Her pictures may be filtered, beautifully staged and showing off a gym-honed body in stunning landscapes, but fitness blogger Imre Çeçen is open about the fact she “will do anything for a good picture” – and has started to fill her feed with honest captions describing the sometimes lengthy process behind each ‘perfect’ shot.
Dutch Çeçen has 263,000 followers on Instagram and 14,000 on YouTube, and in recent weeks has posted comparison shots on how lighting can enhance abs and the absurdities of poses that look great on social media but in reality are awkward to pull off.
One of her most recent shots skewers the ‘hot dog legs’ trend on Instagram – that downward shot of thighs seemingly holidaying by themselves by a sunshine-drenched pool or beach, simultaneously managing to show off body parts and enviable vacation spot in one handy package.
Headed up as a “different kind of keep it real”, Çeçen’s post of herself sitting by a pool compares two shots of her legs.
The shot on the left is the precisely posed picture we all see on a regular basis on Instagram, while the one on the right is what we all see when we look down.
She writes: “Anyone familiar with the concept of having all ‘normal’ legs when you’re standing but as soon as you sit down they transform into huge piles of meat?”
She continues: “This is the most NORMAL thing ever yet us girls seem to be so self-conscious about it. Hello! Your legs are being pushed against a surface, they are supposed to expand! [...]
“Even muscle will just look like a huge shapeless pile of meat when there’s no flexing involved. If you don't want your legs to expand maybe invest in stone legs! I’d choose marble ones.”
She goes on to say that she believes seeing pictures of the type she often posts herself can distort people’s idea of what’s ‘normal’ and what’s not when it comes to body shape.
“We’ve just lost touch with reality because on the internet all we see are those freaking hot dog legs. I am guilty of posting those too! Yet even I wondered on my last vacay why my legs were so ‘big’ when I sat down.”
She also describes the huge amount of work that goes into creating a shot depicting the ‘ideal’ body.
“I'm pretty sure I've got a hernia now,” she jokes. “Creating that thigh gap & skinny legs feel was real hard. I had to arch my back like crazy, hold my legs up (serious ab work was involved) and had to sit on the edge of the pool which caused me to almost fall. Both my camera & I would have drowned in the sadness of insta perfection (I would survive the water though, I can swim!).”
In a previous post, she acknowledges the role Instagram stars like herself play when it comes to positive and negative ideas around body image, writing: “Although most of us instagirls seem to have a flat tummy 24/7 we really don't. Most pictures on the internet are posed and show sucked in and flexed bellies.
“Great and all but it can give you a disformed [sic] idea of reality. Cause yes, I also get affected by what I see on the internet. I have stood in front of my mirror many times wondering why I looked like I was carrying triplets whilst all other fitgirls seemed to have a flat tummy all the freaking time.
“We like to show our ‘best’ sides online and that's also okay! However from time to time we might need a reminder that no one walks around looking ‘perfect’ every single second of the day.”