A few years ago I introduced a friend of mine to a larger group of friends. She could have just said, “Nice to meet you all” and left it at that but the first thing she said to the group was, “Libby helped me to love my body and I’m forever thankful for that.” I was brought to tears immediately. Not just because that was such a touching and disarming thing to hear–something I’d love to be remembered for. But because sometimes (and at that moment in particular), I am just not loving this body of mine. But I want to–so I work hard at it.
If there’s anything in this life that’s worth having, it’s worth working for. You’re never just going to wake up one day having dismantled all that your upbringing, culture, and expectations have constructed around you. I don’t care who you are–what your gender is, what your age is, what your body looks like, you have been told that some aspect of you is not good enough. It’s as inevitable as death and taxes. Some of you have had it whispered to you in a sliver of doubt in your mind–some of you have faced humiliation, discrimination and even violence because of it. But no one escapes it. Would you believe it if I told you that social media has been one of the key ingredients in building my confidence?
Body-love starts with body-acceptance and body-acceptance starts at normalizing normal bodies. Now, body positivity is very trendy right now and on one very, very large hand that’s awesome. But on another hand, when important things become very popular, they can become diluted. Lots of brands are out there advertising diversity and body love while still showing images of all the same types of people. And the reason that this doesn’t help is because it just creates a new normal–a new ideal. Just a different thing to strive for. But I don’t want a new normal. I want what exists right now to be normal.
Look, I’m not going to change the media and the way that they keep giving us new ideals to strive for. But I can change the media that I consume. So rather than waiting for Glamour to serve me up images of the types of people that I know and love, I’m going to seek them out for my own self and flood my own media channels with what I’m looking for. It’s 2017. You’re in control of a lot more than you ever were before.
I want to be more loving and accepting of my own body and I want to be more loving and accepting of other peoples’ bodies. So I flood my social media channels with images of people who look like me and people who do not at all look like (or maybe even live like, or think like) me and this has made such a huge difference in how I see myself and how I love others well, too. The following is a list of people that I follow to one degree or another. These are Instagram accounts but don’t forget to find these people on YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, etc to make sure that you don’t leave a gap. I hope you have so much fun finding new accounts to follow, finding new voices and perspectives to hear from, and finding new ways to see yourself as honorable.
Women who look like me (at least in one way or another):
@fatgirlflow (I especially like watching Corissa on YouTube because she often films videos with messy hair and a makeup free face and that makes me feel so much more acceptable in my greasy hair and pimply face), @meghantonjes, @hellabellafabulous, @allisonkimmey, @margotmeanie, @tessholiday
@lizzobeeating, @douxsarah (plus-size, hijab fashion? I’m so here for this.), @ihartericka
@shadeyshay, @ryancassata, @janetmock
@sitting_pretty, @rvbyallegra, @curvesbecomeher
@fatboyflow (yeah, so Nate is married to @fatgirlflow and they’re both broadening my horizons and cracking me up), @mattjosephdiaz, @titusssawthis
Etc. Body Positive Instagram Accounts:
@bodyposipanda, @bebody_positive, @cheyennegil, @themilitantbaker, @slaygirlsociety, @nolatrees, @donthatetheshake and a gazillion more who are ready and waiting to serve you up some sweet, sweet body normalization.
Are there any accounts that you’d like to add to this list? What about categories? Is there anything you’d like to see but are having trouble finding? I’ll look for it!
I think you’re great.