While plenty of laughs have been had at the expense of the Instagram vs reality trend, not a lot of real progress has actually been made.
Despite the trend’s popularity, you don’t have to look far on the social media platform to find unrealistic standards – but body confidence coach Jessi Kneeland is different, and only shares her true self with her 20,000 followers.
“It’s SO challenging to learn how to like and accept and approve of yourself when mainstream societal messaging says that only a very specific kind of body is acceptable,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“For women, that body is, among other things, white, thin, free of cellulite, able bodied, ‘feminine’ and confirming to a million micro-details of beauty standards, like perky boobs and no stretch marks and smooth poreless skin and dazzling white teeth and on and on and on.”
She says that these ridiculously high beauty standards teach women that their worth is dependant on their looks and “that only women who conform to these impossible beauty ideals are worthy.”
Jessi recently shared a side-by-side Instagram vs reality photo, with the image on the left showing her with perfect posture and a sucked-in stomach, while the one on the ride shows her sitting naturally.
“I like to find ways to show my audience that those beauty ideals are falsified, impossible, and unimportant,” she tells us.
“I like to show them that we don’t need to hide or be ashamed of the parts of our bodies that society calls ‘flaws’, and that we can form our OWN relationship with our bodies and ourselves outside of that narrative.”
Confidence is an inside job, Jessi says, and she often posts empowering messages alongside her photos, urging women to block out the noise and practice self love.
The results have been positive with many of her followers enjoying the fact that Jessi is transparent about her ‘flaws’.
“A ton of women feel liberated and empowered by seeing the ‘invisible curtain’ of Instagram-worthy beauty standards being drawn back, and getting to see someone be real,” she says.
“Occasionally, of course, I get dudes telling me which picture they like better (completely missing the point that only my own opinion of myself matters) or someone trying to tell me that I’m ugly, wrong, unhealthy, or whatever.”
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