Before I get into this topic, I need to explain myself. This post is over 2,500 words because I needed to make sure that I included everything this topic has to offer, so it’s a bit lengthy. It is also part of the reason this post is over a week late. I also have had classes and work that I have been juggling and then also trying to account for me time (which usually consists of hanging out with other people) and sleeping (that’s been my real struggle lately due to my schedule). So I apologize for my lack of posts but without further ado, the body positivity movement explained.
So what is the body positivity movement? Where do I begin? In the most basic sense of the phrase, it is a movement of people loving their body (and themselves) regardless of what it looks like. It really shouldn’t be a movement because we should love what we look like from the beginning but some people have found that there is a profit in making other people feel ashamed of what they look like. And body positivity is not just for people who are fat. It is for everyone. It is for people who are fat, thin, disabled, amputated, people of all skin colors, ethnicities, races, men, women, and every gender in between and for anyone of any sexuality and any age. It’s about loving and embracing your body for what it is, including everything the media considers “flaws”.
Our world is so altered and fabricated by the media that we get caught up in what we are “supposed” to look like that we forget to love what we actually look like. Big corporations know they have the power to convince people to change their size, shape and skin color in order to make money and it is absolute garbage. We should not be ashamed to have darker skin, a larger body type, or for feeling sexy even in a wheelchair. Once we all learn to love what we look like and not let people get under our skin, we will be an unstoppable crowd of self-loving individuals because no one has any right to tell us that we aren’t good enough.
I have touched on my own struggle with body image in some posts before and I still sometimes struggle because I am still learning to love myself completely. It’s hard not to when all your life you have been taught that what you look like is wrong. If you look at me know, I am what most would consider an average body type. I have boobs slightly on the bigger side, I have a chubby tummy and my thighs and calves, though a bit muscley, sometimes jiggle when I walk and run. For just about as long as I can remember, I did not like what I looked like. My curly hair, my pudgy little tummy (that usually every kid has), my freckles, you name it. And as I got older it only got worse, especially in middle school and high school. I remember changing in the locker room bathroom or shower stalls so I wouldn’t be looked at and made fun of by the other girls. I remember comparing my self to their thinner bodies that we’re able to wear whatever they wanted without feeling insecure (which now I know they probably had their own struggles with their body image, too). I wore jeans, a t-shirt/sweatshirt, and sneakers every single day to try and hide my body. In marching band and colorguard, I was very active and had the body type of an active teenager. But I wasn’t flexible or as thin as some of the other people on my team which I believed was due to my size and weight and dietary choices. Since I was about eight or nine, I can remember my family telling me to “watch what I eat” or that I’m “looking like I need to lose some weight”. I remember eating very little at lunch because there was no way for me to be able to count the calories of a school lunch like I usually could with breakfast and dinner at home. I skipped meals and tried to see how long I could go before my grumbling stomach would force me to eat something. I was so obsessed with everything “wrong” with my body that I couldn’t genuinely enjoy my life that I was living.
So how did I become so body positive? Well let me tell you, it’s not easy. I’m not entirely there. I am still working on loving myself completely. I have come a very long way and only in the last year or so learned to genuinely love myself for what I am and whatever changes my body may go through in the future. The rundown of how I got better about loving my self is something I have talked about before: remove all negativity from every aspect of your life. I am not saying put yourself in a bubble of positivity, though, because you cannot grow as a human if you are constantly unaware of the issues in the world. But I am saying that if your friends and family are treating you badly, find a way out of that situation. If you keep seeing ads that tell you they have the all-powerful weight-loss method, they can help you get the skin you want (and I don’t mean acne) or the product that seems to only advertise to people of certain ethnicities, report that ad. If you follow people on social media that make you feel like crap, unfollow them asap and find some better people to follow (suggestions soon). Call out brands and businesses that don’t cater to all types of people. You have your own demons to fight with, you don’t need the world to tell you you aren’t good enough when you are more than enough. Start saying nicer things to yourself. Whether you believe them or not is something that takes time. Just remember, you are your own worst critic and the more you make that positive change of what you say to yourself, the more likely you are to start believing and accepting it.
