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Fitness influencer photoshops herself to reflect unrealistic ‘Instagram beauty standards’

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A body positive fitness blogger has shared heavily Photoshopped photos of herself to reflect ‘Instagram beauty standards’ – and prove that what you see on social media isn’t always truthful.

Blogilates founder Cassey Ho, 32, from California, studied images of the top 100 most-followed women on the platform to spot any trends and patterns in their looks.

She determined 24 physical attributes shared by the majority of the Instagrammers, which included plump lips, big dark eyes and flat abs, and snapped a series of make-up free shots as well as photos with a social media friendly make-over, and then handed them to a graphics editor to work their magic. 

The certified Pilates instructor then shared the before and after shots on her Instagram page and YouTube channel, with the aim of raising awareness about social media beauty ideals.

Body positive fitness influencer Cassey Ho shared heavily Photoshopped photos of herself to reflect 'Instagram beauty standards' - and prove that what you see on social media isn't always truthful

Body positive fitness influencer Cassey Ho shared heavily Photoshopped photos of herself to reflect 'Instagram beauty standards' - and prove that what you see on social media isn't always truthful

Body positive fitness influencer Cassey Ho shared heavily Photoshopped photos of herself to reflect ‘Instagram beauty standards’ – and prove that what you see on social media isn’t always truthful

‘Beauty standards, like fashion, change over time,’ she explained in a YouTube video.

‘In the days before we had social media, beauty habits were dictated by where you lived and your ethnicity.’

But Cassey argues celebrities and traditional media are what now dictate the beauty standard.

‘Platforms like Instagram can tell us exactly who is the most followed and therefore the most influential at this very second. Naturally these influencers have become the new beauty standard,’ she deduced.

Sharing the images on Instagram, she wrote how girls these days ‘don’t know what’s real or what’s not’. 

Cassey made a list of the top 100 female Instagram stars purely based on following – with Ariana Grande (164million), Selena Gomez (156m) and Kim Kardashian (147m) occupying the top three places. 

She then came up with 24 attributes that women can be judged on, including hair colour, hair length, neck length, face and body shape, eye colour, nose shape, clothing size, flatness of stomach, chest size, prominence of butt, age and height.

‘After a couple of weeks of gathering data and categorising data, I can tell you that there is most definitely a formula and very specific beauty standard that the top 100 most-followed women on Instagram adhere to,’ Cassey said. 

‘It’s fascinating but also incredibly eerie at a time when you would think social media has evened the playing field for women of all body types, ethnicities and skin colour.’

Cassey decided to turn herself into a top 100 female Instagrammer by overhauling her look with a millennial makeover thanks to an online tutorial - and adding a heavy dose of Photoshop

Cassey decided to turn herself into a top 100 female Instagrammer by overhauling her look with a millennial makeover thanks to an online tutorial - and adding a heavy dose of Photoshop

Cassey decided to turn herself into a top 100 female Instagrammer by overhauling her look (pictured left with no make-up) with a millennial makeover thanks to an online tutorial – and adding a heavy dose of Photoshop (right also with make-up)

Cassey, whose photo was edited on Photoshop, said her project showed her that people online are all following a type of beauty standard, whether or not we think we’re subscribing to it

Cassey, whose photo was edited on Photoshop, said her project showed her that people online are all following a type of beauty standard, whether or not we think we’re subscribing to it

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She discovered that the most common attributes are being a light-skinned caucasian, aged 22, with a height of 5ft 7in, dark and big eyes, black or dark brown mid-back length hair, a heart-shaped face, a small nose, an hourglass figure, a long neck, a flat stomach (but not muscular abs) and plump lips, with B-cup boobs or higher.

Cassey decided to turn herself into a top 100 female Instagrammer by overhauling her look with a millennial makeover thanks to an online tutorial – and adding a heavy dose of Photoshop.

The video showed how Photoshop was able to change her chest size, lighten her skintone and enhance her lips and eyes, making them bigger. It also turned her face into more of a heart shape and adjusted her nose and neck length. 

The results were pretty shocking, especially when shared side-by-side.

‘This project showed me that people online are all following a type of beauty standard, whether or not we think we’re subscribing to it,’ Cassey told Insider

In her online video, Cassey showed how an editor changed the shape of her features and enhanced her chest size

In her online video, Cassey showed how an editor changed the shape of her features and enhanced her chest size

Cassey before Photoshop and make-up

Cassey's Photoshopped face was more of a heart shape, with enhanced eye and lip size and lightened skin

Cassey’s Photoshopped face was more of a heart shape, with enhanced eye and lip size and lightened skin

‘I wonder what the next beauty ideal will look like 10 years from now,’ Cassey concluded in her video.

Her project was widely praised on her YouTube and Instagram pages, with many leaving positive comments.

One wrote: ‘The photoshopped photos makes you look like all the others, nothing special. The little “mistakes” makes a face (and body) interesting and special.’

‘Your photoshopped pics especially the selfie… I’m scared!!! I wish people would stop idolizing these beauty standards and appreciate natural beauty!’ commented another. 

Pictured before make-up and Photoshop

Pictured after Photoshop

Her project was widely praised on her YouTube and Instagram pages, with many leaving positive comments. Pictured before make-up and Photoshop (left) and after (right)

One revealed: ‘That’s why I hate Instagram, they be preaching body positive but in reality it’s all about hiding your face under thousands of make-up and photoshop,’ while another asked: ‘Please do a research on beauty standards for men too! I’m really curious to see.’ 

Cassey previously took to her blog to share that she is embarking on a ’90 Day Challenge’ to get in the best shape of her life, both mentally and physically, after stepping on the scale and learning she weighed 136 lbs, the heaviest she has ever been. 

The YouTuber explained that she has also been censoring herself online to shield herself from criticism, so her other goal is to freely share her thoughts and blog every day of the challenge, starting with her desire to transform her life. 



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