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Woman's 'Instagram vs. Reality' series reminds people what real bodies look like

'We need to see more unposed and unedited photos on Instagram and other social media platforms, especially with younger generations joining social media platforms earlier and earlier.'

Woman's 'Instagram vs. Reality' series reminds people what real bodies look like
Cover Image Source: Instagram/Sara Puhto

Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 16, 2022.

Sara Puhto has been posting on Instagram since 2015. While the content creator from Finland initially focused on posting about fitness, she soon realized she was adding to the unrealistic body standards driven by social media. "I used to be a fitness content creator in 2015/2016, so I was posting photos of my 'fitness progress' and those curated photos that I talk about on my page now, so it was scary for me at first when I had that realization that I was adding to the falsities on Instagram," Puhto told Bored Panda. She admitted that despite being a fitness blogger, she too felt insecure about her body.



 

"I realized that the photos that I was posting may have been making other people feel like this," she told Insider. However, when she decided to launch her 'Instagram Vs Reality' series, which demonstrates how different the same body can look with a few tweaks, Puhto was scared about how people would respond. Fortunately, social media users were glad to see someone sharing the truth about human bodies. "It was received very well by others and I got a lot of positive reactions and support towards it," Puhto said. "I feel that the reaction continues to be the same, even though I've been doing this for years, I continue to receive positive feedback about it, mostly."



 

Today Puhto has over 411k followers on Instagram. "I think this is because we need to see more unposed and unedited photos on Instagram and other social media platforms, especially with younger generations joining social media platforms earlier and earlier, I think it's important to expose them to unedited and not posed photos as opposed to them only seeing curated photos 24/7," she said. "I think the thing that motivates me to continue doing it is knowing that it helps people, the messages, comments, emails and DMs I get motivate me more than I can explain. Because I know how it feels to be in such a dark place regarding your body image, or just disliking the body you're in, or the insecurities getting too much. So if I can be of help to even a few people, it means the world to me."



 

Puhto admitted that the series also acts as a form of self-care for herself. "I also get motivated to keep going because it helps me as well, on days where I don't feel well (either mentally or emotionally about my body), it helps having a platform to say these things and be like 'hey, it's okay to not be okay, we can embrace that as well!' I just love doing what I'm doing because of the two-way support, and it gives me an opportunity to connect with people on a deeper emotional level than you sometimes would through casual acquaintances," she said.



 

The 25-year-old shared that she doesn't feel good about her body every second of her life and that as with good and bad hair days, there are days when she feels like a goddess and others where she feels horrible about her physique. Addressing the rising criticism that the body positivity movement promotes toxic positivity, Puhto said she believes "it depends on the context at times. Overall I think the body positivity movement is helpful and gives a positive voice and outlook to individuals whose bodies have been marginalized in society. I do think it's important to highlight the non-linearity of self-acceptance and/or self-love. It's unrealistic to expect yourself to feel 100% in love with your body every day! It's a process, it won't happen overnight and there will always be ups and downs, just like everything in life. I think body acceptance comes with acknowledging those difficult negative emotions which come with living."



 



 



 



 

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