When a 16-year-old emailed Instagram fitness star Anna Victoria to tell her that the perfect bodies she sees online have begun to chip away at her self-esteem, the message seriously struck a chord: It prompted Anna to post a makeup-free selfie with her hair undone, and a caption that led her otherwise ordinary picture to rack up more than 20,000 likes and over 500 comments overnight:
"I'm not sharing this because I think I look bad, or because tummy rolls are bad, or because cellulite, messy hair, or no makeup is bad. None of those things are bad or imperfect. They are NORMAL," Anna wrote in the caption. "The impact social media has on young girls and their self-esteem is an issue I feel very strongly about, and if me posting one casual, non-posing, non-done-up photo can help a young girl (or man, or anyone of any age!) feel better about themselves, then I'm happy to put myself out there."
FWIW, this isn't the first time Anna has put herself out there in the name of projecting normalcy. She's posted photos of herself feeling bloated after falling off the wagon:
She shares photos of herself eating delicious things that aren't green:
And right before her wedding, when she felt like she was in the best shape of her life, Anna posted a photo of what she sees as her "bad" angle, featuring belly rolls that make an appearance when most people sit:
But because perfection tends to pique people's interest, other social media influencers don't always follow suit. In the course of picking out the most flattering photos to post, it's easy for them to lose sight of their enormous influence on individuals.
Anna isn't willing to sit back and let that happen—even though she still posts super-flattering selfies:
She's now calling for more people to project accurate images of themselves on social media and find a way to achieve self-acceptance no matter what you're working with. "We need more girls who are wildly confident and loving every bit of themselves and shouting it from the rooftops. Show young girls it's not only okay, but necessary to be confident, strong young women, 'flaws,' and all," she wrote. "Love your body at every angle and don't ever be ashamed of being human, of struggling, or hey, even of loving the crap out of yourself!
It's a message everyone can use to both preach and practice.
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