Let’s be real: Loving your appearance is hard enough, but when you throw social media into the mix, it can really make you obsess over your imperfections.
Between perfectly airbrushed influencers and flattering filters, there’s a lot that our feed can do to make us feel bad about ourselves.
Plus, when it’s summer, and you’re constantly scrolling through model-worthy bikini pictures, it can be difficult not to draw unhelpful comparisons with your own body.
Thankfully, a fresh wave of body positivity is sweeping Instagram, with a new viral trend that’s shining a light on the fact that women’s bodies look different all the time, and that we shouldn’t feel ashamed when we don’t look our best.
It started when people would post perfectly posed and filtered shots side-by-side with a more realistic version of themselves — sans perfect angles and filters — and attach the hashtag ‘#instagramvsreality.’ The idea was that what we see on Instagram isn’t always the reality, thus, encouraging women to stop judging themselves whenever they see images of people who seem prettier, more fit, and with less cellulite.
It also brought awareness to the many Photoshop apps that can drastically morph your body into a photo that looks more glamorous, but perhaps not a true depiction, thereby perpetuating these unattainable beauty standards.
Apps like these are dangerous and can play with women’s self-esteem as they’re scrolling.
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These kind of BODY EDITING APPS are so GOSH DARN DANGEROUS. In less than TWO MINUTES, I got rid of my bloat. Grew a bum. Eliminated my back bulge. Smoothed away my stretchmarks. And created a shinier, glossier me. Here’s where the danger comes in. I LOVED the original photo. Loved it. But in this app, I started picking apart all that society tells us are ‘flaws’. I fixed this and changed that. And created a reality that I could never actually live up to. I think this is more dangerous than seeing perfection in movies or magazines. Because somehow, it is more personal. More intimate. It creates a comparison between us and ‘us’ And sets up a competition where ultimately no one wins. I’ve seen people recently shame those who use these kind of apps. ‘We know your body is different.’ ‘We know you don’t look like that’. For me, I feel no anger there. To edit yourself like this, to constantly know in your heart that the ‘you’ others celebrate and applaud is pretend, requires a deep-rooted insecurity and fear. I should know. I’ve been there. I just want to remind you of how filtered social media is. But more than that, of how CAREFUL YOU must be with technology like this. Apps like these promise a quick fix or a bit of fun, But they often dull all that is real in the same breath. And darling, you? The real you? The bloating, smiling, incredibly happy you? That deserves to be seen. That deserves to be shared. That was already perfect from the start. PHOTO by the amazing @chiclebelle and snapped at @ritzcarltondubai #instavsreality #instagramvsreality #socialmedia #selflove #selfacceptance
But Instagrammers soon caught on to the innate flaws in the ‘Instagram vs. Reality’ hashtag and have since moved the conversation forward. Although they might look similar, it differs from its viral predecessor in that posters are adamantly celebrating all the versions of your body in the good and the bad angles.
Dubbed ‘Reality vs. Reality’, people will post a ‘posed’ and ‘relaxed’ photo side by side, along with an empowering statement based on the assumption that our bodies are real and beautiful whether they’re posed in the perfect, Instagram-worthy shot or a less flattering one. The point is: it’s still your body, and thus, all of it should be celebrated.
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What you see vs. what you don’t. 👀 Our bodies are still our bodies, and they’re perfect in any form! Credit: @danaemercer ✨💜 . . . #beautystudio #beauty #instavsreality #realityvsreality #body #bodypositive #women #womenempowerment #summerbody #stretchmarks #cellulite #loveyourself #feminist
“I don’t care if you pose for photos or if you just hang out. Because posed or relaxed, arched or slumped, whatever you do with your body, it is still you,” writes Danae Mercer, Dubai-based influencer who is at the forefront of the movement.
“This is your body, looking different within 0.007 seconds as you turn briefly in the mirror. If you can love yourself at the ‘good angles’, you can love yourself at the ‘bad angles’, too,” added another Instagrammer, speaking on the trend.
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It’s not even Instagram vs. Reality, though.⠀ ⠀ It’s reality vs. reality. ⠀ ⠀ This is life. ⠀ ⠀ This is your body, looking different within 0.007 seconds as you turn briefly in the mirror. ⠀ ⠀ If you can love yourself at the “good angles”, you can love yourself at the “bad angles”, too. ⠀ ⠀ Don’t be mad at the angles. ⠀ ⠀ Embrace them.⠀ ⠀ This life is full of contrast. ⠀ ⠀ One minute you can be enjoying what you see. ⠀ ⠀ One minute you can catch a mirror glimpse that has the potential to derail you.⠀ ⠀ Your body is literally like 1% of your being. Don’t forget that. We are 99% everything else and like, 1% physical body. ⠀ ⠀ Treat it well, for sure.⠀ Move it often.⠀ Feed it well. ⠀ Hydrate it. ⠀ Let it feel the sunlight.⠀ Let it run and play and snuggle with your family. ⠀ ⠀ …but don’t allow the angles that show up in your life to make you feel any less amazing than you are, no matter what your size. ⠀ ⠀ #iamkeepfitwomen
While there is certainly no shame in posting a photo where you feel you look your best, it can be really refreshing to see women going against societal pressure and sharing the realities of their bodies. Stretch marks, cellulite, and all. Your body is still your body, and it’s beautiful in every form.