If you’ve ever looked at a photo of someone on Instagram, taken in their taut belly and then felt terrible about yourself, you’re not alone. Why else would so many of us be on diets, spend hours working out past the brink of exhaustion, or, sadly, buying the supplements that our Insta-fitness gurus are constantly trying to sell us? Comparisons are painful and disheartening, but we all know exactly what we’re falling for when we click that heart icon and then lay back on our beds wondering why we weren’t blessed with the genes that would make Superman just a teensy bit jealous.
Except, as we all know, what happens on Instagram is also often complete and utter bullshit. Camera angles, lighting, and even good old photoshop make us believe what we’re seeing is perfection, when it’s actually anything but. That myth was called out last year by Essena O’Neill, a model who went through all her photos and re-captioned them with truthful accounts of what she went through to get that effortless look (often hours of selfies at a time), and it’s being called out again by fitness instructor Anna Victoria, who’s got more than one million followers on the photo-sharing site and has made a career out of being #goals.
In a recently posted photo, Anna Victoria presented two images of herself side by side. One, an immaculately posed selfie showed off her “perfect” body; the other, a picture of the model in the same outfit, showed the reality of what “good angles” can do.
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Me 1% of the time vs. 99% of the time. And I love both photos equally. Good or bad angles don't change your worth ❤️ I recently came across an article talking about how one woman stated she refuses to accept her flaws, because she doesn't see them as flaws at all. I LOVED that because it sends such a powerful message that our belly rolls, cellulite, stretch marks are nothing to apologize for, to be ashamed of, or to be obsessed with getting rid of! As I'm getting older, I have cellulite and stretch marks that aren't going away, and I welcome them. They represent a life fully lived (for 28 years so far :)) and a healthy life and body at that. How can I be mad at my body for perfectly normal "flaws"? This body is strong, can run miles, can lift and squat and push and pull weight around, and it's happy not just because of how it looks, but because of how it feels. So when you approach your journey, I want you to remember these things: I will not punish my body I will fuel it I will challenge it AND I will love it 💗💗💗 If you're following my page, you're a part of helping me spread this message and creating this movement – thank you. #fbggirls #realstagram www.annavictoria.com/guides
This isn’t the first time that Anna Victoria has posted such a picture. Amongst the many shots comprising her Insta — many of them in a signature “pull the waistband down a little to show off the tummy” pose — there’s a four week old photo of her lounging without hair and makeup, her usually superhuman physique looking more attainable than ever.
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Just a lounging selfie 🤗 no makeup or hair done, not posing (and no sticking out either). I'm not sharing this because I think I look bad, or because tummy rolls are bad, or because cellulite, messy hair or no makeup is bad. None of those things are bad or imperfect. They are NORMAL. – I'm sharing this because I just received an email from a 16 year old girl that said I am the only person she follows that actually made her feel good about herself. That even though she's not particularly unhappy with her body, that seeing endless perfect photos started to make herself compare, poke and prod at her own body. The impact social media has on young girls and their self-esteem is an issue I feel very strongly about and if me posting one casual, non-posing, non-done up photo can help a young girl (or man, or anyone of any age!) feel better about themselves, then I'm happy to put myself out there. – Some will look at this and say "what's the big deal?" If it doesn't resonate with you, that's ok. I just ask that you think of those who it does help before firing off with negativity because you don't "get" it. So when we live in a society that profits from your insecurities, be a rebel and LOVE yourself. Love your body at every angle and don't ever be ashamed of being human, of struggling, or hey, even of loving the crap out of yourself!! 🤗 We need more girls who are wildly confident and loving every bit of themselves and shouting it from the rooftops. Show young girls it's not only okay but necessary to be confident, strong young women, "flaws" and all. #fbggirls #realstagram www.annavictoria.com/guides
In the caption, Anna Victoria writes that her reason for posting the picture isn’t a selfish one. As someone who’s seen as the peak of fitness, she also has a responsibility to her followers. And when one sent her a message describing the issues she’s developing from seeing perfect pose after perfect pose, the fitness guru had to speak out:
I’m sharing this because I just received an email from a 16 year old girl that said I am the only person she follows that actually made her feel good about herself. That even though she’s not particularly unhappy with her body, that seeing endless perfect photos started to make herself compare, poke and prod at her own body. The impact social media has on young girls and their self-esteem is an issue I feel very strongly about and if me posting one casual, non-posing, non-done up photo can help a young girl (or man, or anyone of any age!) feel better about themselves, then I’m happy to put myself out there.
Powerful! Brave! Important! I know all of us were waiting for the moment that I could use these adjectives to describe what Anna Victoria’s done here. But even if her pictures aren’t what’s going to turn the tide on our society’s obsession with bodily perfection — even though we all know such a thing is not possible — they’re a good reminder that even those we revere for their physical beauty struggle with the same issues the rest of us do. Enjoy the photos, but don’t believe the hype.
(H/T: Bro Bible)