Our society has become obsessed with body image.
Of course, it could be fairly argued that such meditations on the human form are hardly new. Magazine editorials and newspaper cuttings have created impossible paradigms of beauty out of the human form seemingly since time immemorial – particularly in the case of women – though there is something about the ceaseless drip feeding of such unattainable standards of beauty that feels a little more all encompassing in our modern culture. Perhaps this has something to do with the inexorable rise of social media. Now, Instagram models – purporting to operate in some bizarre sphere of influence while in reality doing little other than furthering their own profiles – dominate our consciousness with sun-soaked vistas and improbably toned bikini-clad snaps that remind us just how far our own reality is from theirs. In such times, reality appears to have become a largely outmoded and obsolete concept. Perhaps this is understandable, after all, what interest does a picture of Bob down the road on his ride-a-long lawnmower hold in the face of such effervescent beauty? That same beauty can be devastating viewing for individuals with issues surrounding body confidence, though. Of late, some with an online presence seem to have been recognising this, and, laudably, have been speaking out on the subject to great effect. Sara Puhto, a 20-year-old health blogger from Finland, has become the latest to shed light on just how damaging it can be to base one’s body aspirations on the unattainable fiction that Instagram modelling can be. Puhto posts encouraging messages on her Instagram page, alongside photographs that highlight just much a photograph can be subtly changed before it is posted online. Here’s one of her messages; “I’m sure we’ve all had that feeling where you’re feeling cute at the beach but then you sit down and all of a sudden feel insecure and don’t know how to sit without your tummy feeling oddly too exposed. “The other day I went to the beach and would have slight moments where I felt like people were looking at my tummy and these feelings of insecurity where I wanted to hide my tummy because “it didn’t look good” sitting down. But I realised that I was being silly and ruining my time at the beach and not enjoying it fully just because of this small silly thing. “You really shouldn’t feel that way! Everyone looks like this when they sit down! Nobody is judging you and even if someone was then that’s a reflection of their inner insecurities, not yours. You are not fat. We all have fat, especially on our tummies and it’s completely normal. And that fat does not make you worth any less as a person! Nobody has abs or a flat tummy 24/7 when they sit down. Don’t let this idea ruin your time because it’s completely normal! If you want to wear a bikini, then wear it cause life’s too short not to wear what you want!! You look amazing so wear it with confidence and you’ll radiate beauty!” Puhto provides such an important reminder for those who feel under-confident about their own bodies. The images we are confronted with every day on Instagram do not necessarily bare any resemblance to reality.
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