Social Media Reactions

Chinese influencer fat-shamed for using extreme photo editing on social media

A Chinese influencer has seen her profile boosted for all the wrong reasons after side-by-side photos that revealed she has been digitally transforming herself went viral throughout Asia.

A Facebook post comparing before and after images of the influencer, who goes by the names Coeyyy and Coeyyyy, has so far received more than 18,000 shares and 11,000 comments.

While the altered pictures depict her as a doll-like figure with porcelain skin, the original photos show what appears to be a completely different woman. A friend included in several photos also appears to have been heavily edited.

Coeyyy predominantly uses the Chinese instant messaging site Weibo and Chinese social media platform RED. The viral photos started spreading among Chinese social media users in late April and went viral throughout Asia when they were posted to Facebook.

The photos, uploaded by a Taiwanese Facebook user by the name of Ex.Treme in May, were only accompanied by a vague caption that read: “Technology…advanced.”

The photos started flooding Facebook feeds in Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, with many netizens expressing shock at the extreme use of editing apps.

Many, though, were impressed by the technical skills required to achieve the transformation.

“Their Photoshop skills [are] really [at a] genius level,” a user commented, while another stated: “These edit skills are beyond God level already.”

However, many other users fat-shamed Coeyyy, accusing her of dramatically reducing her apparent weight in the edited photos.

“Who needs to work out when you have [an editing] app,” one netizen posted. Another user said Coeyyy had possibly edited her photos due to a lack of self-esteem, commenting: “I can’t blame her [for having] insecurities.”

One netizen went further by claiming that the post had to be clickbait because no app could “shrink someone so overweight with 0 reduction in resolution and alignment”. According to user Shiro Kami: “These are two different sets of people.”

Coeyyy has since responded to the internet furore her photos have caused – albeit hesitantly.

“I am a normal person, not an internet celebrity. I have never received any benefits through public platforms,” she wrote in a Weibo post.

One RED user even admitted to thinking that Coeyyy deserved the backlash but had a change of heart after seeing the tutorial.

“You are just a girl who wants to make her photos a little more beautiful … just like everyone else. What are you doing wrong?” The netizen added that people should celebrate and admire different body types.

Photo-editing applications such as Facetune and Meitu XiuXiu have become hugely popular among millennial influencers in China and around the world. The apps allow users to remove blemishes, whiten teeth and give selfies an overall airbrushed look.