“If we make self-love or body acceptance conditional, the truth is, we will never be happy with ourselves. The reality is that our bodies are constantly changing, and they will never remain exactly the same. If we base our self-worth on something as ever-changing as our bodies, we will forever be on the emotional roller coaster of body obsession and shame.” — Chrissy King

A person’s body image is influenced by culture, environment, people, and ideas around them as well as their digital consumption. Traditional forms of media, such as television, magazines and advertisements, have influenced and perpetuated societal standards of the ideal body type. In addition, the emergence of social media not only increases the inundation of these unrealistic body image expectations, but it also opened the floodgates of cyber bullying and mental illnesses. Social media makes it easy to compare yourself to anyone, and everyone, which can be problematic. The constant comparison of ourselves to others can seriously affect our mental health. Two in five (40%) respondents in a survey of girls ages 11 to 16 in the UK reported that they “have seen images online that have made them feel insecure or less confident about themselves”.

In recent years there has been a recognition of the harm social media poses to mental health and body image, particularly on teen girls. The body positivity movement aims to unravel society’s unattainable beauty standards and change the narrative– challenging beauty norms and embracing flaws and diversity is encouraged! It is important to surround ourselves with positive messaging and be aware of the accounts we follow, how they affect our mental health, and their influence on our body image. Here are our staff’s top picks of body positive influencers you should follow!

Tiffany Ima, Curve Model/Wellness Influencer:

Alex Light, Author/Digital Content Creator:

Clara Holmes, Model/Motivational Speaker:

Sylvia Mac, Burn Survivor Advocate:

The Every Man Project, Plus-sized Fashion Photographer:

The Movemeant Foundation, Body Positive Workout Community:

Em Ford, Natural Skin Advocate/Filmmaker:

Jess Weiner, Author/Podcast Host:

Allison Kimmey, Plus-Size Fashion Blogger:

Harnaam Kaur, PCOS Advocate/Motivational Speaker:

Bo Stanley, Professional Athlete/Activist:

Self-love should not be a radical belief. These individuals rise above the pervasive/damaging images and messages shown in media and share their journey to self-acceptance as a way to help those struggling to build their own confidence. The Body Positivity Movement advocates for acceptance of all body types, plus-sized bodies, thin bodies, differently-abled bodies, or any other body type which may be marginalized in our society. We hope this list inspires you to look past toxic beauty standards and define beauty through your own lens!

To learn more about the intersection of body image, social media, and mental health, check out these references:

Teenage girls, body image and Instagram’s ‘perfect storm’ | Instagram | The Guardian

Body Positivity on Social Media Is a Work in Progress | Psychology Today

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