Here’s Why Those Perfect Bodies On Instagram Are Actually Illusions

Heres Why Those Perfect Bodies On Instagram Are Actually Illusions


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Have you ever scrolled through your Instagram and found it hard to relate to any of the body shapes you see? You’re not alone. From the perfect angles to the perfect abs, it’s really easy to get caught up with what you think an Instagrammable body “should” look like.

The reality is, many of those “perfect” pictures are a result of some major tweaking and manipulation. Models, #fitgirls, and many other Instagram influencers rely on certain tricks to accentuate their assets, which end up creating a number of body illusions that most of us can’t possibly measure up to IRL.

While there’s nothing wrong with posing a certain way to make yourself feel comfortable and confident, it’s also important to remember that those pictures are just snapshots. A quick moment in time, where someone adjusted the pose, angle, and lighting in an image to make it look perfect.

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That’s why it’s so AMAZING and refreshing to see a number of people on Instagram willing to demonstrate the reality of these so-called “perfect” shots. Below, the most popular body illusions of Instagram — and their reality.

1. The position of your waistband matters.

Where you place your waistband on your tights and leggings makes a big difference in how your body appears on camera. As Milly Smith writes in her caption, “Same girl, same day, same time.”

Same girl, same day, same time. 💛 Not a before and after. Not a weight loss transformation. Not a diet company promotion. 💛 I am comfortable with my body in both. Neither is more or less worthy. Neither makes me more or less of a human being. Neither invites degrading comments and neither invites sleezy words. 💛 We are so blinded to what a real unposed body looks like and blinded to what beauty is that people would find me less attractive within a 5 second pose switch! How insanely ridiculous is that!? 💛 I love taking these, it helps my mind so much with body dysmorphia and helps me rationalise my negative thoughts. 💛 Don't compare, just live for you. There is no one on this planet who's like you and that's pretty damn amazing don't ya think. The world doesn't need another copy, it needs you. 💛 We are worthy, valid and powerful beyond measure 💙🌟 (If you don't pull your tights up as high as possible are you really human?)

A post shared by 👑☀️🌻💛MILLY💛🌻☀️👑 (@selfloveclubb) on


2. Standing makes a difference.

There’s a reason people stand in their pics — they instantly look “thinner” and their stomach rolls disappear. But it’s not the best picture of reality!

Ever sat on the floor like the right photo, looked down at your belly & thought 'yuk'? 🙋🏼 I have… a million times. But over the past year, with the help of Instagram & 'the real talk' I've learnt it's actually completely & utterly normal. As the gorge goddess @imrececen stated, very very wisely… you are beautiful no matter what 💃🏼 We all get sucked into the trap of wanting to 'look good' but do we ever stop & think… will it actually make me a better person? Will my friends love me more if I've got a six pack? Will I get promoted at work if I've got a thigh gap? There's a difference between looking good & feeling good. Working out should make you feel like a better person, it should make you feel like a superhero, it should make you appreciate your body more & therefore make you want to take care of yourself. I train super hard because I absolutely love it, I lift weights because it makes me feel strong & I take the time to look after myself… but I still have a tum when I sit down. That tum ain't going nowhere, no matter how hard I work, sweat & train. You can choose how you feel, you have the power to think positively so let's say goodbye to all of those negative words you call yourself & hello to feeling proud of your body 💛

A post shared by C H E S S I E K I N G (@chessiekingg) on


3. Lighting sheds a whole new light.

Truth: everyone’s body looks completely different depending on the lighting. Imre Çeçen reminded her followers of this fact by showing the exact same poses, but with different light:

💡THE DIFFERENCE LIGHTING CAN MAKE!💡Do you ever feel pretty happy with your body one moment, but then you see yourself in different lighting and suddenly those happy feelings fade away and insecurity hits you?😔 NOT NECESSARY AT ALL!🙅🏻 . Let me tell you one thing; it's 100% normal that your body looks different when the lighting changes. It happens to all of us since we simply can't bring that "perfect" lighting around with us. The reason why it seems like all "insta models" do look "amazing" all the time is just cause they only post pictures with lighting that they like🤷🏻‍♀️ . I like my body equally in these pictures, simply cause both are my body and both are beautiful💕 Ok except for the fact that my eyes make me look like a demon on the left😅 It's probably cause I'd died from flexing too hard😂 . I used to get upset if my abs didn't show in pics but now I know it's just simple physics. In the left picture there's an artificial light shining so bright that most shades dissapear💡 on the right there's only natural light leaving room for shades which give that definition💁🏻 . Whether or not your definition will show is all about the brightness and angle of the light source!!!💡☀️ . Know that your body is beautiful in all lights, all shapes, all colors and just all everything! Own your body for it's the only one you'll ever have!❤ . Oh and for the caption obviouses; yes these are different pictures but they were taken at the same time of the day. I'm flexing in both and my pose is the same. As far as it's possible to stand exactly the same way though😅 Sadly I don't have an assistant so I really did have to move myself to turn on that light💡 🤷🏻‍♀️ . Anyway, to all my lovely girls who think they need to be perfect all the time; YOU ALREADY ARE! Abs or no abs, big butt or small butt, tiny or tall, you are beautiful!❤ You don't need that perfect lighting🙅🏻 GO SHINE YOUR OWN LIGHT!✨💕 WHO'S READY TO SHINE??🙋🏻🙋🏼🙋🏽 TAG YOUR SHINE BUDDY!👯

