In an effort to fight back against unrealistic perceptions of female aesthetics, a recent feminist movement in Russia has multitudes of women posting photos of themselves all over social media sites revealing their less flattering features.
The hashtag #AllIsFineWithMe has become increasingly popular since it was initiated by a Russian teenager battling with anorexia. Women’s rights activists believe photoshopped pictures give an over-the-top portrayal of what beauty is “supposed” to look like, which often leads to diminished self-esteem and even eating disorders among many women, especially impressionable young ladies.
“Russia is still a very patriarchal, body-conscious country where strict beauty standards and body-shaming are an everyday reality,” says Russia consultant for women’s rights group Equality Now, Janette Akhilgova. “[These types of] campaigns are a positive way to let people see how they can accept their own body and break free of the constraints which can destroy both mental and physical health. It is about diversity, inclusion, and acceptance.”
Body image acceptance is a trend that has been developing in various industries. Flight attendants on certain airlines no longer need to wear mandatory make-up, and the plus-sized modelling industry is more popular than ever before.
The Russian Instagram user @Tysya (Natalia Zemlianukhina) reached out to her followers by prompting them to upload natural pictures of themselves using the hashtag #SoMnoyVsyoTak or #AllIsFineWithMe.
Nearly 3,000 individuals have embraced the hashtag. Additionally, a video advocating the initiative promoting models with imperfections such as scars, has gained over a million views and several hundred comments as well.
A different perspective
On the other hand, some feel that the drive encourages unhealthy habits.
One user said, “All these fat girls will accept themselves as they are, and then in old age they suffer from high blood sugar”.
Make-up is deceptive, as it depicts an idea of someone’s appearance that is not genuine. Using it for fun is one thing, but altering how one looks just to be accepted as “beautiful” is a sexist and outdated point of view. However, the notion that people should accept their bodies for what they are is another way of saying that it’s okay to be lazy and avoid looking after yourself. Being underweight is not any better than being overweight. People should be striving for a balanced, fit, healthy lifestyle and avoid obsessing over either extremes of the scale. A good diet and regular exercise are important parts of human life that have been heavily distorted in the modern social machine.