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News & Insight

Fitness Blogger Photoshops Herself In Response to Body-Shaming Trolls

By Hanssie on April 24th 2015

Cassey-HoSociety has had Photoshop in its crosshairs for a while now, blaming it for everything from anorexia to negative self-image and much in between. But deep down we know it’s not the fault of a computer program that 10-year-old girls go on diets thinking they are fat, and women feel ugly and overweight because we play the comparison game. The problem is us. The problem is society. The problem is that we as consumers buy into the Photoshop perfected person on magazine covers and in advertisements that bombard us. We say (and know) that “real” beauty comes from within, yet we gladly pay billions of dollars a year to try to look more like the cover girl. We, as photographers, know the power of Photoshop firsthand.



Cassey Ho, fitness expert and author of popular fitness blog Blogilates,  recently found herself a target of body-shaming trolls from the Internet. You know the type; they are people who have way too much time on their hands, who hide behind a fake screen name and cyber-bully people anonymously (probably sitting in their parent’s basement). Cassey is a certified fitness instructor and has created quite a fitness empire with her inspirational and positive messages about getting healthy. As with any social media star, or public figure, they have their fair share of critics and Cassey is no different. In an interview with People Magazine, Cassey says, “In the last few months, the negativity towards me personally has gotten worse. I’m a person too, so it really gets to me.”

In response to comments such as, “You shouldn’t give advice when you’re so fat,” and Trainer? Really? Tone up the belly fat and love handles…” Cassey created “The Perfect Body,” a video where she Photoshops herself in real time with suggestions from what people have said she “should” look like. The resulting 2:25-minute video has since gone viral with almost 3 million views.

It’s hard to be content with the shape of your body when people are constantly telling you how fat you are. The backhanded compliments, the mean comments, the cyber bullying – all of this messes with us…and it hurts. What if getting flat abs and bigger boobs was as easy as a click. What if you could stop all the hate and just Photoshop yourself right now, in real life? What would you change?

After posting that video, Cassey also posted an extremely Photoshopped image of herself on Instagram and again, the responses ranged from people not realizing the photo was fake and others still criticizing her body.

Photoshop, it’s a powerful, powerful tool. Photographers, please use it wisely.


[Via Petapixel/Smosh]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

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  8. Ben Perrin

    Amazing isn’t it how people can still make negative comments about someone as good looking as her. I bet she also gets a heap of positive comments about her body as well but unfortunately as humans we tend to focus on the negatives. I don’t know the solution to the problem. It’s not as if these trolls are going to go away. At the end of the day attitude is everything. We should see ourselves in a much better light than we do. But it’s easier said than done.

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  9. Phil Bautista

    God Bless Photoshop. We can now look however we want to look without having to take unhealthy risks to achieve it.

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  10. robert garfinkle

    The good, bad, and the ugly – take what you want, leave the rest.

    I’m saying, find acceptance. let it go…

    In an above post, someone mentioned being bullied. I was as a kid, quite often. It affected me. I’m poised more often than not to take things that are said, in person or online, personally. However, as time goes on, I learn to let it go. Why? Because sometimes – it’s just not you who is the issue, it’s the other guy / gal. And sometimes, it is you…

    When it’s the other person, and I clearly know it, I try to quickly identify it as such, and let it go. If there is reason for me to look at my behavior (words), ok, I do. It’s a function of protecting myself. I also learn “sometimes” not to step up to the plate in the first place – then I can’t be hit by a pitch, right?

    When it’s me, on my side – I look harder, own it, and when need be, apologize. I do not have any problem in owning up to harshness due to my misunderstanding and / lashing out.

    Trust me, and you guys / gals know this to be true, you’ve seen it – I can sound off (similar to this response) and let loose; sometimes very sarcastically… some might call me passionate, some might call me an “uneducated” ass, or just a straight up whack job… but I try to be considerate regardless.

    Some others, just are plain mean. and other’s, the recipients of such meanness, get daggers thrown at them, and Hanssie says it hurts – yes it does.

    It’s interesting – we have freedom of speech, yet the internet is quite moderated. That sucks, yet some say it’s very needed… It’s so easy to sit behind a monitor / keyboard / mouse – and rifle off what we feel, unfiltered.

    Maybe, people aught to do a little spot check before they haul off and write – ask thyself, if I were standing right in front of that person would I say what I’m about to say.

