Every day, we aimlessly scroll through Instagram where our feeds are filled with posts from influencers showing off a certain brand or posing somewhere exclusive and tropical. We see these photos so often that we begin to register a fit body type and desirable traits with these influencers and what they post. We then begin to idolize them and strive to be like them, when in reality, it is almost impossible.
These posts often take much more preparation than simply posing for a photo and taking the picture. They require specific lighting and near-perfect angles for certain features to “pop,” while imperfections are hidden. Even after this preparation process, the model isn’t ready to just take a picture and post. Social media influencers will often use professional cameras and take a variety of photos with different poses, each of which will be judged later before entering the final stage — editing. This stage can include erasing unwanted background objects or adjusting imperfect features so they will appear more appealing. This process demonstrates how these photos are anything but real.
With summer arriving sooner than we know, insecurities will begin to arise again. The increased temperatures call for more warm-weather clothes like shorts, tank-tops or even the dreaded swimsuit. These insecurities might affect the way you view yourself and what you wear this summer, but you should refrain yourself from comparing yourself to any other person, especially influencers. The photos you’ll see from people online have likely been edited, and you will have no way to tell.
But recently, influencers have begun to admit to editing their pictures, such as fitness model Hayley Madigan who created a featured Instagram post to portray how much an edited and altered post differs from they way Madigan usually looks. Countries have even begun to write laws to fight these false narratives and insecurities, such as Norway’s “Retouched Photo Law” that requires individuals to openly admit when a post has been edited in some way.
Even with all of this information, people will still worry about their body and how they do not fit into the “ideal.” There is no perfect body type or style. No one can tell you that you must forget your insecurities or that everything you believe about yourself is untrue. However, you can believe that no matter how you feel, you are perfect just the way you are. Your body should not be judged or compared to those on social media. The images posted online can easily show a fake representation. Don’t be afraid of change, as change can be good and should be welcomed, but the way you are is great and you should not feel you need to change the way you look or feel.
The difference between true change and a false reality is where people can get confused. This summer, many students will go to extreme measures before a certain pool party or date with that special someone. These measures include five minute YouTube workouts that “guarantee you abs” or a diet that can help you lose an unhealthy amount of weight in days. But these scams create a false reality for you and are no more than a placebo. They can create a temporary change that will fade over time. They do not hold a lasting effect for you in the long run.
Your body is unique, and every stretch mark, scar, or bruise should be embraced, not erased. These unique features give you character and give you individuality. You can compare yourself to others, but as hard as it may be to learn, you cannot be them. This ideal summer body that many chase for months, or even years, is unrealistic and unattainable. There is no set physique that we must strive for; the body you have is your summer body. So why not go out and enjoy this time with one less worry on your mind?