These days, it’s hard to go on Instagram without spotting at least one photo of someone’s perfectly sculpted, smooth butt. Whether it’s someone as famous as Kylie Jenner, a bikini model in a ridiculously beautiful location, or a girl in one of your classes, belfies (butt selfies, obviously) don’t seem to be going anywhere – and they’re also getting more and more unrealistic. The butts you spot on Insta are big (but not too big), accompanied by a tiny waist, and they are always super, super smooth. Like, so smooth that the skin barely resembles, well, skin. In other words, there is not a butt dimple in sight. This can lead to the thought: are you one of the only ones out there with a puckered behind? Should your butt actually be that smooth?
To put it simply: uh, eff no. While I am sure there are plenty of women (and men) out there who do lots of squats and maintain very healthy lifestyles so that they can, in fact, have a butt that is actually smooth…. there are more people out there who are editing their belfies to make their ass look *perfect.* And while anyone out there can do whatever they want with their own photos, I think it’s unfortunate that the editing has gotten to a level where it makes so many people feel like crap. Sure, you can argue that people should be able to tell the difference, but that’s not exactly fair. Just look at this very obviously Photoshopped photo of Hillary Duff that’s making the rounds on Twitter today – to me, it’s incredibly clear that the photo on the left is fake, but a lot of people fell for it!
Here’s the truth about butt dimples: they are totally normal. In fact, more people have butt dimples than people who don’t have butt dimples. That’s because your butt is made up of a mix of fat and muscles, and if there’s more fat than muscle, you’re probably, at some point, going to see some cellulite there. This is even more true for anyone who has a big butt – unless they achieved that look by doing a ton of squats and lunges, it’s made up of a lot of fat, which can easily translate to cellulite.
Why are we even discussing this, though? Because of a viral Instagram photo, where a girl wrote a cute little love letter to her butt dimples in the caption. Victoria Dariano is a body-positive fitness Instagrammer who regularly shares photos of herself looking toned and fit, the perfect example of “thick” in the socially acceptable form: curves in right spots, toned in the right spots. The love letter started with this photo, where Victoria showed how different anyone can make their butt look thanks to angles, lighting, and body positioning:
Her caption for this reads, “Dis my butt, dis also my butt. The difference? One is posed with a good angle and in good lighting, the other isn’t posed and in different lighting. On the left, you’d think I have smooth skin and no cellulite. The right you can see that I have some bumps and in fact do have cellulite. I’m posting this because the other day someone messaged me and said they were having a bad body-image day. She was trying on bikinis and all she could see was cellulite and a muffin-top. Well let me make a few things clear. Almost everyone I know, myself included has some kind of cellulite… change room lighting makes EVERYTHING show on my butt… like the most cellulite. AND if I wear low-rise bikini bottoms I also have a muffin-top! Want to know what all of this makes me? And makes you? A WOMAN. That’s is, that’s all. Whatever idea you have for yourself and this ‘image’ you think you need to look like. Throw that shit out. Own those curves, own that cellulite, embrace that beautiful and simply womanly body!”
It might sound corny in a ~love yourself no matter what~ type of way that can quickly feel exhausting, but Victoria makes a good, and important, point: most of the photos you see on Instagram have been carefully set up and edited to make them look their best. They are almost never exact representations of reality. It’s easy to feel down on yourself after seeing a photo of someone with a butt that looks “perfect,” but it’s so important to remember that it probably isn’t all real.
That caption and photo led to this photo, with a love letter to butt dimples that we could all use sometimes:
The letter is long, but worth reading:
“Dear Butt Dimples: I remember the first day you appeared. I was 15 years old. Since then you have had a hugely negative impact on my life. Since then you have made me feel less about myself. You not only made me feel fat, but also unworthy. You have always had an impact on what I chose to wear. I would avoid certain bikinis, and even some of my favorite leggings. I would never feel confident in a bikini because I thought everyone was staring at you. I would never wear my favorite leggings because again I always thought people were starting at you. Long shirts were my go-to as it was a way I could cover you up and have a moment of peace within my mind as no one would be judging you.
“I remember endless hours of looking at you in the mirror, squeezing you and wondering why I had you. I remember crying of embarrassment as other girls I was friends with didn’t have you. I would exercise extra hard in hopes you would go away. I would eat better also in hopes you would go away. I even considered cellulite treatments so you would finally just go away. You never did, you still haven’t. You took a lot of joy away from me, you caused a lot of stress for me, you made me insecure and took away my confidence. I could never feel in shape as you were always there.
I am writing you today to tell you I have finally stopped letting you win. You will no longer make me feel unworthy, not good enough or not in shape because of you. I will no longer be afraid to wear certain bathing suits or leggings because of you. I will no longer hide you. You are what you are and I have finally come to peace with that. I have finally accepted you. when I reflect back on this I realize how stupid it is to have let something this superficial have an impact on my life but it did. I am happy that I have been able to overcome this and I hope if you have a similar struggle you can realize that you too can and will. Don’t let things of such insignificance ever take away your happiness.”
The point? Having butt dimples doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you or that you aren’t beautiful – it means you’re human.
Do you have butt dimples? Do photos on Instagram ever make you feel self-conscious? Tell us in the comments.