That picture of your favourite influencer showing off her flawless body in a bikini? The one that makes you suddenly and painfully aware of your stomach rolls?!I'd bet you my first-born cat that the picture is not real.
Yes, that is her in the picture and I'm sure she was actually on that beach in that bikini, but her appearance has most likely been edited. I can say this with confidence because I've been in the industry and around bloggers for a long time, on trips, events etc – and I've witnessed it first-hand. I've seen well-known bloggers shave a stone off their body with just a few swipes on FaceTune.
Here I am posing poolside (probably thinking of my cats at home)
Photo-editing apps are absolutely rife and they are so easy to use. You can give yourself abs with a quick play on Selfie Gym Photo Editor (yuck) or model yourself some Victoria's Secret-worthy legs with RetouchMe.com (ok I made that one up but you get me).
Now this might be harmless to those doing the editing – they know it's not real. But y'know who doesn't know it's not real? The thousands of girls who look at that picture and bookmark it as an image to aspire to. How can you aspire to something that's not real?
In an attempt to highlight this problem, I decided to 'live-edit' my bikini body on Instagram. I took a photo of myself wearing a swimsuit, imported the photo into FaceTune and recorded myself working some 'magic'. It took me all of two minutes to slim my waist, legs, jawline and arms and create a brand new version of myself.
Once finished, my figure didn't even look like mine anymore.
I'm sure many people looked at the before/after and decided the after looked better – and that's fine. Maybe I would look better with a smaller waist, and less muscular thighs… But that's just not me. The comparison involves me and an imaginary body. It's an unrealistic ideal of beauty and I refuse to let it make me feel bad.
And so should you – try to take these flawless images you see with a pinch of salt. Keep in the back of your mind that we live in a strange world where false images are perpetuated and try to not subscribe to it. Follow some girls, instead, who steadfastly pledge to avoid retouching – Iskra, Ashley Graham, Jenna Kutcher, Kate Was – trust me, your self-esteem will thank you for it.
P.S. I take back the betting on one of my cats. It seems really harsh and I love him too much.
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