Not all that long ago, social media provided us with a place to stay connected to the people in our lives that we cared about and to share snippets of our own life also. Very quickly, this arena changed. No longer are we simply connected to the people in our real life, but we have a very intimate view into the lives of people we don’t know all over the globe. Social media is now commonly a dangerous place of comparison, where a few idle moments of scrolling can leave us feeling flat, unworthy, hopeless or defeated.
Social media has the tendency to make us more disconnected than connected. It can leave us questioning where we are in life, how we look, how we act, how we mother, our career goals, our likes and dislikes- pretty much everything! We look at what social media claims as the indicators of success or beauty and we evaluate how we measure up to this. In a world of filters and highlights, it can be hard to determine what is real and what is fake. It is almost impossible to know what it took to get that shot, and what is hidden just beyond the frame. Without this context, these stand-alone images are powerful and often misleading. Social media has been accused of sparking a soaring increase in depression, eating disorders, bullying, stress, anxiety and other mental health issues.
Luckily, there is a silver lining. There is an increasing trend towards social media accounts offering a more realistic view of life. Supportive hashtags and trends have emerged to help override the more negative elements of social media. With a little healthy digging, it is quite easy to find accounts and groups that are inclusive and uplifting, and many people find real comfort in the support of these new global communities. While there are many accounts that can trigger body shame or stir the green-eyed monster within, there are also many accounts that are founded on body love, self-care, self-worth and inspire great positivity when it comes to loving the skin you’re in and what makes you unique.
Increasing numbers of women have taken to social media to talk about body image and reject body shame. Body positivity is indeed trending and evident through the #bopo or #bp hashtag movement. The term ‘Body Positivity’ itself started to explode in 2017, with over 4.3 million hashtags of #bodypositive, and 1.36 million of #bodypositivity on Instagram alone.
Large global companies have joined the movement, releasing exciting positive campaigns around body image and self-worth. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is probably one of the most widely talked about social media campaigns in this arena. After a detailed study that revealed only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful, Dove came up with the “Real Beauty” campaign. An on-going campaign for 10 years now, ‘Real Beauty’ has influenced many women and has been a real catalyst for social change. The campaign challenges the stereotypical idea of beauty and encourages women to be comfortable in their own skin.
While businesses and companies around the world are stepping up to embrace and celebrate body positivity, so too are individual females whose social media accounts are a source of strength, hope, connection and community for millions of women all over the world. These women celebrate self-love in all shapes, sizes, skin colours, body types, and beyond. These body-positive influencers lead by example and aim to help others become more confident and accepting of themselves also.
Take a look at these social media accounts below and let their uplifting posts and inspiring projects motivate you to be more loving and accepting of yourself, just the way you are.
Bo Stanley is a model and pro surfer whose message celebrates women of all shapes and sizes. Her entire Instagram account is themed around body positivity and embracing diversity in all-female bodies, especially in the surfing industry. “To me, body positivity means loving and honouring your body wherever it may be in this very moment…we need to teach women to strive and to be strong and healthy by their own genetic standards—that means we will all look different, and that’s a beautiful thing!”
Jordan Younger is the blogger behind the popular wellness and lifestyle blog The Balanced Blonde. A few years ago, Jordan fell very ill with chronic Lyme disease, and her sickness became the catalyst of several major shifts in her life. Her social media platforms chronicle her journey on the road to healing and her inspiration to help others heal also. Her story offers great highlights of her lovely life, and also real candid shots of what her illness looks like and her journey to love her body and care for herself no matter what presents itself. “I don’t share my healing journey to complain or evoke sympathy, I share to inspire, educate, and create a sense of community on these little pixelated screens.”
Kathryn Budig is a well-known yoga instructor, podcaster, author, designer and plant-based chef whose message ‘Aim True’ inspires women the world over to follow their heart and follow their dreams, regardless of what the rest of the world tells them. Kathryn hit headlines when she left her husband and soon after married the love of her life who happened to be a woman. Kathryn is not afraid to speak her truth, laugh at herself, or hide who she is from the world. She speaks on all types of current social issues from self-love and women’s rights, to what it means to be queer, to discussions in the modern yoga world around body shame and the Insta-yogi phenomena.
Amy Purdy lost both her legs at age 19 from bacterial meningitis. Luckily, that never stopped her leaping towards her dreams. Amy is a Paralympic snowboarder, author of On My Own Two Feet, and a Dancing with the Stars contestant. “We have to be willing to let go of what we thought our lives would look like & embrace what they are & that’s when we begin to see the endless possibilities!” Amy’s social media feed shares her life – both the challenges she faces and the fun and achievements that she has. It is a wonderful place of inspiration and perspective.
