9 Body Positive Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following

For your daily reminder that you are great just as you are.

January sucks. It’s dark, it’s cold, and everyone on your Instagram feed is bragging about their heroic efforts to eat quinoa and not drink alcohol. Sticking to New Year’s Resolutions is great, but for many people this time of year is one that comes loaded with body-shaming. The idea that the New Year should mean a “new you” is one that can be more negative than positive — sometimes, you don’t need a “new you.” You’re probably just fine as you are. Here’s nine joy-filled Instagram accounts you should be following if you need a daily reminder that there’s no shame in loving the way you look.

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1. Jessamyn Stanley

A photo posted by Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn) on

Jessamyn Stanley is a yoga teacher and body positivity advocate based in North Carolina. Her feed is a treasure trove of elegant fitness inspiration that’s free from guilt trips, and peppered with her no-bullshit political takes. She wrote in one recent post, “Frankly, I just want to live in a world where plus sized women are not afraid of their own bodies. That’s it.”

2. Ericka Hart

In 2014, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Ericka Hart had a double mastectomy, followed by reconstructive surgery. When her surgeon informed her that there were no reference images for reconstruction scars on black women, she decided that she wasn’t going to be invisible. She attended Afropunk topless in 2016, and has since amassed a huge following on Instagram, where she emphasizes: “I am here to take up space. Eff respectability politics. Eff patriarchy. Eff censorship on Femme bodies.”

3. Gabi Fresh

A photo posted by Gabi Gregg (@gabifresh) on

Style blogger Gabi Fresh has been blogging about breaking fashion rules since 2008, and designing lines of swimwear for plus-size women since 2014. This January, she’s launched her latest swimsuit collection with the affirmation #NewYearSameYou, which has been a refreshing break from all of Instagram’s virtue signaling.

4. Frances Cannon

Melbourne-based artist Frances Cannon started a worldwide movement when she got the words “SELF LOVE CLUB” tattooed on her arm in early 2016. Since then, hundreds more women have had the same words tattooed, and Cannon has drawn up a list of rules for the “club” (e.g., “You must be kind to your body, and you must take care of your mental health”). Follow her on Instagram to see regrams of people who have joined the self love club, alongside Cannon’s body positive illustrations, and deeply personal captions about how to treat yourself gently when dealing with depression or anxiety.

5. Ladyist

A photo posted by Ashley Armitage (@ladyist) on

“I think the female gaze shows other females in a more authentic way than the male gaze.” So says Seattle-based photographer Ashley Armitage, who documents her photography of women under the handle @ladyist. Her subjects vary widely, but Armitage’s delicate portraits all have one thing in common: sheer adoration of female bodies, in all forms.

6. Leo Sheng

A photo posted by Leo Sheng (@isupersheng) on

Leo Sheng was the first person Miley Cyrus profiled in her #InstaPride series in 2015, and has since amassed a following of his own for his inspirational, feel-good posts. As a trans man, Sheng highlights the ways in which trans folk have a different — and difficult — relationship to body positivity, and celebrates his own relationship with self-love with smiley, chiseled selfies.

7. The SlumFlower

A photo posted by Chidera (@theslumflower) on

This 22-year-old Londoner is on a mission to inspire black girls to love themselves. As she writes on her bright and beautiful style blog, “I love my tight, 'nappy' hair. I love my dark upper lip. I love my blackness. But sadly, this world doesn't want me to adore me.” Her ‘gram is filled with loving selfies and self-affirmations like “don’t let ‘em tell you how to love YOU.”

8. Paloma Elsesser

A photo posted by Paloma Elsesser (@palomija) on

“This body is whole, honest, unforgiving, and unabashed by the power it wields,” wrote Paloma Elsesser on an Instagram post from her shoot with body positive lingerie line Lonely in 2016. Elsesser is a New York-based model who is seriously outspoken about the tokenism and stereotyping that women (especially WOC) in her profession face; her ‘gram also happens to be a bottomless well of laid-back fashion inspiration.

9. Philomena Kwao

As one of the stars of the upcoming body image documentary Straight/Curve, and the founder of anti-skin-bleaching charitable initiative The Lily Project, Philomena Kwao is a British-Ghanaian model who’s standing up to oppressive fashion industry norms from the inside. She also regularly reminds her Instagram followers of the importance of self-acceptance. “We all have down days, and honestly that is okay,” she recently told i-D. “But it's not okay to not be your own best friend and cheerleader.”

January 19, 2017
9 Body Positive Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following