What is worse, in many cases, those Instagram models don’t even look like that in real life. But there are people like Sara Puhto who understand how damaging seeing such photos is for others. So, she shows the reality behind them and it’s surprising how we beat ourselves up for not being the standard when it is impossible to achieve it as it’s not real.
She goes viral for reminding people what real bodies look like by sharing these side-by-side pictures.
Sara Puhto is a content creator from Finland who has been posting on her Instagram since 2015. She started off as a fitness account so her content was something similar to what you would imagine to be a standard Instagram model.
Bored Panda reached out to Sara to find out what changed and she told us a little bit about how it all started: “I used to be a fitness content creator in 2015/2016, so I was posting photos of my ‘fitness progress’ and those curated photos that I talk about on my page now, so it was scary for me at first when I had that realization that I was adding to the falsities on Instagram.”
Since then, Sara has become quite a big Instagrammer with 380k followers and is now more known for her ‘Instagram Vs Reality’ series in which she shows how different the same body can look if you tweak it a little bit there and here.
Sara admitted that when she decided to stop posting photos that don’t match reality, she was scared and even though she was a fitness blogger, she felt insecure about her body, as she was comparing it to others. While talking to Insider, the Instagrammer explained what made her change up her content: “I realized that the photos that I was posting may have been making other people feel like this.”
But to Sara’s relief, the response she received was really positive and it continues to be such. “It was received very well by others and I got a lot of positive reactions and support towards it.
I feel that the reaction continues to be the same, even though I’ve been doing this for years, I continue to receive positive feedback about it, mostly.”
So many people feel insecure and are afraid to show how their bodies really look and the insecurity stems from the fear of being judged and called not pretty. But it seems that those fears don’t have reason as Sara is proof that people appreciate others being realistic.
The content creator goes a little bit more into detail and gives her guess why her comments are mostly filled with love and admiration instead of hate. “I think this is because we need to see more unposed and unedited photos on Instagram and other social media platforms, especially with younger generations joining social media platforms earlier and earlier, I think its important to expose them to unedited and not posed photos as opposed to them only seeing curated photos 24/7.”
As mentioned, Sara started posting fitness content in 2015 and a year later, she began her mission to show the reality of an Instagrammer. She hasn’t stopped since so we were curious to find out what motivates her to continue.
She said “I think the thing that motivates me to continue doing it is knowing that it helps people, the messages, comments, emails and DMs I get motivate me more than I can explain. Because I know how it feels to be in such a dark place regarding your body image, or just disliking the body you’re in, or the insecurities getting too much. So if I can be of help to even a few people, it means the world to me.”
What she does is not beneficial only for others but it also acts as a means of self-care for herself. Sara explains “I also get motivated to keep going because it helps me as well, on days where I don’t feel well (either mentally or emotionally about my body), it helps having a platform to say these things and be like ‘hey, it’s okay to not be okay, we can embrace that as well!’”
Another thing that keeps Sara going is that she just finds enjoyment in connecting with other people. “I just love doing what I’m doing because of the two-way support, and it gives me an opportunity to connect with people on a deeper emotional level than you sometimes would through casual acquaintances.”
Sara mentioned that she doesn’t feel good about her body every second of her life and just like there are good and bad hair days, there are days when you feel like a goddess and days when you feel like you’re a failure because you have a muffin top.
This range of emotions is what makes us human, but recently, the body positivity movement has received some criticism for not allowing us to have those days when we feel down and making people feel even worse because they can’t love their bodies every day they wake up.
As Sara shows her own body imperfections and encourages people to accept their own, she could be called a body-positive person, so we wanted to know if she noticed that the movement might be showing signs of toxic positivity.
The content creator thinks that “it depends on the context at times. Overall I think the body positivity movement is helpful and gives a positive voice and outlook to individuals whose bodies have been marginalized in society.”
But she also recognizes the issue with it: “I do think it’s important to highlight the non-linearity of self-acceptance and/or self-love. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to feel 100% in love with your body every day! It’s a process, it won’t happen overnight and there will always be ups and downs, just like everything in life. I think body acceptance comes with acknowledging those difficult negative emotions which come with living.”
Being outcast for the way you look is really hurtful and people like Sara are trying to push the limits of beauty standards, showing that everyone should be accepted and encouraging them to not be afraid to show their true selves.
Now we would like to know your thoughts: what do you think about Sara’s message and do you feel like staging Instagram photos can be dangerous for people who have no idea that they aren’t real? Do you think that any body can be beautiful and there is no need to glorify just one type? Also, if you would like to share any personal experiences, we would love to read them in the comments!