Acid attack survivor Katie Gee has launched a campaign called #SettingTheStandard on Instagram, which aims to celebrate diversity and change the way we perceive beauty ideals.
The movement was started by Katie, who was left with 35% burns after an acid attack in Zanzibar in 2013, in response to a Daily Mail article that described her as ‘horribly disfigured’.
‘I wrote a personal article about my ongoing recovery from surviving an acid attack,’ Katie tells Grazia. ‘We focused on the recovery, regaining confidence and the lack of diversity on social media. Yet the heading (without informing me) was “girl horribly disfigured”.’
‘I wanted to stand up for myself,’ she continues. ‘Such a damaging title with no positive impact or positive reflection on someone’s perception of beauty and scarring.’
So she decided to launch #SettingTheStandard, and invited her followers to repost with photos showing their ‘imperfections’.
And the response has been truly, truly wonderful.
Within hours, her followers had taken to their Instagram stories to post selfies of burns, birthmarks, cellulite, scars and many other so-called ‘flaws’ – there are at the time of writing almost 25,000 posts with the hashtag.
In addition, many celebrities - including Love Island's Eyal Booker and Alexandra Cane - have got involved.
Speaking about the response, Katie tells us: ‘I initially aimed for it to circulate around my friendship circle - but now I’ve seen the support from people I’ve never met and who have said it has helped them I want to spread it as much as possible and see how far I can take it.’
In a world where we’re relentlessly bombarded by carefully curated and heavily edited Instagram posts, Katie’s campaign is welcome news.
‘We really need to break down the immense and unrealistic pressure of social media to look perfect, especially important for those who are impressionable or vulnerable,” she tells us. ‘The 1% of people who look “perfect” are the exception, but Instagram makes us believe that is the norm.’
Follow Katie on Instagram _@KatieJGee_