Dana Falsetti is a yoga instructor who became well known through a bit of a ‘yoga scandal.’ Dana used to be a teacher on a popular online yoga studio called Cody App. When the platform was taken over by well-known yoga clothing brand Alo, Dana she asked for her videos to be removed from the site. As a leader of the body-positive inclusivity movement in yoga, she contended that Alo’s marketing campaigns weren’t diverse enough for her to align with the brand. This move landed Dana with a drawn-out legal battle that was splashed all over the headlines of the yoga world and beyond. Today, Dana has her own online yoga studio where she inspires women of all shapes and sizes to get on the yoga mat. “Confidence and assuredness of self give us the tools we need to keep on keeping on, to live life as fully as we can, and recognize all we have to offer.”
Candice Huffine is a magazine cover star, model and marathon runner with a difference! Candice began her modelling career young with the support of a wonderful mother who told her she could be and do anything she dreamed of. Even as a successful plus-size model, Huffine still struggled to find clothes in her size, both in and out of the fashion industry. This inspired her to launch her own activewear brand Day/One, a line that includes sizes from 0 to 32. Huffine says body positivity is a journey: “There is no magic formula or tutorial I can share about how to become confident in your skin, but I have learned from experience it all comes from work. Be kind. Be patient. Be thankful. Be grateful. Set goals. Challenge your limits. Step outside of your comfort zone. Explore what your body is capable of and prepare to be amazed!”
Kenzie Brenna has a social media account filled with candid real-life images and even more intimate expressive captions. She often shares the challenges she has with loving and accepting her own body and then how she addresses how to flip them into a more positive view. Her quotes shared all feature around body positivity and self-love, and while there is humour in them, they also have strong undercurrents and offer a great reminder and message to women all over the world. Stretch marks and cellulite feature right alongside smiles and laughter. Speaking of self love she says “It doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen in a 14 day boot camp, it doesn’t happen in a 3 day intensive meditation, it doesn’t happen in “6 months from now,” it happens in this moment right now and for the rest of your damn life.”
Mama Cax is a cancer survivor, blogger, body positivity activist, model and motivational speaker and her Instagram account is a must-follow. She was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 14 and was given only 3 weeks to live. Luckily, she survived yet she did have to have her right leg amputated. She shares her story with confidence and grace and is now a successful young woman with a huge following and is an inspiration to many. She utilises her work to speak about topics on body positivity for women of all shapes, colours and disabilities: “For me, the body positivity movement emerged with social media. The movement has definitely expanded, but there is still a missing piece. I see so many illustrations of diverse women, but none of them with a disability. I’m going to continue talking about these issues so that, hopefully, this movement will be even more inclusive.”
For all the mothers out there who are tired of seeing what motherhood looks like through filters and designer wear, Claire is a breath of fresh air. With three little ones and another on the way, this Byron Bay based influencer isn’t afraid to show what motherhood actually looks like. Her humorous and endearing (and unfiltered!) images almost come in second to her wonderfully witty captions that will make all mothers laugh and nod with camaraderie. Claire and her small tribe are incredibly loveable and while her feed isn’t so much an exhibition of body positivity, it is one that offers a real-life glimpse into highs and lows (and mess!) of motherhood and reminds women that motherhood is indeed a challenging and yet wonder-filled adventure.
Yoga teacher, health coach, vegan advocate, author, podcaster, personal trainer, fitness model… her bio is enough to leave you feeling just a touch insecure… BUT, that certainly isn’t what you will feel once you dive into Koya’s content. Koya believes the most important element in health and wellness is Self-Love; from this belief came the creation of Get Loved Up. Get Loved Up encourages people to practice daily self-care and make healthy living a priority in a fun and accessible way. Her contagious smile and simple to follow tips for living a healthy life are inspiring and motivating. “Love yourself, love others, and love the world-in that order.”
Social media can be a menace but it can also be a place of solace. With all the pros and cons that come along with it, social media does still have the power and potential to bring people together. When used in a positive way, it offers a platform for us to listen and to be heard. Never before in the history of humankind have we had this ability and capacity to share our journey and who we are with people all over the world. When it comes to body positivity, while there is plenty of not-so-great content out there that can be harmful and debilitating, there is also a huge amount of content that is inspiring, uplifting, and uniting in nature. Loving our bodies can be hard when we are presented with unrealistic representations of perceived perfection. The body positivity movement has made some huge strides towards helping us to feel more confident and accepted just as we are. So remember, ditch any accounts that make you question yourself, and start utilising social media to help you flourish and shine in your own skin.