I think at this point we all know how social media can influence our self-worth and self-confidence. We constantly see photos of everyone else’s perfectly curated lives, which leads to unease within ourselves when we forget that Instagram isn’t real life.
All of this posing creates a false sense of reality, not only for others, but for yourself as well. As a teen, once I learned that all it took was some sneaky poses, I would start doing all of these poses myself because I felt as if my reality wasn’t good enough. Once I saw how good I COULD look if all I did was pose properly, it became addicting, and would start to warp my own view of myself, because I started to see myself as this person I was trying to be, instead of the reality of who I really was and what I really looked like.
A few years ago though, I saw a post on before and after photos (I can’t remember at all where I saw this, but if it sounds familiar and you know the source, please let me know!), specifically for detox teas, and how those before and after photos are often faked. The before photo was made to be purposely unflattering, while the after was strategically done with camera angles, and different poses to make the model look thinner, and as if the teas had worked a miracle. Here’s an article from the Huffington Post written by a fitness coach that shares a similar sentiment. He says his transformation photos are often taken 3 HOURS apart.
After I saw this post, it really opened up my eyes to the fact that not every post you see is reality, to the point that I would start to pick out these poses in before and after photos – and it gave me a sense of gratification almost. As if I knew better. But the truth is that I didn’t. I was aware that these poses were faked…. But it didn’t make me stop doing these kinds of poses myself.
I was visiting some friends back home in Winnipeg this past weekend, so naturally, we took some pictures together, when one of my friends asked how I always pose so well in photos and she asked for some tips. I was immediately excited to give her some pointers, when I got to thinking about all of the things I think of in the span of the few seconds it takes for the photo to be taken. I was listing things off such as “stick your forehead out, touch your tongue to the top of your mouth to lift your chin, smile with your eyes, suck in your gut, angle your hips so your butt looks bigger, stand up straight.” How can one person possibly focus on all of this stuff in such a small amount of time? And why was it my posing that mattered in that moment, and not in visiting with the friends I get to see once or twice a year?
Here is the photo in question (I’m on the right). In this photo I wasn’t thinking about how happy I was to be with my best friend for the first time in 6 months… I was thinking “okay tuck your shoulder back and down, suck in (even though you can’t see my stomach at all??), chin up, forehead forward.”
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there is anything wrong with posing in ways that are flattering on your body and that make you feel beautiful. The heart of the issue is the deception that is at play in trying to fool not only your followers, but also yourself, that that is what you really look like. The key here: being self-aware that you are doing these poses, and also being open about the fact that you don’t always look the way you do for posed photos on Instagram.
There are a few influencers that I follow who I think do this really well. The first one is Allana Davison (@allanaramaa) while she does post a lot of flattering and perfectly curated photos, she doesn’t hesitate to show posts that are a little more unflattering. Her Instagram stories are also constantly filled with images or videos of her with no makeup.
Another FANTASTIC influencer, is Sarah Nicole Landry (@thebirdspapaya). She’s gone through a lot of fluctuations in her weight, from being overweight, to severely underweight, as well as having 3 kids, but due to this she struggles a lot with stretch marks and loose skin. Rather than try to hide these things, she is very open about sharing those parts of herself and exhibiting self-love, while showing others that their bodies are beautiful too.
Are there any other influencers or celebrities that you look to for inspiration on this topic? Please share their names below, if you do! I’d love to follow them.
Are you aware of how your pose in photos affect your self-worth? #SelfWorth #IGvsReality http://bit.ly/IGvRL
Does the way we pose in photos impact how we view our own bodies?