‘Kiss my fat ass’: Singer takes on ugly side of Insta
AMY Sheppard has opened up about the lifelong struggle with body image issues and the impossible expectations behind her decision to ditch filters and retouching to reveal her "dimply bum".
The Brisbane singer-songwriter, who sparked a nationwide social media movement empowering women to embrace their insecurities using the hashtag "#kissmyfatass", told The Courier-Mail she was fed up with the push to present a flawless body on Instagram after copping criticism.
"I was actually an obese child so I really struggled, I've been bullied before," she said.
"I've been labelled pretty much every name under the sun in my lifetime. I've been labelled a whale, I've been labelled fat, and then when I did lose the weight (between the age of 14 and 15) it was like 'oh she's anorexic, she's not eating' - even though I was eating. And now I've been doing these body positive posts I've been told 'oh you're not fat enough to be in the body positive squad'.
"It doesn't matter what size you are, it doesn't mean you aren't subject to feeling self-conscious and my body is not perfect, and that's all I'm trying to show people."
The vocalist for Brisbane band Sheppard said she previously felt "demoralising" pressure to stay thin so she could wear certain clothes for photoshoots and even used to treat the gym as punishment.
"These days (at a photoshoot) I make sure the stylist knows I'm a size 12 and I'm very open about that," she said.
Sheppard, whose body positive posts have attracted support from the likes of plus-size model Fiona Falkiner, former Biggest Loser trainer Tiffiny Hall and Grant Denyer's wife, Chezzi, said she had had enough of the "damaging" culture of portraying perfection on Instagram.
"When you read a fashion magazine, you know it's going to be retouched because it's a professional photoshoot and they've got teams behind them but when it comes to following the average Brisbane girl, they don't realise that there is editing behind these photos," she said.
She said Instagram could be an "ugly world" where people tried to make their lives look better than others'.
"I am just done with that kind of attitude and lifestyle," Sheppard said. "The amount of effort that goes into a perfect photo, I just don't want any part of that anymore.
"Like 'oh I have to get the right lighting' or 'we have to order all this food that we're not going to eat because it's going to make the table look good for a photo'. It's just ridiculous and I can't keep up with it anymore.
"I've been to events where it's all about getting the photo and then, for the rest of the event, people aren't talking toeach other, they're on their phones editing and uploading their photos."
Sheppard said she was still learning to love her body but sharing unfiltered images helped her overcome a big fear - being judged and not feeling beautiful.
"I feel more confident and more beautiful than ever before," she said.