Just as you can’t believe everything you read, it goes without saying that you can’t believe everything you see on Instagram.
Thanks to filters and other subtle tweaks, most of the photos we scroll past betray a slightly-more-lovely-than-usual version of reality. A little bit of ‘Hefe’ here, some brightening there, and poof! – under-eye bags, uneven skin tone, and other so-called ‘flaws’ suddenly vanish.
Celebrities are as guilty of this photo alteration as any of us, even when they’re among the most aesthetically beautiful humans on the earth. Most of the time, their behind-the-curtain social media snaps lead us to believe they’re immune from the pimples and stretch marks that befall the rest of us.
Which is why Chrissy Teigen’s latest Instagram post has made us smile.
The American model, who is married to musician John Legend, shared a photo of her legs covered in bruises from "bumping kitchen door handles for a week". See, you're not the only one who collides with household objects occasionally.
But what really caught the attention of Teigan's followers was the faint stretch marks on her upper thighs, which she made no attempt to filter out. "Stretchies say hi!" she writes.
This is great for a few reasons. Firstly, when paparazzi shots of celebrities with cellulite, acne or even a makeup-free face are enough to spike tabloid magazine sales, it's refreshing to see a woman like Chrissy Teigan taking some of that power back by unapologetically owning her 'imperfections'. (Post continues after gallery.)
Then there's the positive flow-on effect for women more generally. Although social media platforms like Instagram have made staying in touch easier than ever, the visual nature of this communication can significantly influence how we see ourselves, often negatively.
"With there being such a strong emphasis and focus on ‘how we look’ within our society, the fear of being judged for the way you look or don't look is out of control," says Christine Morgan, CEO of The Butterfly Foundation. "We are surrounded by images of the ideal body and are encouraged by media and key influencers on social media to control what we eat and how we look."
A quick glance at the comments section of Teigen's photo suggests her followers are stoked by her honesty. "I have stretch marks in the same exact place and have had them since I was 15," one wrote. "Thanks for keeping it real. And careful on those kitchen drawers!" another added.
Teigen isn't the only celebrity who's been keeping it real on social media this week. Former The Bachelor Australia contestant Sam Frost updated her Instagram yesterday, taking a #nofilter approach in all senses of the word.
"The reality • no make-up • no filter • no edits • just me, dark circles, patchy tan, blemished face, uneven eyebrows, dirty hair," she captioned the photo.
"And while I have fun getting dolled up, young girls shouldn't scroll their Instagram and have a unrealistic idea of what they should look like. Do you, and love you. Exactly the way you are." Judging by the comments, Sam's message has struck a chord.