There’s a trend that has been going around social media for quite some time now, and I’ve decided it officially needs to end.
It’s the “bodies that look like this also look like this” trend. And before I get into what it is, I’ll admit, I’ve done this before and I’m pretty sure it’s still on my Instagram page. But we live and we learn, right? Right.
Okay, so, this trend. It’s a craze where many (primarily) white, thin women post two different photos of themselves: one where they strategically pose in (usually) high-waisted leggings that cover all their “soft” bits, and one with their leggings pulled down to their waist with their backs hunched over, trying to expose to the world that they, wait for it…have a belly! Who would have thought?
Okay, I’m being a little condescending and hilariously hypocritical because I’ve literally done this myself.
However, I’m finally starting to see that these types of trends are low-key harmful, despite the best intentions behind them.
I get it. These posts are made because “influencers” are trying to be real, raw, and vulnerable by showing how their bodies look different from different angles. I applaud them. It does take courage to show our soft bits to the internet. Why is this true? I have no f*cking clue. We all have soft bits. No one—and I mean no one—should ever be praised for letting their belly hang out.
Can we all just let our bellies hang out without being told we’re “brave?”
Anyway, that’s beside the point. The point is that these women that take part in this trend are literally perpetuating exactly what they’re trying to dismantle: comparison.
So many people who watch these videos or see these photos of thin women morphing their bodies to try and make them look like they have a big belly can’t change the way they look on camera by moving their bodies in different shapes.
Even if these women in these photos or videos aren’t considered “thin,” they have the privilege of passing as thin—and not everyone can do this. Not everyone can change the way their body looks in order to make it more socially accepted.
And I hate to admit that being thin is a societally accepted privilege, but it is.
And before I get too deep into why this trend is harmful, I must add that there is a lot of positive power in these posts. I find it incredibly empowering and important to share our undressed, wrinkly, dimple-covered skin to the internet because that’s what humans look like. And social media is flooded with fake, photoshopped, filtered, and perfectly posed pictures of white, thin women.
So, coming across more photos of women actually “exposing themselves” is quite refreshing, and it is a nice reminder to many that #socialmediaisnotreallife but it is absolutely necessary that we stay mindful of how these kinds of posts can also negatively affect people—even when our intentions are pure.