Today, young women refuse to be labeled by archaic stereotypes; instead, they seek positive role models to find self-acceptance. Icons like Gloria Steinem advocate for both women’s rights externally and internally. Countless social media influencers aid in this journey for women of all ages as well. Social media can promote a positive environment for women to support one another in finding their self-love. It is our job as a community to take part in this ongoing movement.
Personally speaking, I had a self-image issue growing up and felt this dilemma involving social media and body image. I took a break from social media several years ago and began my ongoing process of self-love. However, when I returned to social media, I came across several influencers who promote self-love and self-appreciation, specifically regarding body image. In preparation of my return, I took it upon myself to research activists who promote a positive view of every type of body. Through my searches, I found that many young women face similar issues. An interview was conducted regarding this topic with two George Washington University students. “Influencers on Instagram, like Lizzo, discuss issues that often go unspoken about mental health and body positivity. They destigmatize these topics for me and help me with my journey of self-love” (Josie Libbon). “Instagram helps me feel more confident. By following different influencers, I have become comfortable posting who I am” (Ashley West). Although there are some negative aspects of social media, the positive elements overpower them.
Gloria Steinem and many other well-known activists have experienced similar scenarios. In the book, When Everything Changed, by Gail Collins, Ms. Steinem was quoted: “The part that’s hurtful is that having worked hard and continuing to work hard at 73, I still find accomplishments attributed to my appearance.” Steinem and others fight this awful commonality, and it is our job as women to keep fighting that. Our bodies do not play a part in our success because our bodies and success are separate. When these two subjects are intertwined, a negative view of bodies occurs; this must stop.
Lizzo is a perfect example of an influencer who advocates body positivity. Throughout her music career, she has impacted women around the world- forming a positive view of themselves. In the past, there was a negative view of women who did not fit the idea of the “perfect size.” As Lizzo and others say: every size is a perfect size as long as you feel healthy. All bodies are beautiful, and size does not determine that.
Another influencer who has challenged the narrow views of society is Harnaam Kaur. Harnaam’s primary focus regards gender stereotypes. She was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome at a young age, which causes excessive hair growth, among other characteristics. Growing up, she hated this part of herself because society did not deem it as perfect. After facing internal turmoil, she realized something regarding those who bullied her. During an interview with TeenVogue, Harnaam stated, “You allowed me to figure out my own worth, unleash power inside of me that I didn’t know I had, and you allowed me to rebuild myself into a much better and stronger person.” She promotes positive self-images and self-love, and the idea that one must accept and treasure their beauty from within. Through her social media pages, she advocates for her followers to embrace their journey with self-love.
Through their public pages, different activists and influencers promote self-love and appreciation, both internally and externally. This positive movement makes social media worthwhile and without these individuals, primarily younger girls, would only have the so-called “perfect girls” to look up to. For this reason, these women must make an appearance on each social media page and spread their message. Social media can be a positive tool when used wisely!
Feature image retrieved from Pinterest.