In the Golden Age of social media, the path to true self-confidence (or lack thereof) is a slippery one thanks to the relentless chasm of perfection and beauty ideals slathered across our cell phone screens. The unattainable beauty standards that often inundate our IG feeds in the way of (mostly) highly-edited images make it incredibly difficult to feel confident in one’s skin.
The overwhelming pressure to snap the perfect selfie coupled with the fear of how people will react (did it get enough “likes”?!) has propelled self-objectification, distorted body ideals, and fueled this absurd notion that we must look a certain way in order to be considered “beautiful.” In fact, a recent study out of Australia found a direct correlation between Instagram and negative body image among women 18 to 25 years of age. The results suggested that “Instagram usage may negatively influence women’s appearance-related concerns and beliefs.”
To make matters even worse, social media is rife with body shamers and trolls who take pleasure in throwing “shade” and criticisms at those who don’t fit the “conventional” beauty mould…whatever that is.
Thankfully, there are celebs out there that use their respective platforms to spread body-positive messages, encouraging their followers to revel in their own beauty and to not bow down to the critics. Here are a few celebs that are shattering “conventional” beauty standards—proving you’re beautiful, flaws and all.
Singer Tanerélle Stephen’s 2019 BET Awards outfit made headlines, not because of the actual outfit itself, but because of how her breasts looked in it. (!!!)
Trolls came out in droves to criticize the singer’s natural breasts, but she quickly slammed the naysayers and continually preaches the importance of self-love and empowerment. “What I care about is that there are women out there still allowing the male gaze to determine their worth and what they can and can’t do. This reminder of socialized minds in regards to a woman’s body always rocks me a bit, but it’s not gonna knock me down. It just intensifies my mission of self care and self love even more. You owe it to yourself to at least try to embrace the parts of you you don’t like because someone else said you shouldn’t.“
Queen of witty clap backs—model, author, and actress Chrissy Teigen has been an outspoken critic of ruthless online trolls on *many* occasions. Teigen has been especially vocal about the magazine industry’s penchant for airbrushing, saying: “I think it’s extra important right now to show a woman not wholly retouched. It’s becoming the norm for people to have this butt that’s been plucked and pulled, and these boobs from somewhere else. It’s not normal. I think it’s our responsibility as women to show our flaws and how we’re far from perfect.” And, despite her own insecurities, Teigen graced the cover of Women’s Health UK nude and without any retouching!
Following the birth of her second child, Teigen frequently posted about her stretch marks (which she refers to as “stretchies”) on social media, telling Refinery29: “People are so worried and so self-conscious of [stretch marks], but I’ve never seen a woman without them.”
Emmy Award-winning producer and actress well-known for her role as Sophia on Orange is the New Black, LGBTQ+ advocate Laverne Cox is a major source of body positive, self-love wisdom. As a trans woman of color, Cox has faced her fair share of negativity, especially on social media; however, she has gracefully navigated trolls and body shamers by being unapologetically herself.
An intersectional role model, Cox overcame her own fears to pose naked on Allure Magazine’s 2015 nude issue, explaining: “I said no initially, thought about it, and said no again. But I’m a black transgender woman. I felt this could be really powerful for the communities that I represent. Black women are not often told we’re beautiful unless we align with certain standards. Trans women certainly are not told we’re beautiful. Seeing a black transgender woman embracing and loving everything about herself might be inspiring to some other folks. There’s beauty in the things we think are imperfect. That sounds very cliché, but it’s true.”
Which body positive celebs are you most inspired by?