Lili Reinhart slams the Body Tune app: ‘This is why people develop eating disorders’

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Lili Reinhart posted a series of Instagram stories calling out the Body Tune app for letting people slim down their images quickly and easily. She got an ad for it that showed a model being slimmed and it bothered her so much that she wrote about it. Lili wrote that she was looking for an app to help her get the aspect ratio right for Instagram and that’s how she found it. Here’s some of what she wrote and a video of her stories in order is below. (A French user recorded it while watching something on TV so you can just turn the sound down as that part isn’t relevant.) Lili has been open about her body image issues and has called out people who nitpick her figure.

[Shows demo video for Body Tune]
This is not okay. This is why people develop eating disorders. This is why social media has become hazardous to our health. This is why people have unrealistic expectations of their bodies.

I implore you: do not use these kinds of apps. If you photoshop your body, you are adding to this problem.

This is how unrealistic standards of human bodies have been created – to the point were people alter their bodies surgically to achieve unattainable results.

We are better than this. Looking “skinnier” in a photo on Instagram is not worth the detrimental psychological effects that these photoshopping apps have given our generation.

Our bodies should not conform to “one size fits all.”

People who use these apps and alter their bodies are clearly suffering from low self esteem, body dysmorphia, or other mental health problems.

My heart goes out to those people who feel like their bodies aren’t good enough.

But please don’t encourage this behavior.

[Instagram via People]

I know she means well but I don’t think she should be calling out the users like this, just the company. It’s really rude to say that people who like to slim their photos have mental health problems or low self esteem. I mean it’s quite common and lot of people use these apps for whatever reason. She also implies people who get plastic surgery have these issues too, and that’s just not true. There’s no shame in it.

Also, as someone who has struggled with disordered eating, I have to say that I have had this issue since way before there were apps or photoshop. It’s more about my own anxiety and self image than any one thing. Yes unrealistic images of women and computer altered images can contribute, but in the 90s we had Kate Moss and in the 60s there was Twiggy. (Those models were naturally thin and I’m not blaming them, I’m just saying they were held up as the ideal.) And I could look around any classroom and see other girls thinner and (I thought) prettier than me. It’s not about seeing these photos, it’s about what we tell ourselves. The good thing is that now we have so many amazing famous women showing how you can rock it at any size like Mindy Kaling, Lizzo, Ashley Graham and voluptuous Sports Illustrated models and powerful athletes.

I agree with her in general and think that apps like this and that excessive photo editing do contribute to unrealistic expectations. I like that she and people like Jameela Jamil are calling out diets and apps and having these conversations. I don’t think the solution is to ban the apps though or shame people for using them. She’s 23 though. I’m sure I would write stuff like this at that age, I was super idealistic too.

Here’s that video of her stories.



photos credit: WENN and Getty

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21 Responses to “Lili Reinhart slams the Body Tune app: ‘This is why people develop eating disorders’”

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  1. JanetFerber says:

    Just looking at the mannequins in the windows in shops around my town, the legs are so ridiculously thin that if I weighed 95 pounds (which I do not) I’d STILL never look like that. So yeah, images of women in this country are unrealistic and oppressive for real women. To me, it looks like the mannequins aren’t even wearing size 00 (the “ideal” size for every woman), but children’s sizes. So I get what she’s saying. By the way, she’s frigging gorgeous and the absolutely right size, whatever size she is.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      I saw a mannequin the other day displaying shapewear, only the mannequin was so thin the shapewear was baggy. And I’m not even exaggerating to be humorous — literally, the small sized skin-tight shapewear was baggy.

  2. Erinn says:

    ” It’s really rude to say that people who like to slim their photos have mental health problems or low self esteem. I mean it’s quite common and lot of people just want to look their best on social media.”

    I mean, it’s not not-rude, I suppose? But at the same time, there’s a difference between canceling out a zit or shooting from a more flattering angle and changing the shape of your body. I would argue that there’s at least body dismorphia tied into most of the people who are obsessively slimming themselves? I mean, why else would they be doing it?

    It might have gotten more out of hand recently, but I think it’s only going to hurt the cause by blaming this on body tune and apps like that, and I think it misses the point. The apps are a tool. It’d be like saying gyms are the reason you have people with exercise bulimia. The root of these things is a lot more nuanced than just ‘oh it’s the app doing it’. It’s society. It’s the expectation to look better than your best. It’s the way people are treated at different sizes. It’s not the fault of an app, even if that does make it easier.

    I like her for the most part, though. And I appreciate that this is something she does care about. I think her intentions are great, and that’s the main thing, I guess.

  3. amanda says:

    You’re not really looking your best if you are tuning yourself thin. You’re getting helped along to look like your ideal version of yourself.

  4. sherry says:

    I read somewhere recently that social media (and maybe we should add apps to this) should have age restrictions, and I think that’s a good idea. Children and teens are exposed to so much that they shouldn’t even be worrying about.

  5. Renee says:

    I applaud her speaking out. The unrealistic expectations of body image to young girls especially is ridiculous. My niece is 13 and mentioned going on a diet the other day. It’s disheartening.

    • Oui oki says:

      Devils advocate, some 13 year olds should change their diets if their parents haven’t done a good job. If their parents serve meat and white carbs nightly or even worse for most of the meals and the child has become overweight, (or even if they haven’t become overweight), changing their own diet or perhaps going vegetarian can be a wonderful thing for a child, some may do it for ethical reasons too. However reducing calories when the child is not overweight is dangerous physically and psychologically.
      What I’m saying is yes that’s kind of disturbing. But if all kids in the US just eat like their parents, the result will be very bad for healthcare and depression.
      An example, Ariana grande has talked about what her parents served and what she eats now. What she eats now is healthier and better for the planet. There are a lot of parents who aren’t very aware and they keep feeding their kids the status quo. To the delight of the corrupt bad food rich guys.

