In case you are not familiar with the term, body positivity is a social movement that a) encourages all human beings to feel good about their body, whatever their size, and b) challenges society’s and the media’s objectification of the human form.

The cause is not new (in some ways the Victorians were on the bandwagon), but it has gained momentum over the last decade, as social media has become an ever more powerful platform.

In 2013, plus-size model and body-positive activist Tess Holliday began her #effyourbeautystandards campaign on Instagram. She says of her fearless activism: ‘It all started to take off in 2009 and 2010. I started to see the plus-size models on social media and see that they were real. They were actual people, not just in magazines or whatever, but actual people with personalities. And then I realised there was no one that represented [plus sized women] – a large majority of women in America and the world.’

Thanks to Holliday and other icons like her, body positivity is now all over social media, across hundreds of feeds and hashtags. Here are some of our favourite body-positive fans to follow on Instagram


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A post shared by Kate Jones (@dedikated_lifestyle)

Aussie health and fitness influencer Kate Writer candidly shares her relationship with her body with her 149k followers. Once gym- and calorie-obsessed, she has learned that ‘healthy looks different on everybody’ and she makes it her business to help others embrace that message. Her feed consists mainly of happy, bikini-clad shots of her tanned but curvy physique.


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A post shared by EFF YOUR BEAUTY STANDARDS ™ (@effyourbeautystandards)

Tess Holliday’s feed has a staggering 437k followers. A mixture of memes, arty shots of plus-size women and motivational messages, it rejects objectification and promotes body acceptance from every angle.


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A post shared by bryonygordon (@bryonygordon)

It is worth taking note of what Telegraph journalist, podcaster and bestselling author Bryony Gordon says about pretty much anything – whether that is mental-health issues, addiction, motherhood, make-up or body image. Her 176k followers clearly agree. In an interview with Good Housekeeping magazine she said: ‘I get a lot of messages from women saying, ‘I wish I had your confidence’. I don’t have confidence. I have the same hateful thoughts everyone else has. But what I do have is a desire to not spend any more of my time hating on myself. I’m sick of this world where we, as women, have this obligation to take bits of our bodies and do them down. It’s really sad.’ Need we say more?


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A post shared by MidSize Collective (@midsizecollective)

Founded by Anushka Moore, because she could only find a handful of influencers who were a size 14 like her, this feed describes itself as ‘the original home of not petite but not plus-sized style inspo’. Moore says: ‘2019 was the birth of a new me, because 2018 had worked hard to help me get there, mentally and emotionally. 2018 was the year I started @midsizecollective – an Instagram account that reposts images of fashionable girls between UK size 10 and 18 who have been forgotten by fashion.’
This is one sassy grid.


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A post shared by Laura Thomas, PhD, RNutr (@laurathomasphd)

Laura is a registered nutritional therapist who specialises in intuitive eating and health at every size. Based in London, she is ‘cutting through the nutrition BS, and telling people what they really need to know to stay on top of their game’. Her brilliant book, Just Eat It, is an invaluable tool for anybody who needs to learn to love their body again. Her intuitive eating podcast, Don’t Salt My Game, is an interesting resource, too. Her perky Instagram feed is refreshing and honest and makes you feel as though her mission is entirely possible.


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A post shared by Hannah Mummy Mills (@hannahmummymills)

Empowering women to stay fit and feel confident throughout pregnancy and motherhood, Hannah Mills is a personal trainer, a mother of one and a pre- and post-natal specialist. Valuing strength and fitness over size, she has up her sleeve scores of do-able exercises, whatever stage you’re at.


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A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham)

With 11.8m followers, this girl has some sway. The curvy 33-year-old model from Lincoln, Nebraska is a major proponent of the body positivity movement (and has even posted pictures on Instagram of her cellulite). In 2016, she became the first size 16 model to feature on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In 2017, she published a book entitled A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like, in which she outlined her vision for the future of body image in society. In an interview with Vogue magazine, Ashley said: ‘I definitely think that my body has changed many peoples’ lives. I’ve used my body as a tool to talk about taboo subjects, such as cellulite or being insecure about lower belly fat... And I know the lives that have been changed: young girls and even women my age who have written me and said, ‘I never loved the skin that I was in until I heard your journey.’’

By Becky Ladenburg
January 2021


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