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Demi Lovato's Unedited "CelluLIT" Bikini Photo Is SO Brave, But...

How messed up is it that we consider unedited photos brave in the first place?

Demi Lovato made waves when she posted an unedited bikini photo to Instagram alongside a long paragraph about body acceptance. She used the hashtag #CelluLIT, too, because cellulite is totally lit.

Like, real talk here: Demi Lovato looks awesome. Everyone has cellulite, and it's a shame that so many people (especially women) feel like it's somehow unattractive if they don't live up to an impossible beauty standard set by photoshop. In fact, I'd be willing to wager that the vast majority of men degrading women over their cellulite are actual incels, as anyone who has ever even seen a woman in real life knows that cellulite is normal and natural.

So completely genuinely, Demi Lovato's post is brave. Considering the vast number of trolls online who seem to delight in tearing women down every chance they get, posting something raw and vulnerable is a real triumph of willpower. But while I don't want to take away from Lovato's braveness, I have to wonder:

Isn't it a shame that our society considers pictures showing cellulite brave in the first place?

From fertility statues to Renaissance paintings, humans throughout history have always appreciated the female form. The interesting part is that, until relatively recently, women depicted in art actually tended to have relatively realistic bodies.

Venus and Musician Venus and Musician, Prado, c. 1550Venus and Musician, Prado, c. 1550

Weirdly enough, in a time before cameras, artists seemed to paint women's bodies as they saw them in real life. But now that we're fully capable of showing the human form exactly as it is, society has essentially decided that, nope, bodies need to be altered before they can be displayed. Flaws need to be removed. As a result, most of the female bodies we see in current art and media are edited, and therefore unrealistic.

That's f*cked up. Demi Lovato still falls firmly within the bounds of "conventionally attractive." She's probably within the top 1% of people I'd imagine most humans would find attractive. The same can be said for the vast majority of celebrities––their physical attractiveness tends to be a large part of their careers. So if we can look at Demi Lovato posting an unedited picture of her body and call that "brave," what does that say about our societal view of women? What does that say about our willingness to accept human bodies as they really are?

Perhaps we should aim to stop editing our pictures and demand that the "beautiful" people we're exposed to on a daily basis are, at the very least, depicted realistically. Maybe then, posting a picture of one's body in its natural state could just be...y'know, normal.

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