The relationship between body image and social media is complicated isn’t?

I’ve said it time and time again, we’re constantly comparing ourselves against a photo reel, it’s complicated, it’s addictive and we’re all guilty to an extent. When we look at another person, we have a tendency to focus on the things that make us feel insecure in our own skin and compare them against Mrs. XYZ isn’t the mind a curious place at times?

I’m not shy about the fact I work my best angles, I’ve posted pictures displaying my curves, eye bags, cellulite, and crooked teeth, I’m human after all. With this in mind, I made the choice to try and understand how a complete stranger would see me and what changes they would make to improve my appearance. My mission was simple, I wanted to showcase how easy it was to manipulate an image and I was curious about what someone else would change, on ME. 

Fortunately, I’m not easily offended and in a roundabout way, I have no delusions about how I look…

So,  with this in mind I sent this picture to 3 complete strangers over “Fiver.com” with the following request:

Hi,
I’m hoping you can help – I’d like you to photoshop this picture to make me look as sexy as possible? It’s for my Instagram and this is really important to me as I’m trying to gain more followers.
I’m happy for you to take your own creative view, but please can you make sure that I look better?
Thanks
Katie 

To make sure all changes are visible – I’ll share the full picture and also focus on my face because folk clearly had a few issues with my face…

The Photo – Unedited 

Then I waited…

In my mind, my number one expectation was that every.single.person was going to significantly slim me down. I was curious if anyone would heavily tamper with my hair or face, but my number one focus was on my body.

These were the results…

Photo One

My first photo surprised me, my initial reaction was that he was clearly too lazy to make me look much better – I’ve curiously lost part of my shoulder (it’s been nice, you’ll always be a part of me, my dear shoulder).  The photo was brightened and he gave me a glorious new complexion, apart from that? Not a lot has changed.

Yeah, my skin DOES look good. Dang. 

Photo Two

Okay, with the second person I contacted things started to happen, he decided to slim down my arms, now he’s done that I can’t stop focusing on my arms, I’ll thank him for that. He’s lightened up the background slightly, improved my skin again, this is not bad. I’m cool with this. 

It would appear that my face and chest are two different colors, shall I let that slide? My contour looks good though doesn’t it?

Photo 3

“Hi Dr Mileto, It’s Katie B – I know I’ve only just had a breast enlargement 6 months ago, but you see, I’ve been thinking and it might be time for me to book another one, alongside a bit of an uplift too!…”

When I first saw this picture I was absolutely howling with laughter, if I’m being honest this was more of what I was expecting from all the pictures. I’ve never really been one for peach lipstick, but I do respect that the chap who edited my picture felt that it would make me more, sensual…

Look at my face, for goodness sake – I look like a “Love Doll” no one actually looks like this for crying out loud. 

The Verdict

This taught me a very powerful lesson about self-love and body image, my primary insecurity was focused on my weight and size, when actually the changes to my body were relatively minor. Not one person slimmed down my generous thighs and hips, no one tweaked my waistline and the primary concern was clearly brightening my skin.

I’ve found this whole experiment fascinating, because during this week in the space of 24 hours, 3 separate friends of mine, who are all beautiful, attractive women, expressed serious anxiety over their personal appearance.  Each time, I reminded them that I wished that they could see themselves the way I do. How beautiful it is when they smile and all the little quirks that make them the wonderful people that I love having in my life. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could see ourselves through the eyes of a stranger or the people who love us? 

Whilst this is a playful post, without any hugely dramatic results, I hope that’ll teach you, my reader about perception and maybe, we should all just be a little kinder to ourselves. After all, those who spend hours re-touching and photoshopping, aren’t doing themselves any great favors.  I think I’ve found the secret, it’s just simply that you should just be kinder to yourself and as a matter of fact, it costs nothing. So, why not give yourself a giant love heart, rather than waiting for validation from a stranger?

Katie

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