When it comes to the subject of real women bodies, I’ve been asking myself this question for quite some time: Does praising “real” celebrity bodies actually help normalize regular “real” bodies?  

I know that many of us have celebrities that we look up to—most likely because they defy what is often expected of them and still present themselves as “human” even through their fame. But in all honesty, that’s because they actually are. Celebrities are human beings—just like you and just like me. They walk like, talk like and think just like us “regular” people.

Related: 12 celebrity mamas get real about their postpartum bodies

They have real bodies and those bodies go through changes just like ours do—whether that be from childbirth, a change of diet or from simply aging.

Yet because of their status and constant presence in the media, we often hold celebrities to a higher standard and sometimes feel reaffirmed when they do normal things that we would never expect them to do.

Like show off their stretch marks. Or resist the urge to “bounce back” after having a kid. Or share any form of an unfiltered photo—showing their acne, their shedding hair or anything else that makes them normal for that matter. 

Related: Women agree: Can we cut it with the ‘bouncing back’ after pregnancy stories?

I’m sure you’ve seen headlines like “Ashley Graham Normalizes Stretch Marks at 2022 VMAs” or “People Are Praising Selena Gomez For Her ‘Real Stomach’ TikTok.”

But it’s got me wondering…is it really anything truly extraordinary about celebrities showing off their real bodies, or have we just been conditioned to believe that our own real bodies are not beautiful or acceptable without some form of validation—perhaps from celebrities that we look up to the most first sharing themselves accepting the skin that they're in? 

Yes, seeing celebrity bodies that are real and not photoshopped may help us feel comfortable in our own skin. We may look at them as trailblazers or as someone who normalizes what should have been normal in the first place.

Related: This mama's honest story about her postpartum body went viral

Surely, if so and so is famous and can do it, then why can’t we?! I know that oftentimes, we don’t expect celebrities to keep it real. We expect them to hold to a certain image of “perfection” and we sometimes yearn for their flattering looks. But most times, we aren’t getting the real image of them.

Real women bodies don’t need praise to be validated as beautiful. Because they are beautiful with or without it.

We’re not getting the pieces of them that make them human. We so often get versions of them that truly do seem perfect, that when they do something normal, we give them the utmost praise for it—even when “normal” women around us have been doing those same exact things. 

I’ve seen “normal” women show off their stretch marks on a daily basis—in the grocery store, at the library, out on my walks. I’ve seen “normal” women all around me defy the odds each and every day and exist in their bodies without fear of how someone might judge them.

Related: Yes my body has changed—but it’s not open for your comments

I’ve seen “normal” women love their “real” bodies for years and years—so it’s nothing new.

But my fear is that we as a society have gotten so acclimated to hiding behind filters and only sharing the staged versions of ourselves, that we forgot how being genuine and authentic is not a revolution, but a normalcy.

It’s us being human and existing in the skin we’re in—whether that skin is riddled with stretch marks and cellulite or toned abs, saggy boobs or perky ones. 

Women’s bodies have always been judged, heavily assessed and picked apart by society. We have received more criticism about what they should look like and what we should be doing with them—and we have had to fight to remind the world of who is in control of our bodies. 

Related: I’m a mom who looks her age—when did that become something to be ashamed of? 

It has taken a toll on so many women who are now afraid to show off their real bodies. And it has led plenty of women to wish that they could have the body types that they see so often in magazines or in the media. It has taken a toll on women to the point where we have forgotten to celebrate and love our bodies for what they truly are—and instead, we believe that we need some form of permission to exist in our true and authentic skin. 

But we don't.

Real women bodies don’t need praise to be validated as beautiful. Because they are beautiful with or without it. We don't have to wait for a celebrity to flaunt her stretch marks first—we can begin to love ours right now.

So celebrate your body, girl—you don’t need a celebrity to do so.