LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20: Model/actress Emily Ratajkowski, wearing TOM FORD, attends the TOM FORD Autumn/Winter 2015 Womenswear Collection Presentation at Milk Studios in Los Angeles on February 20, 2015. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Tom Ford)
The manipulation of images is nothing new in 2017;?Instagram made filtering the rule as opposed to the exception early on and that has stuck – and gotten worse. It started with a simple filter, and’some took?it a step further by photoshopping their images completely.? You can almost understand why some public figures go full Kim Kardashian when it comes to altering their social media pictures; if your perfect face was on a billboard for all the world to see, would you really want your followers to see that you have flaws?? But refreshingly, many celebrities do want their fans to see that?they aren’t just rolling with PR machines, they are simply themselves.
The latest is model?Emily Ratajkowski. Her particular brand of feminism may not gel with everyone but what does is her unapologetic?vocalising about body image and the perceptions that go hand-in-hand with female sexuality.
The model and actress called out the French publication?Madame Figaro?for altering her cover photo and altering the appearance of her breasts and lips. Ratajkowski shared the before and after photos of the cover on?
?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;" target="_blank">A post shared by Celeste Barber (@celestebarber)
">Everyone is uniquely beautiful in their own ways. We all have insecurities about the things that make us different from a typical ideal of beauty. I, like so many of us, try every day to work past those insecurities. I was extremely disappointed to see my lips and breasts altered in photoshop on this cover. I hope the fashion industry will finally learn to stop trying to stifle the things that make us unique and instead begin to celebrate individuality.
A post shared by Madame Figaro Paris (@madamefigarofr) on
And objecting to these changes, doesn’t make her, as many continually label her, a hypocrite. You can be sexy and still be a feminist; you can pose for a nude photo yet still rightfully?call someone out for modifying this image.?Ratajkowski continues to speak calmly and intelligently about her choices, telling InStyle.co.uk previously, ?It’s weird to me that the reaction to a woman’s naked body is so controversial in our culture. My mum taught me to never apologise for my sexuality. My dad never made me feel embarrassed. I also don’t think I’ve ever had an awareness of my own body as being super-sexual. It was always just my body.?
Her stance is similar to that of actress Lena Dunham who last year said she would no longer allow magazines to retouch her pictures, despite still wanting to get her picture taken from time to time. “Seeing?the photo?got me thinking about the real issue, which is that I don’t recognise my own f**king body anymore. And that’s a problem,” she said. Kate Winslet, Amy Schumer, and Kerry Washington are all fellow women who have spoken out against the airbrushing machine and in doing so, are working to help create a new “normal.”
Yes, certain figures in the public eye are no longer willing to accept a retouched version of themselves fronting a magazine cover – they want their true selves revealed, wrinkles and all. It makes sense; these images aren’t realistic or attainable, but what about the other side of that coin? What if your message just happens to be that you want a particular side of yourself to be seen by the world – even if this side is airbrushed? What if this makes you feel like the best version of yourself?
I once downloaded’many apps – each with more blurring tools than the next – to try and erase a scar that can’t be fully covered with makeup because it made me feel better to see pictures where?it was less noticeable. I didn’t want to embrace?this particular imperfection because doing so, frankly, made me feel worse. Telling women to strive for unattainable perfection is very wrong but so is telling someone that if they choose not to accept a flaw – or that they want to change it -?that they are equally wrong to do so. Why not just do what feels good to you?
We aren’t telling women that for all its faults, social media is a way in which you can be the author of your own story – something that’s denied to women time and time again. I stopped comparing myself to others when I felt happier about the pictures I allowed people to see – yes my scar was more reduced than it was in life but I felt empowered that I was in control of how I was seen through some pictures. My resilance got built up over time – I?then used Instagram as a tool to harness more positive thoughts rather than to compare – and soon I no longer cared about my scar; I was just happy being me.
Emily Ratajkowski spearheads this idea: fully embracing her sexuality – appearing nude while not wanting to be overtly sexualised by the media -?and speaking out about it. That’s her story, her normal even though she’s harrassed by trolls for doing either – or both.
The message we need to see – regardless of which side of the fence you sit – is simply encouragement for others to embrace their normal without judgment. Airbrush your images, don’t airbrush them; just focus on doing what makes you feel like the best version of yourself – and soon the comparisons might just start to feel redundant.