Instagram has a bad reputation for making young women feel shitty about themselves. If you follow a mainstream celebrity or have even just scrolled through the Explore page, you know how easy it is to compare yourself to another woman.
It’s so easy to forget that people most often post pictures where they look their best. I mean, isn’t it nice to scroll back through your feed and see pictures of yourself looking great? And why not choose the picture where you look the happiest so that everyone knows you had a great time?
For a long time, I posted pictures like this. I also looked at images of slim, pretty, and happy-looking women and thought, “Why can’t I look like that?” or “What is she doing to look so good?”
Though I believe that Instagram will always be filled with highly edited photos of young, white, thin, able-bodied women, the way I think about these images has changed. Or rather, when I see these pictures of “conventionally” beautiful women, the way I think about myself has changed.
Don’t get me wrong – the bodies of these women are indeed beautiful. But so is my body. And so is yours. And so are the bodies of all the other women out there who don’t fit stereotypical beauty standards.
Before I get too carried away on a motivational speech about why all of our bodies are beautiful, I’ll tell you that I didn’t come to this realization on my own. It was Instagram where I first encountered authentic body positivity and self-love.
If you or someone you know feels trapped in a cycle of self-hatred, has distorted thoughts about food and/or their body, or just needs a reminder that they are enough, the following women on Instagram can help you get started.
1. Madelyn Moon: @madelynmoon
One of the most prominent women who inspires me to embrace who I am and reach my full potential is Madelyn Moon. Not only does she run an Instagram account with meaningful quotes and pictures, but she has her own podcast (Mind Body Musings) and YouTube account where she posts short snippets with titles like “You’re Not for Everybody” and “Your Body Isn’t a Work in Progress.”
One of her quotes that resonates with me the most is this one:
As Madelyn says, “Wanna finally let go, and LIVE? I promise, once you do, you’ll see that “being out of control” is pretty freeing.”
2. Chelsey Weinmann: @healthyhappy_chelsey
Another woman that has inspired me since the beginning of my journey to body positivity and self-acceptance is Chelsey.
This is the caption she wrote for that picture of her smiling on the beach:
“It’s not easy to stop the frustration when you see pictures of all those pieces you had filed away as “flaws” and try to rewrite the words that you speak about them, verbally or in your own head.
It’s not easy to remember that what you really should be thinking about when you see those pictures is not what your body did or did not look like that day; it’s how you FELT that day. The experiences you had, the way you laughed with your loves and ran through the water and felt the sun on inches of skin that you used to hide away from the world in shame.
It’s not always easy to remember that this body – this beautiful, strong, capable body – is not all of you. It’s just a piece, the physical piece carrying you through each day. And in no way should it dictate the way you allow yourself to live through each day.”
3. Megan Crabbe: @bodyposipanda
The last inspirational woman that I want to introduce to you is Megan.
She uses hashtags like #DontHateTheShake and fearlessly posts pictures and videos of herself that pretty much say “f*ck what society believes women’s bodies should look like.”
Since finding the body positive movement on Instagram and seeing people who explicitly comment on society’s twisted beauty standards, I have taken big strides in my journey to self-love.
I hope you are inspired by these women like I am, and start thinking about the ways your thoughts and actions are either helping or hurting you on your own journey to self-love.