By Harneet Kaur
Being body positive starts with accepting one’s body with all its imperfections and flaws. But in today’s world of social media and influencers, it is getting harder for people to accept themselves and their flaws. Why? Because there’s a standard which has been set for beauty. Tall, slender, fair, unpigmented, without marks, symmetrical features and so much more. We are valuing outer perfection as the standard of beauty. Body shaming has become rampant across media, with people making fun of, mocking and discriminating against people who don’t fit into the so-called “standards of beauty”.
Body positivity awareness has been around for a long time. But it started gaining popularity and increased exposure with the emergence of social media during 2014. It challenges the conceptions held by society regarding a person’s physical weight and size. The movement is mainly associated with accepting all bodies regardless of how they look, what their ethnicity is and what they’re able to do.
But as negative and toxic social media can be to target and become a platform for body shaming, it also is becoming the medium to spread change and positivity. Many influencers and celebrities have stepped up to thrash the stereotypical notions of beauty and to encourage acceptance of oneself.
Let’s delve deeper and learn more about all these amazing people!
Jamie Otis is an American TV personality who shot to fame after her participation in the 1st season of the TV show Marriage At First Sight. She’s also a registered nurse, an entrepreneur and a TV show host.
Her journey hasn’t been easy. She’d tried conceiving post her marriage. Her first child was delivered premature due to some complications and couldn’t survive. But now, she’s a happy mom of two “rainbow” babies, as she fondly calls them.
Getting body shamed for wearing bikinis after gaining weight, showing herself nursing and dealing with postpartum, she raised her voice to shut all those people. She helps motivate her fans, or “frans” (family+fans) as she calls them by practicing what she preaches through her posts.
2. Louise Green
Louise is a “size-inclusive” fitness coach, whose mantra is to get people “stronger” not “skinnier” through her fitness programs. Her brand “Big Fit Girl” was launched after the release of her book by the same name.
An excerpt from her website defines it as:
“The Big Fit Girl community is a body positive fitness space for big fit girls or those aspiring to be. It is a space that is all about honouring our bodies and our endless physical abilities and dismantles the narrative that our physical success or health is dependent on a number on the scale. This community is for all body types who struggle to find their fitness fit and need a good place to start.”
Plus-sized model, blogger and body positive content creator Sakshi Sidhwani is empowering the body positivity movement in India. In a country highly influenced by the notions of western standards for complexion, beauty and even body-size, she is one of the many emerging faces who thrash those notions.
Severely bullied and made fun of in her younger days, her Insta-famous days too invited the never-ending troll armies. However, she says she’s started looking past them and has gained confidence in her skin. And according to her, once she gained that, the body-shamers didn’t seem to affect her as much.
Sakshi advises young girls to give importance to a fit and healthy life, regardless of their body size. Unhealthy habits are not ok. Your body size shouldn’t limit you from getting healthy.
From an exercise addicted person to a body positive influencer, Stevie Blaine has turned his life around, in a drastic transformation. Not only embracing his body has helped him get physically healthier, but also mentally. Battling an eating disorder in his teens and having a hateful relationship with his body, he believes that he was his own biggest enemy at that point.
Stevie says that the ingrained masculine toxicity in men’s minds is what stops them from initiating this discussion. For him, instagram turned from a negative tool to a positive one when one day he saw a post by Megan Jayne Crabbe embracing her body on a beach. .
He is now happier than he had ever been and through his Instagram, talks about the challenges he faced and how one can accept their body.
5. Laura Iu
Unlike the body positive influencers we were talking about uptil here, Laura is an “Anti Diet Dietician”. She helps sham the diet culture and promotes intuitive eating practices and nutrition therapy. This is along with empowering body liberation.
Her posts are a mix of content encouraging people not to fall into the diet culture, breaking the hype and encouraging body positivity.
Laura also posts tips on how we can develop a healthy lifestyle and accept our bodies the way they are, along with embracing her Asian heritage.
These times are trying. There is a breakthrough happening in the world full of stereotypes and perceived notions. It is not an easy task but people are becoming more informed, more open to the concept. It’s not just in the field of body size, but also complexion, ethnicity and gender. Being “body positive” requires a lot of mindset change and even attitude change. But, it is not impossible.
If you felt enlightened and inspired by this article, stop by and leave your feedback in the comments.
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