  6. Amy Too says:

    You say “people just want to look their best.” But why does “looking your best” always mean being/looking thinner? That is the problem. They’re also not looking THEIR best if they’re altering their body or face into something else. That’s no longer looking their best, it’s about looking like whatever society currently deems is the ideal way for bodies to look. It’s literally saying “In order to look my best I have to digitally alter what my body looks like. There is no way for me to look ‘best’ in my actual body.”

  7. Ivy says:

    I mean…it’s not *why* people develop eating disorders. There are numerous factors to take into account: abuse, genetics, trauma, interpersonal circumstances. An app doesn’t cause an eating disorder, but it can exacerbate and encourage it. That’s the difference. It won’t give people eating disorders, but it’s absolutely toxic and prevents recovery.

    • Amy Too says:

      I think it could be part of why people develop eating disorders, though. Seeing a bunch of body-tuned pictures on social media all the time leads one to have a warped sense of what bodies actually look like. And being able to instantly make yourself appear skinnier in a photo may provide the “inspiration” one needs to start eating in a disordered way. If they make themselves have a tiny waist and legs and arms but large hips and boobs, and then they start trying to actually achieve that body in real life, it could lead to disordered eating and exercise.

  8. Aliyah says:

    I think this is misdirected, but her heart is in the right place.

  9. emmy says:

    We are throwing everything in the same pot here. Plastic surgery is not bad per se, it cN improve people’s lives if we’re talking about fixing a few things. But it’s NOT like having your teeth cleaned and yet people treat it that way. That’s not healthy. A giant ass and lips cannot be the only thing that’s considered beautiful these days.

    Eating disorders aren’t caused by apps or social media but those certainly don’t help either. Unrealistic appearance has been taken to new levels, it’s insane.

    And looking your best seems to be one thing. Thin yet curvy, perfect skin and teeth and a plastic look that reminds me of the dolls I played with over 25 years ago.

    None of this is good and she has a point. Why would anyone use that app? Certainly not because they feel great about themselves.

  10. ME says:

    Even before social media, magazines did this. They photoshop (and still do) to high end. With social media, the difference is, WE have the control. Don’t use the app.

    • Lady says:

      I agree. There has always been an intense pressure placed on us to be thin. Magazines used to make it the most important thing if you want to “find the right man.”
      With more women dying from heart disease, I hope we stop starving ourselves and live healthy. The most beautiful faces are on symmetrical athletes. They look that way because of their health.
      Even before the internet, I felt immense pressure to be freezing cold thin. It has taken me years to find a balanced healthy eating pattern and not experience guilt when my belly is full.

  11. Marigold says:

    There is a lot of confusion in the common parlance about eating disorders that conflates the symptoms and triggers of disordered behavior with the causes of the disorders. That’s a mistake that a LOT of people make when discussing EDs, and I’ll not fault her for speaking with the same language most people use.

    No, the apps and the surgeries and the cosmetics and the unrealistic portraits of bodies don’t CAUSE eating disorders. They do, however, exacerbate the symptoms and make them more dangerous to the long-term health of the sufferer.

    EDs are an anxiety disorder, and the difference between an eating disorder and other anxiety disorders (like obsessive-compulsive disorder) is about what the sufferer focuses that anxiety on–how the behaviors used to mitigate the anxiety manifest. For eating disorder sufferers, the anxiety is channeled into food, eating, and appearance to get the relief of perceived control. In other anxiety disorders, it can be cleaning, exercise, disinfection, or meticulous attention to something else. The behaviors are from the same place–anxiety. The sufferer channels the anxiety into a particular set of behaviors to establish a feeliing of control, which reduces the bad feelings of anxiousness and panic.

    So she’s not wrong about the app. At all. It is definitely something a person with an eating disorder might grab onto and use to experience a temporary relief from the bad feelings…only to end up increasing her symptoms in the long run. It’s the kind of trigger that makes the illness worse. She isn’t wrong, and for someone so young, who isn’t a therapist with training, I think she communicated her meaning very well–and better than a lot of people who’ve tried to speak about this stuff and bungled it. I think people need to give these folks a break.

    Someone getting a cosmetic procedure to tweak a feature for her own pleasure is an entirely different animal that someone having a cosmetic procedure because the distorted image she sees in the mirror makes her panic and want to start chopping parts off. There is a distinct difference, and she was clearly talking about one and not the other when she mentioned it.

  12. Kilbanks says:

    I appreciate that she comments on this stuff, but I also think it’s way easier to cast stones when you’re as beautiful as she is.

    • Marigold says:

      She’s also very young, and she has not experienced the horror of watching your skin change, of watching lines deepen on your face, and watching your cheeks start to descend away from your cheek bones.

      Aging is hard to watch, and it’s hard to accept. It would be hard enough because it’s about facing mortality, but add to that a society that says nothing you accomplish has any value if you’re not considered “f*able” by men…and it gets even worse.

      She doesn’t understand that, yet, and that’s why I’m cutting her a break.

      • DaisySharp says:

        Yes, and it’s also gets more difficult to photograph well. I used to be highly photogenic, and that’s changed. And I don’t appreciate it. And if I want to touch it up a bit, I will. You know, famous women have ALWAYS done this. For decades I would look at some of these quite plain in many ways women, looking like goddesses, without a hair on their body, or a dimple. And in the 90’s for instance, men thought that’s how they looked. But they didn’t. Now we can all do it a bit, and I would add to that injectables being more affordable than actual face lifts, and well maybe they just wanted to keep it all for themselves.

  13. lucy2 says:

    I saw one of these apps advertised on FB the other day, and it was so sad. The only positive thing was that ALL of the comments were calling out the company and telling them to stop.