Have you ever looked at someone’s images on Instagram and thought, “Why is he/she so perfect?” Seriously, there’s no one in this world who is perfect, right? Or is there?
Look at the pictures of most Instagrammers. Their skin is perfect, their bodies look like they have been sculpted, and their hair seems to have been done by professionals. The old me would have been tempted to say something snarky but since this column is about positivity, let me just say this: These Instagrammers need to look perfect or they’ll be criticized for being fat and/or ugly.
For instance, I don’t really blame beauty influencers when they edit the photos that they post online. Using Photoshop on a blemish or two isn’t something we should judge anyone over. In fact, I wouldn’t judge anyone for using Photoshop to make themselves look slimmer/more toned/beautiful/more attractive than they really are unless these photographs make young people feel bad about their looks.
Children shouldn’t be on Instagram or online without strict adult supervision, but let’s be real—they’re there. Do you know why so many YouTube content creators are so popular? Do you wonder why they don’t lose followers even when they do objectionable things? That’s because their followers are children who have access to their parents’ credit cards and PayPal accounts. Thus, they can buy merchandise or apps that these creators are hawking.
When their favorite content creators post pictures of themselves in bikinis looking hotter-than-hot, children most likely will think, “Why don’t I look like that?” I know this for a fact.
I have the utmost respect for people online who try to promote a positive body image and not make children feel bad about themselves. Sara Puhto (@saggysara on Instagram), a Finnish fitness blogger, tells the truth about the booty and bikini pics that make us green with envy.
“You shouldn’t compare your everyday self to someone’s highlights on Instagram,” said Puhto in one of her posts.
I love how Puhto posts side-by-side photos on Instagram tagged “Instagram” and “Reality.”
“Don’t let society pressure you into thinking you need to change your body in order to be happy. You don’t need to crash diet or start working out excessively just to look good for summer!!!!!!!! We constantly see filtered, flexed bikini bodies on Instagram. But in reality nobody walks around life posing and flexing all the time with a filter slapped on,” said Puhto in one of her posts.
In the said post, Puhto showed two images of herself: one with a bubble butt and another with a normal one.
Perhaps one of Puhto’s most popular photos is one showing her in a red two-piece lying on her back vs. another of her lying sideways. This was the post that made me hit the “Follow” button.
“You know when you lie down on your back and feel leaner than normal, but when you lie on your side and all your tummy fat gathers together, and all of a sudden you feel slightly insecure? Well, you shouldn’t because it’s a completely normal thing that happens to everyone!! I used to get upset seeing all these lean people posing like the first photo and comparing it to my body while lying in bed like the second photo. Our bodies look different in different positions. We should love our bodies both ways because there is nothing wrong with either of them!! We can’t compare our bodies to anyone’s. We’re all unique and we all come in different shapes and sizes. No one is better than someone else because of their body. We are all equal. Our bodies do not define our worth and we should not let our insecurities control our everyday thoughts. You are amazing the way you are and you don’t need to change yourself!!” said Puhto in her caption.
Louise Aubery (@mybetter_self on Instagram), a French fitness blogger, is also someone who is helping women realize that being too critical of oneself is one thing we should all stop doing.
Like many body positivity advocates, Aubery walks the talk. She is not afraid to show her flaws, including a little pot belly sometimes.
“Years where I focused on what bothered me, where I wondered why it was like this and not like that. Until I realize (sic) one thing : there will ALWAYS be someone leaner than you, there will always be someone tanner than you, there will always be someone more toned than you. So why spend so much time comparing yourself to it and despising your own body for not being that way? Why not put this energy into accepting this body of yours and learning to celebrate its difference?” said Aubery in one of her Instagram captions.
The next time you feel bad about your body, remember that influencers like Puhto and Aubery have bared their souls (figuratively) to make us understand that what we see online is not always reality. While there is nothing wrong with posting only what looks good, we as the audience should learn how to discern.