When was the last time you posted a photo of yourself to social media proudly displaying your acne, ‘tiger stripes’, or surgery scars?
In the age of Instagram filters, Photoshop — and when the quality of a friendship is predicated on how many photos you’re willing to take of a mate on a night out — we’ve become accustomed to accepting perfection as the norm, rather than the exception.
And you know what, we’re sick and tired of it. It’s intimidating, unrealistic, exhausting, and disregards the fundamental truth that beauty has many definitions.
On Monday evening, Gee posted an empowering image to Instagram Stories to challenge the unrealistic perceptions of what we commonly deem beautiful, after a publication described the 23-year-old as being left ‘horribly disfigured’ by an acid attack.
‘As a community, we must update our respective by celebrating all beauty in the media: more inclusion, more diversity, less ideals, less norms,’ she wrote to Instagram.
Speaking to ELLE UK about her decision to launch the hashtag, Gee explains:
‘I wrote a personal article about my ongoing recovery from surviving an acid attack. We focussed on the recovery, gaining confidence and the lack of diversity on social media. However, the heading (without informing me) was “girl horribly disfigured”. I wanted to stand up for myself. It’s such a damaging title with no positive impact of positive on someone’s perception of beauty and scarring.’
With the post, she launched the hashtag ‘#settingthestandard‘, inviting followers and members of the public to screenshot her message and post a picture of themselves.
However, the campaign doesn’t just want any picture, but one of which users have been self-critical or thought twice about uploading due to media pressures of what’s seen as attractive.
And let’s just say, the response has been awe-inspiring.
In less than 48 hours, followers of the London-based campaigner have posted several images of themselves proudly showing off their acne scars, sweat marks, burns, birthmarks, cellulite, operation scars, stretch marks, double chins and skin conditions.
Supporters of the campaign have also praised Gee for her celebration of beauty in all its diverse forms and are tagging several friends and celebrities to join in on the action.
French model Juliet Barbe posted a picture of her breasts with the caption: ‘We need to see more diversity. Less norms.’ Meanwhile, Co-Founder of GoGetGlitter Holly Pollack posted a picture of her ectopic surgery and breast reduction scars.
Gee says her aim of the hashtag is to break down the ‘immense and unrealistic pressure of social media to look perfect’.
She adds: ‘Those with any insecurity can flaunt it — the more people that do this, the more normalised anything they consider a ‘flaw’ (aka being a normal human) will be! Social media isn’t real life. Ninety-nine per cent of what we see is curated!’
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
To join us in supporting the campaign, post a photograph of yourself and the hashtag ‘#SettingTheStandard’ to change the way the world celebrates beauty.