A fashion influencer has sparked criticism for “reinforcing oppressive beauty standards” with a post about cellulite.
This week, Danielle Bernstein, who runs the popular fashion Instagram account and blog WeWoreWhat, uploaded a post showing her wearing the same outfit but posing in two different lights.
In the first photo, the blogger, who has more than 2.5m followers, is posing on steps with one leg placed on the step above with the “sun behind me,” a backdrop she said is “more flattering”.
In the second photo, Bernstein can be seen posing in “direct sunlight,” which she said shows her cellulite.
“Same outfit, same body, different lighting,” the influencer captioned the post. “Swipe to see the difference that lighting can make for your photo. The first has the sun behind me, so I’m back lit and it’s more flattering. The second is direct sunlight which shows my cellulite.
“Both are beautiful, but a quick 180 can dramatically change the look. Just thought I’d share,” she added.
On Instagram the comments were mostly positive, with many of Bernstein’s followers praising her for the “authenticity”.
On Twitter, however, where a screenshot of Bernstein’s post went viral, people accused the influencer of perpetuating harmful body image ideals, and teaching her followers to “hide their flaws”.
“Thin people I need you to get a grip,” a user named Stella captioned the photos, adding in a follow-up tweet that her intention wasn’t to body-shame Bernstein or “invalidate” the experiences of thin people, but rather to point out how the post could be harmful.
“Not shaming her body or invalidating experiences thin people have with bad body image, but this trend of influencers showing how they hide their ‘flaws’ that aren’t flaws reinforces oppressive beauty standards!!!” she wrote. “Talk about body image without doing the weirdo side by sides!!! Pls!!!”
In response to Stella’s post, which has been liked more than 30,000 times, many others agreed that the influencer’s message could be interpreted negatively, and pointed out that there is no noticeable cellulite in either picture.
“This backfired big time. My legs have cellulite no matter what I do and I don’t really think about it, but seeing her point it out makes me self-conscious,” one person tweeted. “I think to myself: ‘Is this something I should hide?’”
Another said: “I can’t even tell which one she means to be the ‘bad’ one.”
In July, Bernstein opened up about her insecurities on Instagram, according to the DailyMail, where she revealed she is “constantly working on self-love while under the lens of millions of people and their opinions every day”.
“I’m far from perfect and am not saying I won’t smooth out a stretch mark here or tuck in some bloating there, but I hope by opening up and sharing my vulnerabilities, it will show that you’re not alone. I’m here for you, and as always, thank you for being here for me,” she wrote.
The Independent has contacted Bernstein for comment.