There is no question that in this day and age, social media is an integral part of our lives. We can be incredibly influenced by what we see, especially as women, due to the prejudices we face in society. Mostly, it affects our perception of our bodies, being surrounded by images of the “perfect” body everywhere we look. But who defines what this “perfect” body looks like? Every body is a perfect body. It’s important that we surround ourselves with accounts that supports and celebrates women for who they are, regardless of shape, size or ethnicity.
Instagram models and celebrities document their entire lives on social media, posting pictures of their “perfect” lives and bodies. From holidays in Barcelona to them in the gym in their sponsored Gymshark co-ord, their accounts are designed to make us hate ourselves. And what do they gain from this self-hate? Well, they endorse products that allow themselves to capitalise off of it. They will promote anything that benefits themselves, from charcoal toothpaste to diet shakes. Basically, they tell us we shouldn’t love our own bodies, selling us items that will “improve” ourselves to make a profit. It is due to these types of toxicity that there are such high cases of body dysmorphia and eating disorders in young women. Everything they portray to young, influential teens on social media is created not only to exploit them, but to diminish their sense of self-worth.
Recently, there’s been a growth in backlash against these social media celebrities, with many other celebrities speaking out against their toxic endorsements and encouraging young women to love themselves as they are. Jameela Jamil recently began a campaign on Instagram against detox scams, which are promoted by Instagram models as the key to their healthy physique. Jameela uncovers how these celebrities have access to dieticians, personal trainers, photoshop and make-up, which create the “perfect” image they’re endorsing, not the detox drinks. Little research has been done into the side effects of diet shakes as well, so they can honestly be really dangerous to our bodies. Basically, if it’s not supported by a nutritionist, it’s probably not going to be beneficial to you at all. The campaign is hugely successful, and her petition (which is available to sign in the I-weigh Instagram page) has reached over 160,000 signatures. It is so important to surround yourself with positive role models like Jameela Jamil, who encourages women to celebrate themselves for who they are, not who they think they should be like.
One of the biggest female accounts online currently is Jameela Jamil’s campaign, I Weigh. Her campaign asks people to weigh what they love about themselves, taking the focus away from a woman’s weight or appearance to internal strengths, like their sense of humour or smarts. This encourages women to celebrate themselves and not let themselves be purely defined or judged for their external appearance. It is such an empowering account, and definitely worth a follow. Even if you don’t want to post your own picture saying what you love about yourself, seeing such a variety of women loving themselves for who they are is pretty freeing.
Some other accounts that encourage body positivity over social media include The Slumflower, who started the hashtag #SaggyBoobsMatter, encouraging women to be proud of the way they look. Another is Girls at Library (GAL), supporting intellectually savvy women who read. Ladies Get Paid is another account that empowers women, but takes it a step further by offering ideas you need to take charge of your work and life. Rupi Kaur is a poet and she knows it. She’s also an artist, photographer, and most importantly, a feminist. Her poems discuss everything from love to loss, and seeing her poems scroll onto your screen can light up any day. Feministabolous not only provides us with one of the greatest Instagram names ever, it effortlessly trolls, roasts and memes everyday life in a very empowering way. The last account I’m going to suggest is Female Collective, and they do exactly what their name suggests; they celebrate women as a collective. This page is all about intersectionality, self-love and loving one another.
It’s not about living without social media. It’s about surrounding yourself with social media that lets you be your best self.