But we have come a long way in terms of our environment being more open and accepting to various body types. You may have noticed that stores and brands have become more body positive in their clothing sizes, models and mannequins, however, that isn’t enough. For example, Target has varying sizes of mannequins in the women and juniors section. But what about the men’s section? None of those mannequins seem to have anything less than abs. Congrats to Target (and other brands such as Nike) for being more size-inclusive, but body positivity is for everyone, not just women.
Now, if you’re looking for some people who are in the body-positive community but don’t know where to start, boy do I have a list for you. Here is who I follow and I am looking for more so your suggestions, if you have any, would be immensely appreciated (comment them below).
Lizzo (@lizzobeeating) – If you don’t know Lizzo, you are missing out. Whether you like her music or not, she has such a beautiful soul and is a great body-positive role model for people of all skin and body types. Her performances alone are like going to a motivational speaker concert and I hope I get to see one of her shows one day.
Courtney Quinn (@colormecourtney/@colormemagic) – Courtney seems like a wonderful soul and one of the many people on this list that I would like to befriend. She is very body-positive as well as a fellow Disney fan and Potterhead. She inspires people to wear more color and funky styles despite what “doesn’t” look good on your body shape or skin since you can rock anything you wear because you look good in everything.
Noelle Downing (@noelledowning) – I have talked about Noelle before and honestly she has probably the most aesthetically pleasing Instagram I have ever seen, especially in autumn. From her swimsuit line to her filter pack, you will find all sorts of positive messages and motivation.
Carrie Hope Fletcher (@carriehopefletcher) – Another beautiful soul I have most certainly mentioned before. She has been a role model/my online best friend (whether she knows it or not) since she first started her youtube channel. If you don’t already follow her, honestly go do that now because she is an absolute peach and a great role model.
Janea Brown (@jnaydaily) – I only recently followed her on Instagram but I’m glad I did because she has such a warm smile (and aesthetically pleasing decor in her house) that you can’t help but smile and feel like you too must live your best life and love yourself completely.
Ragini R (@kittehinfurs) – Ragini is another blogger I recently followed. She is a brand new mom of an adorable baby girl and a curvy lady with a great sense of style. As a curvy fashion and mommy blogger, she often talks about particular brands of clothing and baby things so it really is the best of both worlds, or at least for me because I love a good body-positive-inspired outfit and I am so excited to be a mom one day.
Rianne Miejer (@rianne.meijer) – Rianne is someone I recently followed and I actually discovered her through a news article. She not only has an amazing sense of style, but she is also more than willing to share the glamorous filtered photos as well as the not so glamorous, “mistake”, and goofy content that we can all relate too. She is paving the way for influencers to show that not everyone is as perfect as their Instagram seems.
Hunter McGrady (@huntermcgrady) – Hunter is a plus size model who recently got married (her wedding was absolutely beautiful by the way). I am so glad I came across her because she is the model I wish I had seen when I was influenced by those giant blown-up, stick-thin models in the stores when I was younger.
Alex Dacy (@wheelchair_rapunzel) – Alex is a beautiful human who advocates for more disabled body visibility. She believes (just as everyone should) that disabled bodies are beautiful and can be sexy. She has a shop where you can buy her merch to help promote her advocacy efforts and a fundraiser for those who can donate to assist in her wheelchair repairs. I truly wish there was more disabled body visibility because, as an abled body person, I don’t have to deal with things such as non-wheelchair accessible places, not having a menu in braille, and not being able to communicate with hearing people, just to name a few of their many inconveniences. It is something way too many of us take for granted and it is not fair for those who need these accommodations.
James McVey (@jamesmcvey) – James is a member of the band The Vamps and a body-positive advocate. He is very open about his own struggles with his body image and his previously unhealthy way of thinking. He talks about his own struggles as a way to share the real-life dangers of eating disorders and media in today’s world.
Aerie (@aeire) – Aerie is a clothing brand that promotes a good body image and no photo-retouching because everybody is a beautiful body. I have a few of their products and I recommend them to everyone because, even though the prices can get high (if you are a Mr.Krabs like me, that is), you are getting quality products with a good message: love yourself.
