The Body Positivity Movement celebrates people with marginalized bodies in society. It challenges society’s beauty standards and advocates self-love.
Yet, the movement is subject to many damaging myths and misconceptions. One of the biggest myths is that body positivity promotes obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle. Check out TheOverExplainer’s video on YouTube to understand why this isn’t true. The movement isn’t simply about weight – it aims to celebrate all marginalized bodies. Including people with disabilities, people of colour, and people with skin conditions.
Still, the movement isn’t perfect. Issues with true representation amongst the most popular body-positive influencers are still problematic. As Stephanie Yeboah notes in her Vogue article, Body Positivity: Why The Work Is Far From Finished, the movement has become
“centred on ‘acceptably fat’ women: beautiful women with extreme hourglass shapes, typically white or light-skinned, with small waists, big hips and high cheekbones.”
Whilst the movement as a whole still has many hurdles to overcome in terms of true representation, there are so many brilliant body-positive influencers to follow. We’ve rounded up 7 of our favourites – check them out below!
1. Jessamyn Stanley @mynameisjessamyn
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Happy #Juneteenth! Celebrate with a FREE #yogaonhigh class presented by @wegohighnc & @theunderbellyyoga! We’ll be streaming from @mynameisjessamyn on IG live tomorrow at 3pm EST. This is a donation based class and all proceeds will go to @criticalresistance @byp100 @blackdirectaction @undocublack & #boldorganizing Link in bio to donate!
Jessamyn is a yoga teacher and a body-positive influencer on Instagram. She believes everyone can find enjoyment and self-love in yoga; suggesting followers focus on how yoga positions feel rather than how they look whilst doing them. Jessamyn also runs a podcast called Dear Jessamyn, advising on relationships, sex, and lifestyle.
2. Hannah Witton @hannahwitton
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I’ve actually started to have dreams where I have a stoma and a scar. I dunno how long it took exactly for my subconscious brain to realise my body is different (also the stoma isn’t present/relevant in every dream) but it was so strange the first time I actually remembered a dream where I had the stoma bag! Anyone else out there had similar experience? How long did it take your sleep brain to adapt to a new scar, new tattoo, a wheelchair etc? 💛 knickers & vest gifted by @organicbasics
Hannah is known for her YouTube channel on relationships, sex, and sexual health. In 2011 she created The Hormone Diaries, a web series documenting her journey coming off The Pill. In 2018, Hannah had emergency surgery to remove her colon and was fitted with a stoma. Now, she uses her platform to raise awareness for people living with chronic illness or invisible disability.
3. The EveryMan Project @theeverymanproject
The EveryMAN Project was founded by photographer Tarick Caroll to empower and inspire men. The Project’s Instagram feed features men challenging the ideals of the male aesthetic and toxic masculinity. Tarik’s photos capture the rarely represented beauty, tenderness, and vulnerability of men. They also have a clothing range called F*Your*Toxic*Masc to challenge toxic masculinity.
4. Bishamber Das @bishamberdas
Bishamber Das is recognised as Britain’s first Asian plus-size model. Das, of Indian-Malaysian heritage, grew up in a British-Asian community. She is dedicated to challenging body-shaming attitudes and improving the representation of different body types and ethnicities in the fashion industry.
5. Gabi Gregg @gabifresh
Gabi Gregg is a body-positive influencer, fashion-designer, and style influencer. Gabi challenges society’s belief that certain clothing is inappropriate for plus-size women – such as crop tops or bikinis. Her Instagram is a brilliant source of style inspiration and body-positivity. She has designed two plus-size clothing lines; a sexy lingerie line with Playful Promises and an inclusive swimwear collection with Swimsuits4All.
6. Kelvin Davis @kelvindavis
Kelvin Davis, previously known as Nortiously Dapper on Instagram, is a body-positive activist and style influencer. Kelvin wants to help men embrace their bodies and enjoy experimenting with style, no matter their size. He has also published a book on how to be a modern gentleman, featuring style tips and ways to become more confident.
7. Mariia Bilenka @mariia_white
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Each flower needs its own time to bloom 🌸🌼🌷 Roses, daisies, peonies, tulips are all beautiful and they bloom during their unique time, when they are full of energy from the sun and water. . . Flowers can wilt, fall, root, rise & bloom. And they don’t judge themselves that they don’t bloom all the time! . . The same goes to you 🥀 Take your time, your body needs time, care, love & patience to bloom 🌷 . . We are all beautiful & unique flowers 💐
Mariia Bilenka is a skin-positive influencer on Instagram. Mariia, an acne sufferer, regularly posts unedited, make-up free images of her skin. She advocates sustainable, holistic healing of the skin and challenges false advertising of the effectiveness of beauty products. Mariia explains that skin confidence is an everyday practice and shares her struggles with skin-positivity.
Do you follow any of these body-positive influencers? Or do you have a favourite influencer you want to tell us about? Let us know in the comments below!