    So, rather than wait for the ultimate spam filter, to so guard you. Take ownership of your feelings / emotions – YOU are in charge of how you feel / react, you are not a victim. Otherwise, our wonderful freedom of speech will perish, and more than hurtful speech will be taken away – it’s heading that way… in a world where people are forced to be nice to each other, and soon, no one will be allowed to speak, because even a hello could be taken offensively by someone… a bit dramatic, but you get my point…

    a few more words, then I’m done…

    So, I was in a relationship a few years ago. It ended not so nicely, and I was hurt – not uncommon. Yet I remained angry / resentful, by choice – and actually, at first, I did not think of it as me having a choice, but that’s what was shared with me by someone… So, I made an effort to let it go, and I wasn’t hurt anymore… no more anger – how freeing…

    It does not always work that way. Usually, people who are close to me are the offenders, right? typical – So, why would I get so offended and hurt by someone online, whom I don’t even really know…

    a real-live (in your face) example:

    Yesterday, in this forum, Pye released an article, a really good article – on the exposure triangle. It came off like a beginner’s science experiment – to which was appropriate, he put it in visual terms a newbie like myself could understand. Pictorially, described in a way using measuring cups of different sizes, filling them with water (representing light) and doing a few experiments increasing / decreasing the speed at which water was filling the measuring cups – just a great way to describe the “triangle”…

    But, as the day went on, and comments (opinions) were posted – it seemed to turn into a Franken-fest of bad / odd scientific commentary; turning the simple explanation into tech / spec junky game of verbal darts –

    At one point, Pye shows up to the scene, uses the phrase “tech vomit” ever so describing our Radio-Shack-30-In-1 popular-science commentary; we threw every part of scientific jargon at his simple explanation except the entire table of elements… and a few of us were taken back by his words…

    At a first glance, I was offended (How dare he say that, what, me, part of the vomitus??), but he clearly stated this was to be kept simple… and thus I let it go… other’s did not…

    so, let it go…

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  11. Hannes Nitzsche

    Very powerful, thanks for sharing this article and video. I think it’s a message worth spreading. It’s sad to see so many people promoting fake body images and even more sad when beautiful women ruin their physical, and perhaps also mental health by trying to please others and shrinking their bodies to unrealistic standards. Women, wake up and love your body just the way it is!

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  12. Paul Empson

    It is a shame that it’s the negative posters that will take time to comment, rather than the positive readers who nod, appreciate and move on..

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  13. Tom Marvel

    …Thus proving that internet posters have way too much time on their hands…..

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  14. Daniel Lee

    “the responses ranged from people not realizing the photo was fake and others still criticizing her body”. This shows that they are just trying to get a reaction out of her. They see she really cares about her fitness and try to crush her spirits by say she is not succeeding in what she loves.
    It would be like one of us taking a set of images that we considering to be our best yet, then posting it online just to have people say “wow nice overdone processing and horrible composition”.
    This kind of harassment does come with being an online figure but either way it still isn’t acceptable.
    Maybe one day there will be a WordPress plugin to filter out trolls *fingers crossed*.

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    • Hanssie

      Yes, please. And better spam filters too. Our spam filters keep working overtime, but they still sneak through.

      Are you listening, WordPress plugin people?

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  15. Thomas Horton

    Rule 1: Never care what anyone says on the Internets Tubes (that actually applies to both the positive and negative).
    Rule 2: Opinions posted on the Internets Tubes have less worth than opinions given in person (and we know how important those opinions are)
    Rule 3: Never care what people you don’t know think about you… especially when they don’t care about you.

    Unfortunately there is rule 4: If you post stuff on the Internets Tubes, you have to expect cruel comments. But then go back to rule 1. :)

    And then there is Rule 5: If you are garnering self actualization, positive and negative, from comments made on the Internets Tubes, perhaps the more immediate problem is not the people on the Internets.

    It is a shame that we have bullies, but the reality is that we do and they are not going away.

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    • Hanssie

      Good rules to follow, but as someone who periodically gets hate mail for something I’ve written, it still hurts no matter how much you tell yourself it doesn’t matter.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      @Hanssie: You’re absolutely correct. It’s hard to work your butt off on a book or an article only to have others tear it to pieces. I have people (competing authors) that solicit friends and family to leave nasty reviews on my books on Amazon. There are people that always want to debunk your point by telling you how terrible your photography (as happened on Reddit about my f/2.8-4 article).

      Your head says “screw these people”, but your ego wants to lash out because, yeah, it does hurt to have something you’ve invested your time into derided by anyone, even a troll.

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    • Thomas Horton

      “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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