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Femininity and Baldness? Is not a contradiction
Femininity and Baldness? Is not a contradiction

Long hair used to be her trademark, today Sunniva Ferri poses with a bald head: The 24-year-old is open about her alopecia, an autoimmune disease, and wants to break stereotypes.

alopecia, hair, no hair, disease, bald,
alopecia, hair, no hair, disease, bald,

If you scroll through her Instagram feed, you see a confident, beautiful young woman. Sometimes she travels, sometimes she poses with other people. Sunniva Ferri often wears a scarf as a turban on her head in her photos.

It is her "favorite hairstyle", says the 24-year-old German since 2015 lost all of their body hair Has. Eyelashes, eyebrows, her long blond mane. But Sunniva no longer hides her bald head on social media - she is open about her rare autoimmune disease, a so-called alopecia.

bald, feminine
bald, feminine

Above all, she wants to encourage those women who live in not a classic ideal of beauty fit. Because at the beginning of her illness it was not easy for Sunniva, even as a young woman, to distance herself from social norms and prejudices. In her youth, her long hair was her trademark. Suddenly that was exactly what was no longer there.

"The whole story also has a certain irony," said the 24-year-old, who currently lives near Frankfurt. "Until a few years ago I was 'The one with the long blond hair'. Today I'm 'the one without hair'. "Sunniva remembers the first time with alopecia:" I found it difficult to look in the mirror. All I saw was the opposite of what 'beautiful' meant to me at the time."

Watch your own body change

It all started shortly after her 18th birthday. "That was when I discovered a small bald spot on the back of my head for the first time. At that time I was playing basketball for the German national team and the first Bundesliga, was in the middle of my Abitur and there was still a lot going on privately," says the prospective master's student. Soon the bald spots increased, after two months Sunniva had as good as lost all hair on her body."That was very uncomfortable. Watching your own body change in a short time and not being able to do anything about it," she remembers looking back. Sunniva does not want to call alopecia a disease, "because physically I am still very healthy. Therefore the diagnosis was not easy to process."

The causes of the autoimmune disease are little researched and mostly individual. The former top athlete suspects in her case Stress as a trigger: "In retrospect, my body has sent me signals over and over again, small to serious injuries during sport, for example. For a long time, however, I resisted seeing the clear connections between my physical and mental health." With the diagnosis she was ultimately forced to make radical changes in her lifestyle, to shift down a gear. At that moment it was important for her to gain some distance - especially from competitive sports.

I had to create a new picture of myself

"At the beginning I definitely didn't want anyone to find out about these changes," says Sunniva. In her opinion, one reason for her previous uncertainty was that there are hardly any pictures of hairless women in public who are not associated with illness, cancer or chemotherapy. "Bald and young woman didn't go together in my head at all. The word was for me mostly with negative connotations - actually wrongly. "When she and a friend decided to shave off the rest of her hair, it felt liberating at the same time:" For the first time, I was able to decide how to proceed for me."

From then on, in order to clear up any misunderstandings, Sunniva decided to deal openly with her alopecia. Also because you the role models were missing:"I didn't know any other women who had lost their hair. I had to design my own picture. A new picture. From me. And I wanted to start with that as soon as possible. "Today the 24-year-old wants to be a positive example for other women with similar strokes of fate and of course also to create awareness for the subject of alopecia.

"Recognizing your own beauty is only possible if we understand that it has nothing to do with the ideas of others."

Break through social norms

This also includes Redefine femininity and to look inward. For the student, being a woman now has less to do with external characteristics than with character traits. "Femininity is only the image of certain norms and characteristics that are ascribed to women. We live in a society that makes it difficult for people who look 'different' to accept themselves", criticizes the former top athlete. Your own self-worth and the to recognize your own beauty In their opinion, they can only succeed if we understand that these have nothing to do with the image and ideas of others.

Bald and young woman go well together

By publicly positioning herself as a bald young woman, the 24-year-old German wants to show that you are feel feminine even without hair allowed. "When you imagine a beautiful woman, what picture appears in front of your eyes? Probably a woman with long hair, thick eyelashes and full eyebrows. Many of those affected suffer enormously from this and hide out of fear not to be accepted. Not being 'feminine enough' anymore, "explains Sunniva. On social media, she wants to show that there are also beautiful, self-confident women with a bald head who can lead a completely normal life.

Sunniva doesn't know whether her hair will come back one day. "If that's the case, of course I'm happy, but I wait and hope not." Since she was diagnosed with alopecia, she has also gained a lot in life, she says: "If I've learned one thing, it's that Change is good. Change brings new opportunities and keeps us moving. And it is often more positive than we can imagine at the beginning."

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