Iskra Lawrence Uses Instagram's New Feature to School Us on Body Positivity

Iskra Lawrenceiskra/Instagram
There's a lot to love about the body-positivity movement that's gained traction on the Internet in recent years. But if you're not on the "love every inch of myself" train just yet, you're going to love model Iskra Lawrence's first post using Instagram's new carousel photo feature (the one you can test out with those itty bitty white bubbles at the bottom of photos). The Aerie model behind the hashtag #everyBODYisbeautiful and ambassador for the National Eating Disorder Association snapped three photos of herself wearing the same exact bathing suit -- albeit shown from different angles -- and posted them with the new gallery option.

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Her basic message: Look, you guys, angles can be pretty darn deceiving, so don't get too caught up in what someone looks like in a photo.

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Just look at the difference from the sitting photo (above) to this one of Lawrence standing up:

Iskra Lawrence
iskra/Instagram

And when she turns to the side:

Iskra Lawrenceiskra/Instagram

As Lawrence notes: "You can see how in the second I look less thick than the third - poses can change a lot!" 

Good message? Absolutely. But the real gem in Lawrence's viral post might be the one at the very end of her lengthy caption:  

Finally for anyone whose [sic] not comfortable looking at these pics or posting their own photos in swimwear or lingerie I get it. It's not for everyone & no one should ever feel pressure to do it. And especially not for social validation, likes or follows. Our bodies are magical and imperfectly perfect but they do not define us and we are so much more than just the way we look.

One more time for the people in the back, Iskra!

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When we talk about embracing our bodies and beauty at every size, women like Iskra who are content with their "curves" are wonderful to see, not least in ad campaigns like Aerie's.

But as important as it is to talk about the tricks of photography, it's heartening to hear her acknowledge the elephant in the body-positive room.  

You can tell people they're beautiful and tell them to embrace their bodies as often as you want, but we're facing decades upon decades of hate for bodies that don't fit some very strict societal standards ... standards that the body-positivity movement is pushing out of the forefront but still exist.

What's more, body dysmorphic disorder -- which is intrinsically tied with this issue -- is one of those medical conditions that may not be seen but is no less real. You can't back slap someone out of a medical condition, as nice as that would be. 

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We need to remain cognizant that just as Rome wasn't built in a day, people who struggle from different forms of body dysmorphia, whether they've risen to clinical levels or not, are not going to "better" overnight. These folks don't need to be shamed or shut out of the conversation just because they're not up for hashtagging a photo of themselves. They should be encouraged to take part in their own way.  

If someone is comfortable sharing photos of herself on Instagram in her bikini, that's pretty dang fantastic. But supporting each other means not forcing our own ideals on someone else. 

Thank goodness we've got Iskra Lawrence leading the way. 

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