Influencer and journalist Danae Mercer is one of the women leading the charge, writing on Instagram: “I don’t care if you POSE FOR PHOTOS or if you just hang out. Because posed or relaxed, arched or slumped, whatever you do with your body, it is STILL YOU.”
Moreover, the trend is a lot more inclusive than its predecessor, as body positivity advocate Militza Yovanka explains in her caption: “Dear people on IG.. When you do your beloved “IG versus Reality” images do not, please, forget that us curvy women do not get to suck in our stomachs and look like what society defines as IG models.”
We’re all aware that social media is a carefully curated highlights reel; a fact that’s been amplified by the ‘Instagram versus reality’ trend that’s taken over our feeds in the last six months. Copious numbers of influencers and normal people alike have posted photos comparing their carefully posed and edited ‘grams alongside more natural photos of themselves to demonstrate that what we see on our screen isn’t always as it appears to be.
The problem with this narrative, though, is that it’s wrapped in shame and the age-old patriarchal practice of pitting women against each other. Thankfully, a new trend is sweeping Instagram: ‘reality versus reality,’ which aims to demonstrate that flexed, posed, or relaxed – our bodies are still our bodies, and they’re perfect in any form.
She goes on to explain: “there is NOTHING bad with posing or not posing, there is nothing wrong with anyone’s body at any time. SO PLEASE can we make sure to not forget that a lot of us bigger women no matter how we stand WE have a belly showing, WE have bigger thighs [sic] and bigger everything’s including big hearts and spirits?”
As we all know, angles and lighting have a huge part to play in how we look in pictures. Jeenie from keepfit.women encourages her followers to accept their bodies in every state: “It’s not even Instagram vs. Reality, though. It’s reality vs. reality…This is your body, looking different within 0.007 seconds as you turn briefly in the mirror.”
“One minute you can be enjoying what you see. One minute you can catch a mirror glimpse that has the potential to derail you,”she continues. “Your body is literally like 1% of your being. Don’t forget that. We are 99% everything else and like, 1% physical body.”
The ‘Instagram versus reality’ trend could be interpreted as saying that the ‘Instagram’ version of ourselves is more socially acceptable and that the ‘reality’ is somehow inferior– which does nothing to help women’s self esteem. The things that may be considered ‘flaws’ in the second picture aren’t and by aligning posed photos with relaxed photos in the newer version of the trend, women are re-framing this by demonstrating that both are versions of the same person.
The ‘reality versus reality’ trend is empowering because it removes the divide between women and shows that we are all equally valid and worthy, whether we’re posing to high heavens in a brand new outfit or prefer to take snaps of ourselves looking comfy, slouched and letting our bodies just be.