This story originally appeared on Health.com by Blake Bakkila
Aylish Rutherford is a 21-year-old influencer from the UK who regularly posts food images and fitness selfies meant to inspire her 120K followers.
She always received positive feedback on her Instagram posts. But what her followers may not have realized is how curated Rutherford's account was. Some commenters would even ask her how her skin could look so flawless. (Related: This Woman Shared a Photo of the Cellulite on Her Thighs and Butt to Prove Instagram Is Not Reality)
"I always got asked, 'How don't you have cellulite?' and 'How are you so lean and toned?'" she tells Health. "My answer was always the same, 'I do have cellulite, stretch marks, and my skin moves, sags, and bloats just like everyone else!"
both me, both equally beautiful ⠀ firstly, would just like to say that in no way i am complaining about my body, saying i am fat or claiming to be - simply showing how easy it is to only see the *negatives* when you spend 24 hours per day with your body, whilst seeing perfectly posed photos of girls online for a few seconds ⠀ i have fat, i have cellulite, i have stretch marks (which cover my whole thighs) but i AM none of these things, they don’t define me & they don’t make me think any less of myself ⠀ i haven’t always loved my *flaws* - i used to spend my days as a teenager rubbing bio-oil into my thighs for HOURS, because seeing my stretch marks made me feel disgusted in myself, because the media told us these things were bad growing up ⠀ i am SO grateful our views on body image are changing for the better & that i can be a part of this, stretch marks simply show we’ve grown cellulite is literally just leg / bum dimples (we think face dimples are cute, well i think bum dimples are cute) ⠀ no matter your shape, weight & size, you are beautiful and worthy - don’t ever forget that #bodypositive
To prove this, Rutherford recently posted two images side-by-side. On the left, she's flexing her abs above the caption, "what you see." On the right, she shows herself sitting down and revealing belly rolls, cellulite, and stretch marks. (Related: 5 Cellulite Myths You Need to Get Out of Your Head)
Calling the latter 'what I see," Rutherford sparked a conversation with her followers about body image and how social media can alter appearance and obscure features users don't want others to see. (Related: This Plus-Size Model Is Determined to Stop Seeing Her Cellulite As Ugly)
"I have fat, I have cellulite, I have stretch marks (which cover my whole thighs) but I AM none of these things," she wrote in the post. "They don't define me & they don't make me think any less of myself."
She said she hasn't always loved her body, and she spent her teen years critical of the features she calls out in her post. Now, she's determined to help others achieve a positive body image. (Related: This Woman Just Proved How Easy It Is to Conceal Postpartum Stretch Marks and Loose Skin on Instagram)
"We spend all day every day with our bodies, picking apart our appearance and every flaw we notice," she says. "We easily see the bad in ourselves whilst being in awe at the perfection we see in a fleeting photo on Instagram."
She hopes people will keep this in mind while scrolling through their feeds and viewing images of so-called perfect bodies. Rutherford has a new mantra she wants her followers to take on too: Whether her body is Instagram-ready or relaxed, it's "both me, both equally beautiful."