Instagram & Kelly

posted on September 18, 2018

Young girls are spending a lot of time looking at highly sexualised and perfected images of people on social media. Pictures that are being validated by likes, comments and follows.

Before social media, we’d see celebrities being celebrated on TV as these uniquely perfect individuals. Now days, anybody can be a celebrity through their phone. With Photoshop apps, filters and professional makeup, these ‘perfect people’ can seem much closer to home.

Without a doubt, this influence is responsible for the aggressive and obsessive fitness and diet regimes which people are adopting, and unfortunately, these regimes are often not mentally or physically healthy.

For 4 years, I was somebody who was affected by these images. I saw my idols posting pictures of their bodies with huge bottoms and tiny waists, getting so much attention and validation and celebration… and on top of that, they were able to make a living off these pictures! I was completely inspired, and decided that I too wanted to share my fitness journey online.

Being into sports, I already had an athletic body and was naturally bottom heavy, so shortly after I started seriously weight training I noticed some radical changes in my physique and started to share pictures of myself online.

It wasn’t long before I started getting similar attention to my idols. It became a sort of addiction. I’d contort my body to make my waist seem smaller, and train my glutes to make them bigger and bigger so my pictures looked unreal. My diet was actually healthy in terms of macro and micro nutrients, but extremely restrictive. Any processed foods or sugars would be completely avoided, and fats were approached with extreme caution.

Constant celebration and idolisation from social media was teaching me that I was doing everything right. The followers, the celebration, the opportunity to make money for myself, and go on exciting trips and events with brands…

At the age of 25 I realised that this whole experience was teaching me some pretty shitty messages about my body and life, being;

  1. Success in life is having a big bottom and a tiny waist
  2. A woman’s worth is equal to the size of her bottom
  3. A woman’s personality isn’t worth showing – it has no value
  4. Processed food are for weak people with no discipline
  5. I am better than others because I have a big bottom
  6. I am better than others because I have Instagram followers

These were my genuine thoughts – but how did I realise that they were toxic? I tried to stop posting pictures of my body online. I couldn’t believe how difficult I found this… I felt COMPELLED to post… I felt as though people would think I’d fallen behind, like I was worthless or that I wasn’t keeping up with the Jones’. Posting pictures gave me a sense of relief and a sort of confirmation in myself… like ‘ahh… thank GOD you’ve still got it and now the entire world knows and can validate you’.

But the scary thing is… this is an actual culture. This is actually what’s happening on social media. People are being taught that their body is their main asset, and the ONLY currency that matters. Seeking validation is a trend.

A young woman wearing a graduation gown surrounded by a beautiful family = 50 likes.

A young woman wearing tight gym leggings hoisted into her rectum with Drake lyrics in the caption = 100,000 likes.

The culture is frightening, which is why I’ve introduced Kelly. Quick background… my second passion is performing arts. Name a play, I’ve probably been in it.

Kelly is here to disrupt the fitness space. She’s a character that I invented to actively take the piss out of all the bull shit that comes with the fitness culture on Instagram. Not EVERYTHING is bull shit in the fitness community, but there’s a fair bit I’d like to expose. Kelly not only allows me to vent my feelings on all the BS, she’s also here to raise awareness and help people to understand that what your body looks like isn’t the be all and end all of life.

@hells_fitness