THE BLOG
19/02/2015 11:40 GMT | Updated 21/04/2015 06:59 BST

Whether It's Beyonce or Cindy Crawford, Un-Retouched Photos Make Us Feel Better About Ourselves - It's All to Do With Body Image

Normally, when leaked un-retouched photos of celebrities emerge, a great deal of schadenfreude takes place.

'Aha!', we say, 'we knew they looked like a hobgoblin in real life and were fooling us into thinking they were goddesses!'.

Some of us take pleasure in it because we are mean, and most of us are captivated with it because deep down inside, it reassures us that celebs are normal humans who have spotty days, bad hair days and aren't always perfectly honed and toned. It's less that we're laughing at them and more like 'phew, they're just like us.'

Although the reaction to Beyoncé's leaked photos has been far more extreme and less positive than Cindy Crawford's brilliant picture (fans slammed Beyoncé World for posting them in the first place), I think it's been a brilliant week for body image.

Rather than gloating that these two women are anything less than perfect, it's actually quite empowering. Why?

Crawford is a woman who has built a career on looking beautiful. Beauty, nowadays, is distilled into youth, and some of those that aren't young any more, seek to stop the clock by any means necessary. This is what society tells us, and attempts to buck the trend result in invisibility.

But then someone who is lauded for their beauty, and still looks very beautiful posts this picture, and suddenly conversation around body image starts to change.

So what does this tell us about body image? That Cindy Crawford, a woman, a mother, a model, isn't not the perfect stick we've been beating ourselves with.

And that we must break this cycle that we're in: fuelling negative body image about ourselves, by looking at pictures of other women and feeling bad because we don't look like them. It's an insane, impossible standard to set for ourselves.

The fans that jumped on Beyoncé's leaked images missed the point. Those images are going to reach out and reassure far more many women in a positive way than photos of her looking perfect ever will.

While Bey may be a woman who likes to control her image post Super Bowl (when slightly less flattering pictures were released), she may be pleasantly surprised how many women feel relieved that she looks like them. (Okay, way more fabulous, but still).

It's not quite 'evening out the playing field' - because that implies that we're all pitting ourselves against each other - but rather, it humanises the women we want to be like, and that makes whatever amazing confidence they have about themselves, within our grasp.

For a lot of us, it's worth thinking about, especially if we have kids or ever plan to have kids, because how on Earth do we expect the younger generation to have self worth when we don't ourselves?

As Crawford says: "I try to be a good role model for my daughter in terms of just accepting myself, not saying 'Does this make me look fat?' or 'I can't eat that' or 'I'm on a diet.'"

If this is coming from a woman whose entire career was wrapped around youth and beauty, then surely there's hope for the rest of us.