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World News

Christian influencer speaks on body image shame in churches as MPs condemn photo editing

by Sophie Drew

A group of MPs is urging social media influencers to stop doctoring their photos. 

The plea comes as the Health and Social Care Committee call for adverts with edited images to display a logo.

The new rules would see changes to skin tone and body shape clearly labelled. 

Hope Virgo, a Christian social media influencer, agrees that edited images can lead to comparison and poor mental health. 

"I think that we should be showing our authentic selves, and we should remember that actually, it's not about what we look like on the outside, but it's about what's going on inside. 

"It's about kind of that relationship with God kind of first and foremost. 

"We don't want to be presenting ourselves in a certain way that in order to be happy, we have to look a certain way.

"I think often with body image and kind of identity more broadly, it comes so hand in hand together.

"People often struggle with their body image and that comes out as struggling with their identity and they lose sight and forget who they are, and their purpose on the earth; the fact that they were made really, really uniquely. 

"I've come across a lot of Christians, including myself, who has struggled a lot with identity and what I look like, and actually getting to a space where we navigate that is really, really important. 

"I think the other thing that makes it slightly complicated, and maybe problematic in some respects, is that as Christians is that we know that, actually, we should love ourselves.

"We should be okay with what we look like as our identity comes from God. 

"But because we're constantly bombarded with that messaging within the church, again, I think it stops people opening up about actually what's going on. 

"They often feel very guilty about sharing the kind of intricacies of what is happening for them mentally. 

"But also, if they are struggling in their bodies, they feel slightly hypocritical like they shouldn't be. 

"I do think that actually with kind of social media, all of that has just become so much more amplified, and does become much harder to kind of navigate across faith backgrounds."

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