Sarah Tripp (@sassyredlipstick) – Sarah is a blogger who also happens to be expecting a little boy in the coming weeks. She is very body positive and if you want some seriously stylish fashion sense for all body types, I highly recommend her.
Robbie Tripp (@tripp/@curvywifeclub) – Robbie happens to be Sarah’s husband and is just as inspirational as his wife. He not only created the song and video “Chubby Sexy” with his wife, but he also runs the Curvy Wife Club where they put a curvy couple in the spotlight on their account in an effort to spread all sorts of positive vibes.
Jazzmyne (@jazzmynejay) – Jazz is known by many without realizing due to the fact that she is in a lot of the Buzzfeed videos. She is super body positive and seems like an all-around fun and kind person which you can clearly see on her Instagram feed.
Cuppy (@thegoodadvicecupcake) – Another previously mentioned “person” from this blog’s past. Cuppy not only gives good (questionable) advice, but this bisexual cupcake radiates self-love and kindness. If I could be anything or anyone in the world, I would be myself because Cuppy said I’m awesome.
Megan Jayne Crabbe (@bodiposipanda) – Megan is currently on tour through the UK with her “Never Say Diet” show that I am devastated that I cannot witness in person. Her well informed factual book about the dangers of diet culture and the media’s influence on our self-image, the snippets of her show that I see on Instagram about the same topics her book covers, and her body-positive dance challenges (often featuring her beautifully talented sister, Gemma), it is pretty clear that Megan is one of the best body positive advocates you can follow.
Meghan Trainor (@meghan_trainor) – Meghan Trainer needs no introduction since she is on the radio singing her heart out about consent, having a good time, dancing like nobody’s watching, loving yourself, and loving others. She also advocates for self-love and embraces her curves while encouraging others to embrace their own bodies as well. Whatever your thoughts on her music may be, she is a wonderful role model and down to earth person (and I’m not just saying that because we are from the same state).
Katie Sturino (@katiesturino) – I started following Katie a few months ago and can I just say, what a human. She takes photos of herself in changing rooms trying on the largest size article of clothing offered (that usually doesn’t fit her) and calls out that brand/store to #makemysize while encouraging you to do the same. It has even worked on many occasions and brands have expanded their sizing to fit more people. She also has a clothing line on Stitch Fix that looks good and fits on any body type and founded the company Megababe which sells anti-chafe sticks, deodorant and a lot of other things to make your life with your body problems a lot easier. I have yet to get any products myself but it is definitely on my to-do list and I will definitely give you my thoughts.
Shannon Purser (@shannonpurser) – Shannon hasn’t posted on her Instagram feed in a while but that doesn’t negate the fact that she is another beautiful soul who spreads light onto the world by bringing up topics such as mental health, body image, voting, cancer awareness, you name it. Also, Shannon, if by chance you read this, can we become friends because you seem really cool.
Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamilofficial/@i_weigh) – I actually only followed Jameela about a week ago and I don’t know what was taking me so long. I had seen her advocacy in the news and have seen her in advertisements but I hadn’t followed her or her second account, @i_weigh, which is an advocacy page to make sure no one feels alone. She is funny, kind, smart, and an advocate for loads of very good things.
Russell Brand (@russellbrand) – Russell Brand is someone I keep forgetting to follow but did so right before I wrote this part because, I have seen his posts shared, I have seen some of his videos and his podcasts and I love everything he stands for. His mission is to help spread awareness for topics I have already mentioned a thousand times like body image, voting, addiction, mental health, equality and so many more. If you don’t follow him, I suggest doing so because looking through his feed I see some quality motivators that make me feel better about all of my mess.
Phew! We made it. This post is a long one but I had to get everyone and everything in there. These are the people I follow that help me stay aware of issues in the world while being educated as to how we can solve them and love ourselves more. Our society needs help and by going through and removing unnecessary negativity and adding more positivity, starting to say kinder words to yourself and others, and begin to see yourself in a new, more positive light, the more our own lives and everyone else’s will be impacted for the better. I cannot force you to love yourself for all that you are inside and out, but I can hope that my words help you to realize that you are a beautiful human who deserves love and support and I truly wish the best for you in all of your future endeavors.