It's widely known at this point that things are not always as they seem on Instagram. Businesses, media companies, influencers, and even "normal" people airbrush their photos — smoothing them out, removing blemishes, and even changing the shape of their bodies entirely.
Sometimes the impact of this Photoshop dependence is harmless and we all get a good laugh (see: the recent Vanity Fair debacle). But in general, digital enhancement is considered to have a negative impact on our body image and self-esteem. Indeed, countless studies have concluded as much.
So, props to one plus-size model who has shared side-by-side photos of herself to highlight the widespread problem. After seeing retouched photos of herself from a shoot, model La’Tecia Thomas from Melbourne, Australia, posted a series of images (above) to "remind people that what you see online isn't always the complete truth" and to not compare themselves to others.
"In this instance I can’t even compare myself to myself. These photos were shot around the same time; one obviously retouched and the other not," she wrote. "When I look at the left images I’m like damn can I please look like that and its Fk$!n ME!?! If I can’t be that person on the left (which is absurd because it’s me) then I can only imagine the effect this has on women."
She went on to praise her "big arms...cellulite...back rolls" and the "dimples on [her] butt" in the natural shots. "I think both images are beautiful but be realistic with yourself, you don’t need to look a certain way to be appreciated and know that you’re worthy."
Like most models today, this isn't the first time Thomas has discussed body positivity on Instagram; she's previously shared her struggles with loving herself and learning to accept her body alongside many Photoshop-free photos. In another picture (above), she posted side-by-side images to say she was insecure and "loathed" herself at a smaller size.
"I was insecure, I compared my self to other women, constantly put myself down and never felt good enough, I’d rather be caught dead than seen in a swimsuit. The difference now other than the obvious is that I’m in a different mindset," she wrote.
"I’m not saying that you will be happier on the opposite spectrum but I think it’s important to have a positive relationship between your mind and your body first and foremost at whatever size you may be."
And when it comes to internet trolls, Thomas handles her own. She recently called out someone who called her "disgusting". She wrote: "He had no pictures, typical. So I proceeded to go through the people he followed, turns out he only followed women who shall we say were perfectly sculpted."
She continued: "I think a woman should do whatever the hell she damn well wants to do with her body and men should create a safe environment to allow a woman to be who she is.
If she wants to be natural and have cellulite all up her legs and ass then so be it.
"If she wants to invest in a pair of fake tits or have fat injected into her ass then so be it, but don't come to my freaking page and tell me that I'M DISGUSTING because I’m not what you like." Hear, hear.