Looking through my Instagram feed, I can often kid myself into thinking that we live in a world accepting of many different shapes and sizes and that the tide is changing when it comes to the representation of diverse bodies. Yet, if I really think about why my feed gives me that impression, it’s because I’ve highly curated it and unfollowed certain brands and accounts that made me feel bad about myself, in favour of pages that seek to inspire and lift us above the boundaries placed on us. And although it seems to me as if the Jameela Jamil’s of the world are winning the war on body positivity, is it really enough?
If I veer my finger a little to the right of my home screen (and comfort zone) it doesn’t take me long to land on the dreaded ‘explore’ page where in a few seconds I can be bombarded by the very images I’ve tried to avoid. The whole Kardahsian/Jenner crew, the Emily Ratajkowski’s of the world and the ‘weight loss journeys’ that claim to be all about FEELING better and being healthy in the captions, yet displaying a perfectly sculpted body as the main attraction. I then find myself trapped back into the claws of the self-esteem destroyer, as we’re forced to compare our bodies to women who have trainers, nutritionists, photoshoppers and plastic surgeons on tap.
It got me questioning whether the rise in body positive Instagrammers was enough to cut through the copy and paste images of ‘perfect women’ that pervade the depths of instagram. I know full well that there is pressure on women, especially young women, to follow accounts that don’t necessarily make you feel good about yourself and sometimes the onslaught of these images seems inescapable, regardless of whether you want to see them or not. Yet, I do believe that the rise in accounts willing to show the world the true beauty in the diversity of bodies is taking us in the right direction.
I remember the first time I stumbled upon the body positivity activist ‘bodyposipanda’, also known as Megan Crabbe. It was the first time I ever saw natural rolls of the stomach being shown AT ALL. Even plus-size models I’d seen ALWAYS had a flat stomach. I was in complete shock and awe.
It seems that opening up about body struggles is coming to the fore. We are seeing more and more celebrities talking out about how they have been refused to be dressed by fashion houses for being ‘too big.’ Recently, singer Bebe Rexha came out to say that no designers would dress her for the Grammy’s and similar stories were shared by SAG Award host Megan Mullaly and actress Leslie Jones. And of course, Jameela Jamil’s ‘iweigh’ campaign gets people to measure themselves on things other than weight or appearance. It is exactly these small acts of defiance which will normalise the acceptance of all body types.
But do I believe that this movement towards body positivity is enough to cancel out the noise from the rest of instagram? I think yes. As long as we, as likers and consumers, demand more from brands and influencers. Although there are certain brands and influencers who will never veer from using airbrushed and flawless models, more and more brands are realising that empowerment, rather than critiquing bodies resonates more with audiences.
Here are some brands who are getting it right when it comes to showing a range of bodies and reflecting the true diversity of the world. We can only hope for more of this!
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