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Katie Piper's contribution to the Ten Year Challenge is the dose of reality it needs

‘Ageing is a privilege.’

IF YOU’RE ACTIVE on social media, you’ll be all too familiar with the Ten Year Challenge at this stage, but if not, let’s catch you up.

In recent days, Instagram has been awash with split-screen uploads from both those in the public eye and those looking in; the left side of the image features a photo of the user taken in 2009 while the right side is dedicated to a photo taken in 2019.

And like every fleeting social media trend, it has sparked considerable conversation.

Cynics have suggested that it’s little more than an opportunity for some humble-bragging; the perfect platform to remind followers of your ‘glow-up’, safe in the knowledge you’re immune from scorn.

On the other hand, you have those who contributed to the Ten Year Challenge arguing that the lighthearted hashtag has cajoled them into reflecting on the last decade in a more meaningful sense.

And while reflection has, indeed, taken on many forms, there’s little doubt that much of it has been focussed on the user’s appearance.

While tongue-in-cheek comments on excessive tan use, over-reliance on tweezers and questionable fashion choices have taken centre-stage, the Ten Year Challenge has also tapped into users’ insecurities over slowing metabolisms and the ageing process, as a whole.

Indeed, for every person who may revel in their 2019 upload, you have someone else lamenting the 2019 version of themselves.

And whether it’s due to their appearance, the path their life took or myriad other reasons, Katie Piper’s contribution to the hashtag is a reminder that no matter how you feel about your 2009 representation or, indeed, your 2019 one, the fact you’re in a position to share both is enough.

Last night, the 35-year-old broadcaster, who was the victim of an acid attack in 2008, shared her own Ten-Year Challenge upload.

On the left, Katie can be seen in the aftermath of the attack, which was orchestrated by her ex-boyfriend, Daniel Lynch, and carried out by a man named Stefan Sylvestre.

Her eyes, nose and bottom lip are the only parts of her face which are visible due to the protective gauze she is wearing over her head, and her neck and wrist are visibly burned.

On the right, the mother-of-two, who was rendered blind in one eye and required extensive surgery in the years that followed her attack, is completely unobscured, and is smiling broadly for the camera.

Addressing the narrative that has surrounded the challenge, Katie wrote: “#10yearchallenge. Don’t let this challenge create anxiety within you about ageing – it’s an absolute privilege.”

1st pic me age 25 year of 2009 in my mums kitchen. 2nd Pic is me age 35 last week in my own kitchen 2019! #lifeisprecious #health#humanbodyisamazing.

Like all social media trends, the Ten Year Challenge has been divisive; simultaneously sparking a sense of both jubilation and melancholy over the ageing process, and all it encompasses.

But no matter where you stand on the ageing process, experiencing it in any way is, as Katie says, a privilege.

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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