Instagram, home to Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and about 500,000 other unattainably flawless influencers. What if social media was a place where all bodies could be celebrated and accepted? Look no further! We at Y.O.U underwear are anti-airbrushing and pro-ethical marketing in order to combat unrealistic body expectations that are so often perpetuated on social media. Here are our favourite body positive influencers for you to fill your feed with...
Jessamyn Stanley is a body positivity advocate and yoga instructor who believes that “a woman should revel in her strength and beauty, a strength which literally gives life to the universe... Yoga gives a woman the potential to remember who she actually is—to look within herself for the strength which society actively and willfully seeks to pry from her grasp.” Her instagram is full of posts celebrating her body, expressing her gratitude and amazement for what the female body is capable of.
Em Ford began blogging after developing adult acne in 2015, seeking support from fellow sufferers. After posting a YouTube video detailing the hate she was receiving for posting her skin without makeup, she received 10 million views and a lot of traction to her social media. Ever since, she has become an advocate for loving and accepting the skin you’re in- regardless of spots. Her instagram posts highlight and normalise acne in teens and adults, while also reminding everyone how artificial and detached from reality Instagram can be!
Bestfriends Lindsey Clayton and Emma Rees created a place on social media for people to celebrate their strength and connect through their passion for fitness, body empowerment and the pursuit of living a brave life. On their instagram account, they post workouts with a realistic and accessible approach to exercise. They believe that the key to fitness should be about striking a balance between healthy foods, and treats like booze and sugar- everything in moderation, they say!
Their workouts tend to be aimed at feeling good, not to try and attain a certain body shape or look. Clayton says “work out for the right reasons. Work out because you want to be the best version of you. Work out because it's fun. The results will follow, I promise.”
Inspirational and motivational figure Amy Purdy has won two paralympic medals, authored her own book "On My Own Two Feet" and competed on Dancing with the Stars, all after contracting bacterial meningitis at 19. Purdy says: “Life is all about perspective. I’m living the life I always dreamed of, just in a completely different way than I ever imagined,” she writes on Instagram. “We have to be willing to let go of what we thought our lives would look like & embrace what they are & that’s when we begin to see the endless possibilities!” She empoweringly posts pictures on her instagram showcasing her prosthetic legs that help to celebrate and normalise this difference!
Next on our list is Keah Brown, author of the 2019 book "The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability and Other Reasons to Fall in Love With Me," in which she writes about her cerebral palsy and how it has affected her life. Her instagram frequently features the hashtag #disabledandcute along with her selfies, as a way to empower and celebrate her differences from what is usually celebrated on instagram, “body positivity means that I embrace every bump, scar, and bruise I have even when it feels impossible.”
Not just that, Keah notes on her instagram that body positivity should celebrate every body, including bodies of colour, disabled and LGBTQ+ bodies, not just the “bodies with a little chub that are still acceptable.” Her Instagram account wholeheartedly celebrates everyone who feels their body type lacks representation in the media!
This next influencer founded his own body positivity account for men after he couldn't find clothes that fit him in regular shops. Bruce Strugell posts style tips for heavier men on his website and instagram account @chubstr, as well as providing general support and validation for bigger men who are left out of the often female-dominant body positivity movement! In an interview with VeryWell, he enforces the idea that “Your size is just a part of what makes you who you are, you’re amazing just as you are! Don’t let anyone make you feel like less because you’re not the ‘right’ size for them.”
Our final favourite body positive influencer is Harnaam Kaur, who shares her experiences dealing with PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome, a hormonal imbalance that can cause hair to grow in places typically associated with males. In Harnaam’s case, she has grown hair across her chin, cheeks and jawline, resulting in the growth of a beard. Despite constant taunting while at school, she has embraced her facial hair and posts selfies frequently celebrating it. Her uploads help to normalise body and facial hair in girls, in fact her condition is so common that it is said to affect 1 in 10 girls in some way! Kaur explains that she's “realised that this body is mine, I own it, I do not have any other body to live in so I may as well love it unconditionally.”
We hope you’ve found our recommendations helpful! There are so many more amazing and empowering body positive influencers out there, so please let us know your favourites in the comments below!
By Lois Gilbert