In a refreshing departure from the norm, Australian model and swimwear designer Karina Irby has been using her Instagram platform to promote body positivity by sharing unretouched photos of herself, complete with cellulite and eczema scars. The 28-year-old decided in 2018 to stop using Photoshop and filters to enhance her images, choosing instead to showcase her natural body as an example for young women to embrace their own.
In a post on Instagram, Karina explained her motivations for revealing her authentic self, writing, “I like to post content online of what I want to see more of on social media.” She shared that her decision was not driven by the desire for attention or likes but rather to counteract the unrealistic beauty standards she was exposed to during her teens and early twenties. Karina wished that she had seen someone flaunting their natural “flaws” to prove that they were not flaws at all.
Karina’s posts challenge the common notion that women should hide imperfections such as cellulite, loose skin, body hair, scars, and bloating. She encourages women to embrace these natural occurrences as normal aspects of their bodies. By sharing unedited photos, Karina helps debunk the illusion of perfection often portrayed by models on social media, which is primarily achieved through editing.
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To emphasize the impact of editing on one’s appearance, Karina shares side-by-side comparisons of retouched and unretouched images, highlighting the differences made by simple posing and the use of Photoshop. In one post, she demonstrates how a two-second transformation can alter her appearance from posing to relaxing, complete with a bloated stomach and different swimsuit bottom placement.
Although Karina acknowledges that it is human nature to post photos where one looks their best, she stresses the importance of not judging oneself based on others’ online personas. She reminds her over one million followers that a single image cannot define a person’s beauty, health, or value.
Unfortunately, despite the body positivity movement, Karina still faces hateful comments and body-shaming from online trolls. However, she remains undeterred in her mission to help others find happiness and self-acceptance, even if it means taking occasional breaks from social media.
Karina Irby’s unretouched photos and candid discussions about body image serve as a powerful reminder to appreciate our natural appearances without falling into the trap of comparing ourselves to others on social media. As more people like Karina embrace and normalize aspects like cellulite, eczema scars, and bloating, we can foster a healthier, more realistic perception of beauty that goes beyond the superficial.