Monday, September 27, 2021
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BEFORE AND AFTER: THE HARM OF MISLEADING PICTURES

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“Bodies that look like this… also look like this.” That’s a quote from a popular TikTok sound where women first show their bodies in a seemingly “perfect” pose, before unsucking in or returning to a normal non-twisted pose to reveal the tummy rolls, cellulite, and other imperfections they were previously hiding. It just sounds problematic, doesn’t it? Is it normalizing imperfect bodies, or making heavier women feel like skinnier girls over exaggerate the small rolls that they scrunch to force on their stomachs? Is it helpful for women to see that no matter who you idolize online, they don’t look as perfect as filters and Photoshop make them seem? In some terrible way, does it feel better to know that everyone has insecurities? I don’t think any of these questions can be definitively answered. Everyone is different. Still, it’s a worthwhile conversation to have when now more than ever, women are being shown images that make it easy to compare themselves to the unrealistic versions of other people. If this is going to continue to be a prevalent issue for women, then we should definitely talk about it.

Maybe these images can make a positive change. Seeing the falsehoods of these so-called “perfect” pictures can expose the very things that have been triggering your insecurities. The turning point for this trend came when the queen herself, Lizzo, got in on the action to protest fatphobia and show her ample love for her body. As an advocate for honesty and body positivity, Lizzo took the opportunity to claim power over her mental health and insecurities. She captioned the TikTok video, “Lookin good from every angle,” and that’s a fact! 

Still, everything can be argued. Girls all over the world have gotten into this trend. The message it can send is that no matter what the intentions are, these images can inadvertently cause harm to young women. In some images, girls actively try to show a little belly “fat,” by scrunching down. It’s simply a fact that every stomach will do that. It shouldn’t be seen as an ugly feature or something to be ashamed of. All it takes is a higher-waisted jean, a tighter shirt, or a more elongated pose. Filters and edits don’t hurt either. We know that these things exist, but that doesn’t mean these images can’t be as hurtful.