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56 Instagram Vs. Reality Pics Of Women ‘Exposing’ Themselves To Show How Fake Social Media Is

Social media platforms are removing billions of fake accounts but even the real ones aren’t authentic. Our endless pursuit of physical perfection has made our internet profiles shinier and smoother than our real-life selves have ever been. This obsession has reached a point where it has become the norm and you can’t always tell how many filters the people you are seeing in your feed are hiding under.

As Rebecca Jennings pointed out in Vox, things get even more complicated when the bogeyman is not an anonymous evil fashion editor at a glossy magazine but average folks plumping their lips and touching up tiny flaws. Easy-to-use apps allow virtually anyone to participate in that same manipulation, giving the power to create the perfect digital version of yourself.

To highlight that you always need to retain a certain level of skepticism online, TikToker RIKKI has been producing videos that she calls the same as Bored Panda’s article series, Insta vs. Reality. In these clips, RIKKI shows her own photos before and after editing them. Her honest uploads are generating millions of views and the buzz around them has gotten so loud that other people are joining in, creating sort of a new internet trend.

TikToker RIKKI shared photos of herself before and after editing them to remind people that social media is fake, and other users are following her example

@rikkisandhuu

Ahh they gradually get worse & worse! ?✨ #bodypositivity #filtervsreality #makeuptips #foryou

♬ soft spot – piri & Tommy Villiers

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In the before-mentioned Vox piece, Rebecca Jennings also highlighted that “while many major celebrities have been ‘caught’ editing their Instagram photos, from Beyoncé to Lady Gaga to Victoria’s Secret models, others on the receiving end of a different kind of ridicule are figures who we’d probably like to think of as above such activities: people like Callista Gingrich, US ambassador to the Holy See, who has a habit of posting photos of herself and her husband Newt with faces as smooth as Renaissance-painting babies.”

But the most fascinating examples, according to Jennings, are the stars of the messiest, most theatrical television shows in the world like Vanderpump Rules and The Bachelor.

“It isn’t their [popularity] that makes their excessive Facetune habits surprising — reality stars are among the most traditionally shameless when it comes to activities like posting sponsored content for teeth whitening products and arguing with each other in the comments section.”

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No, it’s the fact that these are the same people willing to reveal the worst moments of their lives on national television, many of whom have been naked, drunk, and/or arrested in full view of cameras. “Unlike influencers who built their followings online with heavily curated images, reality stars have no control over how they’re portrayed on TV,” Jennings explained. “They sign away all of those rights before filming, and have no idea whether they’ll get the ‘villain edit’ or the “goofy edit,’ reality-fan slang for the producers’ influence on the stars’ reputations.”

“Yet a scroll through many reality stars’ Instagram pages will reveal many perfectly posed and heavily Facetuned images, as if the melodrama of their televised lives were but a distant memory. Reality stars are, whether they know it or not, the prime examples of what’s becoming an increasingly prominent conversation among those with a social media account, which is to say, most people: the chasm between one’s online persona and their actual life.”

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You might ask why do we care. And that’s a legit question. But these things can take a toll on you even if you’re just an outsider, observing the whole charade.

In 2019, Marika Tiggemann and Isabella Anderberg released a study called “Social media is not real: The effect of ‘Instagram vs reality’ images on women’s social comparison and body image.” The research revealed that such images have the power to limit the impact social media posts have on our mental health.

As part of the study, a group of women were randomly assigned to view one of three sets of images: “Instagram vs reality” images, the ‘ideal’ side alone, or just the ‘real’ side. When women viewed either the real or comparison posts, researchers noticed that the identification or complete avoidance of the ‘perfect’ images could prevent them from comparing themselves against impossible beauty standards, reducing the negative impact on body image and actually decreasing body dissatisfaction. 

So I guess these TikToks might be doing the whole internet more good than you, me, or even the people creating them realize.

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