Instagram vs. Reality: A Movement

Scrolling through Instagram last night, as I always do, I stumbled across something that caught my attention and made me see things in a slightly different way. 2016 Love Island finalist, Olivia Bowen, posted a lengthy story focusing on the power of angles and posture using Gym Shark leggings to prove how Instagram influencers and models can manipulate their bodies to create the best images for their profile.

Using the hashtag #GetReal, recently married reality star Olivia Bowen exposed the ‘secrets of high-waisted gym leggings and posture’ by comparing footage of her fully posed and looking amazing, with more realistic images featuring natural posture. She set out to let everyone know that Instagram is simply a platform where people post themselves at their best and it is so harmful to compare your natural state to other people’s posed perfection – and she did a pretty good job!

Instagram: Olivia Buck

Nobody is Perfect

‘Instagram vs Reality’ posts is a popular trend for Instagram influencers and particularly reality stars. They were created for the purpose of exposing the falseness of social media and to assure people that it is okay to be yourself and that nobody on this entire planet and galaxy is perfect.

The trend usually consists of comparing two pictures: one perfectly posed and Instagram-worthy, and one more realistic view taken at the same time with more natural posing and lighting. I love seeing popular influencers doing this and it makes me really respect them, as it shows that they care about the mentality of their followers and shows encouragement to a more healthier social media environment. I really respect people who do this as it makes them so much more relatable – social media is a big part of their job and it is usually necessary for them to come across as ‘perfect’ but posting realistic images can sometimes impact their actual careers and relationship with Instagram and other brands. However, when they post these realistic images it attracts nothing but praise and respect from the world of social media – could this be a sign of a change in mentality and what will be considered popular on Instagram in the future?

Instagram: Anna Victoria

Give Us More!

I think I speak on behalf of every Instagram user when I say these realistic comparison posts do wonders for our self confidence. It lets us know the reality behind an image. When I look at a fully-posed image of myself, I’m aware of all of my flaws and how I look when I’m not fully Instagrammed up. However, when other people look at those pictures that I post they will assume I look like that all the time. When I’m lying in bed with a face full of spot cream and unwashed hear tied up in a bun on top of my head, scrolling through endless pictures of perfect girls, it makes me feel so shit to see such pretty images when I feel so ugly. What I need to remember is that these girls don’t look like that. We compare other people’s highlights with our own blooper reals and once again, add pressure on ourselves to look a certain way – I think the world of Instagram is started to say enough is enough.

Let’s have more realistic posts! I want to see your reality, not your poses. Show me pictures of your dog, let me see naturally candid photos of you laughing with your friends. I am so bored of pouty, miserable-looking poses of girls wearing the same Pretty Little Thing dress that we have all seen before. I want to see everyone adventures, their family, their home. This is a key reason why I went on a major unfollowing spree of influencers last year to create a more natural timeline of people I know and accounts that post real life. I was so done with fakery and seeing unrealistic images of people that don’t even exist. But this movement has potential to transform Instagram into a much more enjoyable place. It is an amazing app and can achieve incredible things in terms of career and promotion. It would be a shame to see it all go to shit over a complete false reputation of human life.

The Real Image

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done my fair share of filtering and posing to get the best image for Instagram. But, ultimately, this does nothing but make my self esteem worse. I think the reasons behind selfies and social media’s can be explored in such deep psychological detail, the reasons we want personal likes and attention on social media can reveal so much about our personalities (I’ll go into the psychology of all that another day). Why do we do it? Why do we want to come across as someone we know we’re not? It can be a number of reasons: a defence mechanism to hide who we really are, to impress followers or to gain following.

No matter how much we edit our photos, we will always know what we look like at our worst. I am so guilty of scrolling through filtered images of myself when I feel shit about my appearance and thinking ‘oh I wish I looked like that now’ knowing fine well I didn’t even look like that at the time. I genuinely think I’m a bit of a catfish sometimes! If you looked at my Instagram and compared it to how I rock up to work – hair in a bun, bags under my eyes, glasses on – then you wouldn’t believe your eyes.

Ultimately, my instagram is full of my best moments: before a night out, looking skinny on holiday, in my best outfits. I’m never going to posts a picture of myself in fluffy Disney pyjamas with a face mask on and looking kinda scary, or makeup free after a heavy night looking like a scarecrow. I’ll continue to post my best filtered images, but I definitely focus more on real life memories and edge more away from fake moments.

Instagram: Nikita Alexander


I completely understand the role of influencers and that its their job to look pretty and promote products to increase sales. Working in digital marketing, I know that social media is the biggest advertising platform of the moment. I know that the likes of Olivia Buck make over £1000 per Instagram post promoting a product. I know that perfectly filtered images representing a perfect life attract the most following.

I just think the whole Kardashian lifestyle is outdated in modern social media. 99% of Kim Kardashian’s followers probably don’t drive a Bentley, probably don’t have billions sitting in the bank and probably can’t afford daily plastic surgery for the perfect big-butt hour glass figure. So why is everyone so obsessed?

Yeah, it’s okay to dream and maybe you want to be like the Kardashians one day. But do you not realise how damaging it is to obsess over a completely unrealistic lifestyle? I personally don’t see the attraction with the Kardashians. Yeah they’re beautiful to look at and I do agree that they’ve done amazingly well in terms of building a brand for themselves. But I am so over this ‘perfect’ Instagram Kardashian life. I’m sick of seeing young girls obsess over Kylie Jenner – I’m going to write a full blog post on the Kardashians and their social impact on young girls because there is so much to talk about!

Let’s start posting natural life. I look for Instagram accounts now who show me their memories, experiences and hobbies. I want deeper insight into their lives not just what eyeshadow pallette they’re wearing. I am so over it.

– Beauty by Disaster x

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