While it can be fun to dabble with a more artistic realm and try out different tones, colors, and effects to enhance a photo, there’s definitely the danger of falling into a distorted expectation of reality.
There are some apps that take it even further than just lighting. You can cinch your waistline, put on fake eyelashes, change the shape of your eyes altogether, smooth your pores, enlarge your breasts, add hair extensions, and remove that pesky pimple. Danish influencer Josephine of @josephinelivin is paving the way back to reality by showing women what these morphing filters can do (no matter what degree they’re used) to not only your picture but to your self-esteem.
In a recent post displaying a grid of four different looks to just one photo, she captioned: “There is more than just one fake version. I often share the extremely filtered versions on my profile, but there are also the more subtle ones. The ones you would probably never guess were a filter unless you were told, because they look so natural. These are the ones a lot of you have told me make you the most insecure. Not because of a big difference, but because of a little one.”
Her feed goes on to shed light on some of today’s most pressing beauty standards, from the completely contoured face to the plump bottom bikini pics and instant 6-pack abs. She’s making it her priority to demonstrate what true, raw, and real body acceptance looks like. Her mission is to expose exactly why you shouldn’t compare yourself to your favorite celebs and online influencers because, well, it’s fake.
She’s bringing a refreshing perspective to the #bodypositivity movement that we can get behind. With a heavy focus on mental health and confidence, let’s dive into Josephine’s take on some of today’s most prevalent posts!
6-Pack Abs – There’s a Pose for That!
Gone are the days you have to hit the gym and eat well to get 6-pack abs. Now all you need is precise lighting, some tips on how to pose, and 10 seconds.
Josephine put up a reel recently where she shows her viewers how to get “10 second abs.” Rocking a red sports bikini, she pulls the sides of the bottoms up over her hip bones to create a narrower effect around her waistline. Then she arches her back slightly, flares out her right knee to create a “thigh gap” illusion, and lastly places a bright light on her right side to cast highlights and shadows on all the right parts of her stomach.
Pairing this rapid reel transformation with Anne-Marie’s song “Beautiful,” she captioned: “don’t believe everything you see online. It’s easy to create this (in society’s eye) ‘picture perfect’ instagram photo. Just remember that there’s always more to real life than that.”
Watching this reel made my jaw drop. 10 seconds apart, and it looked like an entirely different figure. (Both beautiful might I add.) However, when we stage unrealistic versions of ourselves, it’s challenging to maintain that facade in reality…which can cause us to become more insecure than ever about our natural bodies. With a fear that someone may discover what we’ve been up to online, we may even find ourselves declining social invites where we may be exposed. Needless to say, quality of life suffers and so does our self-esteem!
1990 vs. 2020 Booty Goals
Back in 1990 when the toxic “Heroin Chic” style was in, being rail thin and lacking any curves was considered the ideal body type for women. I’m sure images of supermodel Kate Moss or Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie with their oversized “bug eye” shades, disheveled blonde hair, low-rise bell-bottom jeans and a crop top just flashed through your mind.
Well, within the course of 30 years the pendulum has swung to the other side of extremes where curves are back – and more drastic than ever. Thanks to celebrities like JLo and Kim Kardashian, women across the country are craving “big booty” figures. And some have taken it as far as getting implants or Brazilian butt lifts.
Josephine spoke to this trend with a side-by-side photo of her in a yellow floral bikini. The left column reads “1990: does my bum look big in this?” and the right column follows with “2020: does my bum look too small in this?”
With another post, Josephine exhibits the infamous pose where women sit down in their bikinis with their backs to the camera while arching forward to show off their bodacious buns. Josephine shows the reality in another side-by-side photo comparison with a humorous caption stating: “how a little posing and a wedgie can change the appearance of your body in just a few seconds. Don’t trust everything you see on social media and remember you’re beautiful and worthy in all your angles and poses – always.”
Flawless Makeup (and More) at Your Fingertips
Along with body shaping techniques, there are all sorts of filters to “fix” your face too. Josephine exposes this frequently throughout her grid. I specifically pulled one post where she’s in a black T-shirt and white-washed jeans.
On the right, she’s wearing a no-makeup makeup look. On the left, she’s dolled up with filters. Her hair has been lengthened, fluffed, and waved with a “fresh off the beach” look. Her teeth have been significantly whitened. Lips have been glossed and plumped. Eyes brightened with fake eyelashes added. Eyebrows darkened and shaped. Overall complexion extremely smoothed and lightened. Nose contoured and shrunk.
Barbie doll standards is what the filters have achieved. What we happen to see on every magazine cover – a type that’s impossible for the everyday woman to achieve, and therefore, makes her feel bad about herself. That increases the amount of lip injections, plastic surgeries, hair extensions, eyelash extensions, and so on women are convinced they need to hopefully reach that bar…a bar that doesn’t exist outside the perimeters of a camera.
Josephine captioned this comparison photo with: “A reminder that real is always better than fake. Real is you. Fake is not you. And we like the real you. We really do. You don’t need to fake anything. You’re already more than enough just being you and extremely beautiful in your unique way. I know it’s hard to embrace yourself in this picture perfect society we live in where nothing ever seems to be enough. But today I hope you remember that you don’t need a filter to be pretty. To be accepted. To be enough. Because you’re already pretty. You’re already accepted by the people truly loving you for you. And you’re already more than enough simply because you’re you.”
Preach it, sister! We’re with you.
While part of me is rising up in elation seeing influencers like Josephine taking a stand, the other part of me is deeply saddened with the current situation. With an increasingly digital world, women are consumed with an alternate reality, a reality that doesn’t exist. The fact is we look just as much like Cosmo’s cover model as the girl next door. Because despite what Beyoncé tries to tell us, over 90% of media’s models did not “wake up like this.”
Living in this fake reality is not only depressing, but also isolating. We begin convincing ourselves, one filtered photo at a time, that we actually look like that… just to harshly ridicule ourselves the next time we look in the mirror for not maintaining such a standard. Some women are even taking part in dangerous trends to accomplish these unattainable looks off the screen, like the Kylie Jenner lip challenge, remember that one?
Maybe it’s time we follow in Josephine’s footsteps and go filter-free. Embrace the natural us, the true us, the more-than-enough us. Maybe it’s time to find peace with our bodies once and for all and truly nourish ourselves holistically. There is no glow brighter than that of a woman who is happy, healthy, and confident in herself!
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