Last week we posted an article on online thinspiration and how we should all exercise to be healthy, not to get skinny.
Your response was amazing and showed how many of us are aware (and kinda angry) about the online body shaming culture.
This week, conversations on weight loss and body shaming have been all over our laptop screens again.
We are constantly told we have to be perfect. If we’re not, we’d better get perfect fast…
27 year old blogger Anne Marie Sengillo has got everyone talking after revealing how website The Chive used photos she shared on her own page to demonstrate her battle with anorexia, as an inspirational weight loss transformation post.
In an interview with Jezebel she explained that she when she was in the grips of the illness she was eating less than 800 calories per day.
“I posted my photos to give hope to others who may have body image issues…”
Here are Anne Marie’s stolen pictures as posted by the website:
Looking at this photo, we feel angry for Anne Marie and any other girls whose images have been stolen.
However, it’s more than that. We’re annoyed that we allow ourselves to be tricked by photos such as this in the first place.
Even when they are genuine, should we be looking at weight-loss transformations at all?
We see weight transformations all over our magazine covers, internet pages and television screens…
Why Do We Look At These Photos?
The idea of before-and-after weight loss pics resonate far more deeply with the average girl than you might think.
Ever since we saw awkward fat Monica on Friends turn into witty super skinny Monica, the power of a makeover has been lodged somewhere in our minds.
The large majority of teenage rom coms feature a dorky outsider that is made over to become startlingly pretty. Ever noticed how the dorky characters were always thin to begin with?
Everything around us tells us that transformations are incredible and inspiring, weight loss ones even more so.
Even now we’re all grown up, we still see weight transformations all over our magazine covers, internet pages and television screens.
TV shows like The Biggest Loser are based entirely around this concept and even the best intended health shows feature some kind of body transformation on most occasions.
We’re constantly told we have to be perfect. If we’re not, we’d better get perfect fast. In a culture like this, body makeovers give us a strange thrill – the perverse pleasure of seeing a less-than-perfect body turn into a perfect one before our eyes.
We seem to think that somehow by transforming how we look, we will transform how happy we are.
Why Are They Dangerous?
While we logically know that many images on the internet aren’t genuine, we sometimes allow ourselves to be fooled on some level into measuring ourselves against them.
Anne Marie’s story is definitely not a one-off event, and unfortunately, probably happens much more frequently than we would like to think.
Anne Marie’s story is not a one-off event. It happens more frequently than we’d like to think…
While some photos will be genuine pictures of girls who have worked to better their health and fitness, Annie Marie demonstrates how we have no idea what process of weight loss they went through when we look at them.
The time apparently taken to lose weight can be changed with a single click. The lighting and poses can be deceiving. Sometimes, it can be a totally different person all together.
By looking at these images, we are allowing ourselves to be lied to.
Check out this Buzzfeed video, showing how easily weight loss photos can be faked…
Real weight loss is different
By looking at these photos, we’re taking exercise and fitness – and only focusing on what the outcome we get is.
If you just use before-and-after images to motivate yourself, you’ll nearly always fail.
These images allow us to pretend the process of getting fit isn’t a long and difficult one. Our imaginations just skip it completely.
In reality, the only way to gain control over your health and fitness is to immerse yourself, enjoy the process of getting fit and allow the results to come naturally.
These body makeovers give a strange thrill of seeing a less-than-perfect body turn into a perfect one before our eyes
We all feel angry about what happened to Anne Marie and other girls whose images and experiences have been misused.
However, that anger should be focused on every image that makes us feel bad about our bodies and the way we exercise. They don’t give us the chance to connect with who we are to become happier and healthier people.
Weight loss pictures are no more realistic than the thinspiration images posted all over Tumblr feeds.
We say turn off the laptop and instead, get outside, use your body and enjoy the slow, natural transformation that will happen in front of you.
It’ll make you feel a whole lot better than looking at photos of other people, we promise.