"I have fat, I have cellulite, I have stretch marks..." she captioned this powerful image.
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.
“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!”
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.
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.
“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.
“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.”