A psychologist and fitness blogger is photoshopping images of her body in order to raise awareness of the damaging impact edited photos can have.
Stacey Lee has been posting side-by-side photos of herself, with one image natural and another edited, to boost self-esteem online.
“One of the recurrent themes I treat in my profession is body image and its effect on self-esteem,” she captioned one photo.
“Self-esteem is defined as confidence in one’s own worth. However when that worth is tied to an image, a number on a scale, the size of clothes, the smoothness of skin, the smallness of a waist, the bigness of a butt, the definition on your abs, or the gap between your thighs, your worth will never be measured correctly.
“One of the reasons behind this is that the measuring stick we use is based on lies, manipulations and imagined ideals.”
According to Lee, we are “primed to believe a certain standard of ‘beauty’ is the goal”.
“We are shown images every day that are not realistic, even the small changes to photos or advertisements make a difference,” she said.
“They send subconscious messages saying that you aren’t enough and never will be.”
Despite being aware that many images on social media are edited, Lee admitted that when she stopped following accounts that used Photoshop, her own self-esteem improved.
“Being able to see real women share their real bodies, which still look incredible, gave me the confidence to work for my realistic goals and to measure my progress on a real measuring stick,” she said.
“This image was not created to say I don’t like how I look in the real photo, it’s to say the opposite actually. I love the work I’ve put in to look like the photo on the left.
“The point of this image is to show that when something that is already ‘good’ is altered to be ‘better’, it teaches people that your ‘real’ isn’t good enough.
“I don’t want to ever perpetuate or encourage that twisted notion. So I post these photos to combat that idea and to raise awareness of the damage it can have.”
Thousands of people have liked Lee’s images, with many commenting to thank her for challenging unrealistic beauty standards,.
“It’s so, so sad that Photoshop is the norm, we don’t need it, we need real life,” one user said.
Another added: “I hate idealised beauty standards. It’s honestly the worst and not possible. Reality should really set the tone here and [I’m] so glad that you’re starting this.”