Stay Healthy

Instagram’s body positive community and mental health

Social media and self-esteem don’t always go hand in hand.  Looking at the likes of Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner on Instagram whilst sprawled on the couch wearing an old t shirt and pyjama pants.

However, venturing into Instagram’s body positive community is an entirely different experience. Instead of the usual thin, conventionally attractive archetype of the ‘Intsagram model.’ We see regular women injecting realism into a world of image-altering apps, flawless figures and detox teas.

Urban dictionary defined ‘body positivity as ‘Accepting your body as it is and attempting to make everyone else feel comfortable in their own skin as well.’

While this definition is simplistic, it perfectly encapsulates the ‘body-positive’ community. The body-positive community (or bopo- for short.) consists of a bunch of ladies happy in their skin,

We are told to buy products to fix problems we don’t have. We’ve all seen stretch mark oil, cellulite cream or dodgy looking weight loss shakes. The women of the body-positive community are openly defying this by telling us that we are good enough exactly how we are.

Not only this, but they’re not all talk. They post photos of what would normally be embarrassing or ugly. We see fat rolls, cellulite, big hips and thighs. Seeing others proudly baring their ‘worst’ parts on Instagram, can suddenly make looking in the mirror less daunting.

Many members of instagram’s body positive community come from pasts littered with eating disorders. This means that their acts of self-love are not simply a fun little Instagram post, but a means of survival. This also reigns true for their followers who may also suffer from eating disorders.

Sadly, even within discussions on mental health, eating disorders are grossly misrepresented. Many still see eating disorders as ‘diet gone wrong’ and something that is easily fixed with simple feeding. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Eating disorders are a mental illness like any other, and many sufferers never fully recover.

To chastise body positive role models for the way they look is prioritising physical health over mental health. In spite of the fact that an eating disorder can kill you faster being overweight can.
I’ve found when I look in the mirror now, I critique less, and smile more. Life is simply too short to spend agonising over the body you were born with.

Over the festive season, I ask you to indulge yourself in a little bit of self-love. Follow some bopo accounts, my favourites are Project heal,  Joanna Thangiah, bodyposipanda, effyourbeautystandards,  donthatetheshake and Whitney Way Thore.

Have a good week and don’t forget to be kind to yourself.