2016 has been the year of before and afters. Bloggers, fitness gurus and social media influences alike have taken to flaunting inspiring body transformations that are intended to promote fitness, healthy lifestyles and act as an example of what hard work can achieve.
But did this trend go too far? Was it really inspiring motivation among people to get up and burn fat, or was it merely, like many other aspects in the media, contributing to the notion that a woman’s value can only be measured in her appearance?
While one can argue the transformation photos have helped others find their own motivation in practicing a healthy lifestyle, for many it only causes anxiety, disappointment and self-loathing when they are unable to achieve the same ‘perfect’ body.
But among the surge in before and after shots over the year, another trend has blossomed.
The aforementioned ‘after’ shots are more often than not heavily done up by filters, lighting, and flattering poses forced to create the perfect feminine shape. But is this forced photo really what women look like?
This decade has been all about body positivity, and when social media influencers noticed a trend in unhappy women (usually young girls) questioning their own body, due to their highly filtered they decided to do something about it.
The new before and after picture is similar to the old look. Two photos, different times, different bodies. However, these photos are usually taken seconds apart. The before shot shows a photo in prime lighting, highly perfected poses and done up face and hair. The after shows the same person, but slouched, relaxed and with no alterations.
The purpose? Not one person has the perfect body. Bellies, fat rolls and cellulite are completely natural and everyone, including the fittest models, have ‘unflattering’ positions. These new photos are all over the internet now, and they’re reminding girls globally that perfection is unattainable.
We are heavily aware of the impact the media has on a woman’s self-esteem, and it’s about time influencers took to debunking the myth of the perfect woman. Fitness gurus and body positive mentors are taking to social media to flaunt their real body, and remind women everywhere that it’s okay to not look like your Instagram photo every minute of every day.
So two photos. The same person, the same time, the only difference being the pose. Is one of them any better than the other? Does one deserve less respect than the other? Absolutely not.
This new trend has truly shed some light on the reality of perfection, and it’s a fantastic start to promoting body positivity. Let’s hope more of the media sticks with it.