As a backlash to all the fitness accounts on Instagram only portraying extremely fit models more and more private users have posted pictures of themselves that does not show them from their best angle. More and more users post pictures of what they naturally look like and not how Instagram and society want them to look like.
A lot of hashtags have been invented for the purpose of restoring self-esteem for everyone on social media, not only overweight individuals but also persons of normal weight. One of them is #effyourbeautystandards and are showing all kind of flaws according to the general idea of what beauty looks like. There are pictures of big thighs, stomachs without visible abs and loose skin on arms mainly on women but a few men have stepped into the revolution as well.
Photo by @ladyemathea on Instagram, containing #effyourbeautystandards including other bodypositive hashtags.
Not only people with flaws are posting pictures that show their true self. Fitness models have joined, too. They are showing their bodies when they are not posing for a shot and reveal that there is no such thing as perfection.
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Sometimes I look like the pic on the left, sometimes times I look like the pic on the right. – I don't always have abs or look lean and I'm never "perfect". . So many people are aiming for this idea of "perfection"… but what exactly is perfection? I used to beat myself up for not being perfect (whatever that is). I'd actually feel like my "worth" was less if I didn't look a certain way. My goal at one stage was to get rid of my belly fat so that when I sat I'd have no "rolls" – now I see how ridiculous and superficial I was being. Yes there's no denying, I like to look good, as most people do but it's not healthy when it becomes an obsession and your "self worth" is attached to your appearance. . I've just returned from being overseas for a month. I ate what I wanted and enjoyed it, I also gained a bit of extra body fat which isn't a big deal because my lifestyle nowadays isn't about restricting myself & I like it that way. 😝#noregrets . Life isn't perfect and neither are we. I love myself no matter how I look and it's this self love that motivates me to make changes in my life so I can feel my best… like exercising and eating nutritious food (& treats for mental health hehe). 😝 . I was once sitting at a fitness shoot and was told by someone (while pointing at my belly) "Fitness models don't have belly rolls when they sit" – I was so upset about this & felt so inadequate and this only led to me being more obsessed with being "perfect" or as "lean" as I could be. Nowadays I know better. My priority is how I feel mentally and physically and I won't sacrifice that to look a certain way OR to get the approval from anyone else! . Please consider what goes into a photograph you see online or in magazines… and also what goes into looking a certain way, for example; posing, angles, lighting & even photoshopping! A lot of what we see in these images is not "healthy" or "realistic" and comparing ourselves will never do us any good. Focus on your health – mental and physical and focus on being YOUR best. . #perfectnever .
Photo by @emilyskyefit on Instagram, showing how a model body can look off set.
The fact that it is not only average and overweight infamous people showing their unedited selves but also fitness models like Australia’s Emily Skye, is helping the users of Instagram not feeling wrong or lose self confidence. It is creating a positive environment and is making Instagram a safe place to post selfies even though you might not fit the general society’s beauty standards.
Furthermore there are women on Instagram who remind other users that the fitness lifestyle and strive towards perfection does not equals happiness. Women who have lived with so strict rules regarding training and their diet, that they were forced to cut out their social life.
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BEFORE: I would go to sleep in my gym gear so when I woke at 5am I had no 'excuses' not to train. I didn't know what my purpose was. I had to nap in the meeting room at work to make it through the day. I had no libido, cried when I looked in the mirror, couldn't go out to eat with friends because #mealprep and my brain had 100 tabs open all at once constantly. AFTER: I wake whenever I want, feeling inspired and excited for the day ahead. My body glows with REAL health, the health that abs and having a low fat percentage doesn't necessarily give you. I feel sexy and confident and look in the mirror with joy. Eating with friends is my favourite thing to do. I start each day in meditation and my purpose is to help other people love themselves and live their best lives 🙏 When you look in the mirror and don't like what you see, chances are it has NOTHING to do with your body. The minute you decide to start loving yourself regardless of what you look like, is the minute your life changes for the better in every way. You have it in you beautiful – if I can do it, so can you ❤❤❤
Photo by @hollie_azzopardi on Instagram, telling how she is happier without excessive fitness routines.
Another hashtag that has taken Instagram by storm is #mermaidthighs that is a direct backlash to another popular hastag, #thighgap. The thigh gap trend was celebrating thin women’s skinny legs, and leaving a lot of body types out. The mermaid thighs trend on the other hand celebrates a larger amount of body types and acknowledges that there are women with thigh gaps and they are beautiful as well.
Some other natural things, which have been shamed by the beauty standards, are tiger stripes, better known as stretch marks and cellulite. More and more women draw attention to how natural it is and that there are several reasons why stretch marks and cellulite appear on our bodies. Many mention that stretch marks are just a sign that our body has grown. Not just grown but grown into something bigger and better.
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💕Cellulite is not the enemy. Hateful people on the internet are not the enemy. Even people and companies who claim to promote positivity and yet post images that are photoshopped to within an inch of reality, they too, are not the enemy. . . 💕The enemy is negativity within each of us that tells us we have to be something inauthentic in order to be: healthy, happy, successful, desirable, worthy, etc. . . 💕If you can see this internal dialog as a battle and not an inevitable failure, you've already won. All you need is ONE questioning thought (maybe this is normal, maybe I'm ok?) and you've already started the process. And the beginning of any journey is always the hardest part. #cellulitesaturday @omgkenzieee @_____halle__ 🌸🌺🌹🌷🌹🌺🌸 photo @shayparesh
Photo by @meararose on Instagram, saying “Cellulite is not the enemy”.
All the new trends on Instagram are celebrating diversity, which was missing from Instagram in the past.