The debates surrounding before and after photos posted by fitness influencers attribute to the overall dysfunctional perfect body issue. For someone to take a progression photo as something pessimistic only directs hateful negativity towards the influencer. A before and after photo in its entirety, is a demonstration of the hard work they have put into bettering themselves physically or mentally. It is not something that should be taken as supporting a certain body type as there are so much more than just “fat to skinny” before and after photos. There are various fitness influencers that post before and after photos exhibiting weight gain versus weight loss in displaying their progression in not only their fitness but their mental health. Many fitness bloggers come under harsh scrutiny when they post such photos which raises question as to why post their fitness routine at all if they cannot show how far they have come themselves. The only instance where before and after photos become toxic lies in the use of photoshop.
In recent months, Irish influencers have been slammed by the newly emerged Instagram account ‘Bloggers Unveiled’. This account, now involved in an ongoing criminal investigation, was the real-life Gossip Girl exposing the questionable behaviour of Irish influencers. It deemed their adverts as mostly fake and the products they use as cheap and a waste of money. This led to the Irish fit family to have their own battering for a period of time when an Instagram account called ‘FitFamFailures’ was established. This has since been deleted, but it opened eyes to all about just how edited these gym goers’ photos are. It gave us junk food eaters hope knowing these photos were digitally aided, however, could it not be determined as a continuing circle of hatred? These vigilante accounts ended up essentially as a place for the Irish people to winch. Not to deem these accounts as bad, they gave agency and useful insight, but is there anything to gain in just directing pure hatred towards these influencers? One influencer in particular who was virtually attacked, attends DCU and studies in the faculty of sports. It was clear she had heavily edited some photos, however the comments towards this individual were straight up nasty and thoughts were shifted from the heavy editing to how this girl must feel in seeing something so malicious.
The evolving fitness community has given courage to women to prosper in weightlifting versus cardio but what is the point, given it creates an adjoining colony of judgement? The exercise routine may have changed from running on a treadmill for an hour straight to squatting 100 kilos, but the global perspective has not. We cannot move forward as an accepting and loving society if women cannot feel comfortable posting their progression on social media in fear of backlash. Backlash such as that they are conforming to the stereotypical body image. Foremost, there is no stereotypical body image.