I hated my body. I thought no one would ever love my fat rolls or my thighs that have no gap.
Back then I didn’t realise I am a very special snowflake who needs to learn to love herself for exactly who she is.
I’m much happier now that I’ve accepted myself and part of that was finding out there are other women out there who love their bodies and who want me, and you, to know that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your body the way it is.
So in the name of self-acceptance, meet these fabulous women:
Disability does not make you any less
This is Dr Danielle Sheypuk, who was born with spinal muscular atrophy and has been wheelchair disabled since childhood. She is a disability rights advocate, clinical psychologist and model – yes, a model. Danielle also became the first ever disabled model to appear on the New York Fashion Week runway in a wheelchair in 2014. She specialises in dating, relationships and sexuality among disabled people and gave this amazing TED talk about just that.
Yoga is for everyone
Jessamyn Stanley is a yoga enthusiast and self-identifying “fat femme” loves sharing clips and images on her Instagram account to encourage bigger women to try yoga - shattering the myth that fat girls can’t be healthy.
Dianne Bondy appears in a video for Canadian retailer Penningtons #IWontCompromise campaign showing off her mad yoga skills in an effort to clear up myths about the abilities of plus-sized women just like Jessamyn. The video features statements on why we think plus-sized women can’t do yoga, like “plus-sized women have no balance” and with Dianne proving each statement completely wrong. Check out her Instagram here.
Your skin is beautiful
Shaun Ross, an albino male model, started the #InMySkinIWin campaign after he was contacted by a mother of a child with albinism who wanted to know if he could offer her any advice. On his site, Shaun says “Beauty is you and what you make from your confidence in your own perfectly imperfect body. Together, if we encourage others to love what they see when they look at themselves, we can win in our skin.” The campaign has not only done amazing things for people with albinism, but thousands of other people with conditions like vitiligo.
Redifining the “bikini body”
Molly Galbraith, co-founder and owner of Girls Gone Strong, did something simple, but very important this year – she didn’t make any resolutions to change her body.
Molly shared this image of herself saying :
“This is my body.
This not a before picture.
This is not an after picture.
This just happens to be what my body looks like on a random Tuesday in December of 2015 — it's a LIFE picture.” Read the rest of her caption here.
Skinny-shaming is not okay
Like fat-shaming, skinny-shaming is also not cool. Bridget Malcolm, a Victoria’s Secret Model, wants you to know that being skinny is okay too. In an Instagram post where she deplored skinny-shaming, Bridget says “I may not be the curviest but I am a woman who has every right to look the way I do.” And that she certainly does since being skinny and being anorexic is not the same thing.
You can recover from an eating disorder
This is Megan Jayne Crabbe is a self-described “recovered anorexic” and body-positive feminist who encourages positive self-talk and wants to remind the world that your body is wonderful.
The body is not an apology
Poet, activist and humanitarian, Sonya Renee Taylor founded The Body is Not An Apology movement back in 2011 after posting a picture of herself in a black corset on her Facebook page. Taylor says that less than 24 hours later a movement was born. “Folks began sharing photos of empowered, perfectly imperfect bodies, shaped by differences in age, race, size, gender, dis/ability, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, class and other attributes. They were willing to exist unapologetically for just that moment,” she says on the site. The site has grown wonderfully and includes articles on weight/size, disability, gender, mental health and intersectionality.
Yaaas, this girl really can
I need to get a t-shirt emblazoned with the words, “I jiggle therefore I am”. This video created by Sport England, which celebrates women of all sizes and encourages exercise, will have you crying YAAAAASSSSSS all the way through.