Another day, another woman being dragged on Instagram for a harmless photo.
TV presenter Kelly Brook posted a poolside bikini selfie on the photo-sharing app over the weekend. While we thought she looked stunning, commenters quickly noticed something amiss with the photo — namely, that the paneling on the deck behind Brook looks uneven, especially around her waistline.
Naturally, the comments ranged from praise to anger, accusing Brook of Photoshopping her photo and suggesting that if she really does want to "shape her body" she should "just get plastic surgery."
While Brook hasn't responded to the comments or taken the photo down, here's a reminder: She doesn't have to.
Brook is certainly not the first celebrity to catch heat for altering a photo and is definitely not going to be the last. While we firmly stand by a woman's decision to go #nofilter or post an "un-flattering" photo, we also stand behind a woman's decision to do the opposite.
At the end of the day, what you choose to do to your photos and the image you choose to convey on the internet is just that — your choice. It's not a commenter's job to police or shame a woman who wanted to whittle away an inch or two or make her breasts appear larger or smaller. Her body, her photo, her choice.
Additionally, what exactly qualifies as a Photoshopped image, anyway? Instagram comes pre-built with filters that change your skin tone and let you crop the photo in any way that you see fit. We won't shame a woman for artificially whitening her teeth or making herself appear tanner, so why do we throw so much shade at women who alter their frames on the app?
The biggest criticism of altered photos on photo-sharing apps isn't that young women might confuse those photos with reality; it's that the woman posting the photo did a bad job of altering it and must be ridiculed for it as a result. While the former is a totally legitimate concern, we instead see it as an opportunity to pit women against other women and shame each other. It's the same thing as getting "noticeable" plastic surgery — a woman altering her physical appearance is fine, but under no circumstances should we ever see the evidence of it.
As for Brook and whichever celebrity is going to be shamed for altering their photo next, remember this: Never feel ashamed of doing whatever makes you feel the most confident and the most "you," be it strategically done Photoshop or a Valencia filter.