigh," she says. As a photographer, she also wants to help other women "end the war against themselves."

Sabrina Kugler grew up as many grow up: with comments on her body and supposedly well-intentioned advice such as "just do more exercise". "I've always had a lot to do with weight fluctuations," says Kugler today. In the summer she didn't dare to wear short clothes and preferred to sweat rather than provide a target for comments about her body. But at some point that came to an end.

"Is it a privilege of slim women that they don't have to sweat as much as I do?", Asked the Karlsruhe woman. She gives the answer herself: "Feeling comfortable in your own skin shouldn't be a privilege for people with a certain BMI or a certain size of clothing."

Kugler has only been working part-time as a photographer for almost a year and started "Die Knipserei". However, she makes a clear distinction between commissioned work for payment and project work, which is always free of charge. "That's where I want to live, that's where my heart is," says Kugler.

The photographer launched such a heart project in the summer of 2019. Using the hashtag "# grlpwr2019" - an abbreviation for the English word "girl power" - she specifically called on those women to appear in front of the camera who do not correspond to the current ideal of beauty.

At first, Kugler mainly addressed women who wear plus sizes. However, when women with other body shapes followed her call, she expanded the project. One participant was previously bullied because of "her small bust". Some of the models already had experience in front of the camera, others dared for the first time.

Counteroffensive to the slimming mania

Kugler knows from his own experience in front of and behind the camera that this is not necessarily easy. "There is often a lot of shame there," she says. Women feared they might be too fat and wondered what others might think of the photos.

"Often the self-perception is simply disturbed," says the photographer. "The women think they look in the pictures as they see themselves in the mirror. I hear sentences like 'But I'm not a model at all'. But women don't see themselves the way I see them when I press the shutter button. "

The problem with self-acceptance

"The first ten pictures never work," Kugler knows from experience. That was also the case with the "grlpwr" shootings. The reason is the excitement, especially with those models who are in front of the camera for the first time. "But when you show the women the pictures on the camera and they see that they are going to be good, something changes," explains the photographer. Then there is usually an "aha moment". "I'm not that ugly" is a sentence that Kugler often hears.

The photographer considers a lack of self-esteem to be a major problem in society, which men and children do not exclude. Women, however, tended to be more severely judged. "Many companies would suddenly be bankrupt if all women were at peace with themselves at once," believes Kugler.

Larger project planned for 2020

A large project on the subject of self-acceptance and "body positivity" is also planned for 2020. Together with other photographer colleagues, Sabrina Kugler would like to bring out a calendar this time. The proceeds will be donated to charity, for example a women's shelter in the region.

"It's always nice to see women's self-confidence grow," says Kugler. Therefore, your initiative for self-acceptance should not remain a one-off. She is convinced: "Women have made themselves small long enough."