A post shared by Imre Çeçen 🇳🇱🇹🇷 (@imrececen) on


4. Angles change everything.

The angle of your camera or the angle of your body can make for completely different images. A perfect example? Here:

Booty pop 🍑🌿 I was scrolling through my old photos and came across these photos where I was trying to take one of those sandy bum pics 😬 I posted the right one back in January, but the left is the reality behind that photo ☺️ I still sometimes get a slight pang of sadness and jealousy when I see all the big beautiful bums on instagram and wish I could magically have what they have. Because sometimes I feel like all my booty gains are gone when I take photos where it looks smaller, but then I remember that I shouldn't compare my body to theirs. I have a great booty and so do they! It's all about posing/angles and nobody looks like that all the time. There's nothing wrong with posting a good photo of your booty, you should post it if you feel like it! Just remember that when you're scrolling through social media and see all the posed bums that you too have a great bum and that nobody looks like that 24/7 ☺️ It seems like big butts are the thing that so many people want currently. But remember that you don't need a big booty to be beautiful. All butts are good butts ☺️ All of our bodies are different and you don't need a specific body type to fit into what society defines as beautiful!! It's stressful and so messed up that body parts and types are going in and out of style- before it was being really thin, now it's having a big booty. That shouldn't be a thing. It causes so much stress and self hate to people who do not have these things. I know it's hard but instead of trying to obtain these things, love how you look now. Not how you'll look if you loose X amount of weight or get a bigger booty. Because trust me when you get to those things you'll just want something more. Be comfortable in your own skin no matter what angle, posed or unposed, and you'll radiate beauty! 🌴☀️ —————————————— . . . #bopowarrior #bootypop #allbodiesaregoodbodies #bootyfordays #bootybuilding #instagramvsreallife #beforeafter #selfconfidence #youareyou #dontchange #acceptyourself #bodypositive #lawofattraction #everyoneisbeautiful #selflove #bepresent #findyourself #dontcare #cellulite #effyourbeautystandards

A post shared by Sara Puhto (@saggysara) on


5. Posture is everything.

Standing up straight can make all the difference. An exaggerated posture (like twisting and contorting your body) makes everything seem more streamlined, but it’s not real. As Halle says below: “This is the problem with the internet. A lot of women only post pictures like the one on the left & at the exact same time they also look like the picture on the right, but if we only see the skinny pic, we think they ‘have the perfect body’ & internalize the idea that we don’t.”

⭐️SelfLove Bootcamp w/Kenzie & Gina⭐️ DAY 16: EMBRACE THE SQUISH · Okay guys, NEITHER of these pics have been edited, retouched, photoshopped, etc. They were taken about 30 seconds apart, this morning at the same camera angle. I am literally twisting my body so far that my stomach disappears on the left. 👉🏼If you would have come across the picture on the left only, some of you may have thought, "omg that girl is so skinny, I wish I looked like that" 👉🏼This is the problem with the internet. A lot of women only post pictures like the one on the left & at the exact same time they also look like the picture on the right, but if we only see the skinny pic, we think they "have the perfect body" & internalize the idea that we don't. 👉🏼This is not true for everyone, but it is true for ALOT of women. 👉🏼Today in SelfLove Bootcamp, we are working to #embracethesquish 💓 Embracing those parts of our bodies where our skin rolls, squishes & sags. Because they are NORMAL parts of all bodies. 99% of the reason we feel they are bad, gross, make us look ugly, make us not sexy is because of the airbrushed & mutated images we see 10 million times a day everywhere we look. 👉🏼LADIES & MEN: The rolls are sexy, beautiful & natural. No matter how big or small they are. 👉🏼At the same time, I know they give you anxiety & make you feel all the negative thoughts, whether you have an ED, BDD or not. I honor those feelings you have & share them with you at times. We are all human & it is impossible to escape the beauty standards that have been placed upon us. 👉🏼I want you to know that your body, naturally, as it is right now is enough. 👉🏼Try not to compare yourself to images you see, those photos should not control your happiness, your self-worth or how you feel about your body. 🔥🔥Keri Washington said "You cannot compare your insides to another person's outsides" ☝🏼 REMEMBER THAT WHEN YOU'RE FEELING LOW. 〰 LOVE, SUPPORT & POSITIVITY 💘xo #thereisnowrongwaytobeawoman #SelfLoveBootcamp #beforeandafter

A post shared by ·*· H A L L E ·*· (@_____halle__) on


Whenever you’re scrolling through your Instagram and you start to compare yourself to the images you see — stop. Remember that you are seeing a well-thought out (posed, lit, contoured) image. Not everything is real, but you are, and you are amazing.

(Featured image source: Shutterstock)

Brianne Hogan
Brianne Hogan

Brianne Hogan is a freelance writer in Toronto who loves coffee, cats and astrology. Her byline's been featured on HelloGiggles, Elle Canada, Flare, Thrillist, among others. Keep up with her on Twitter, Facebook or her blog.