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We all know that social media can sometimes be a hectic and toxic place. Seeing images of perfect-looking people with edited features and unrealistic body shapes can make people feel worse about themselves.
However, the internet is not all doom and gloom; there is equally as much uplifting content from body-neutral and body-positive influencers that is helping make the internet a lighter place.
If you are wanting to make your social feed feel more positive, take a look at our list of influencers that you can follow to make your social media feeds a little brighter.
Body neutrality is about focusing on other aspects of your identity, avoiding discussing or showing off your body as a primary factor, while promoting neither strong feelings against or affirmations of your body so as not to alienate other people who may be different from you.
Body positivity is about promoting pride in your body and encouraging others to do the same, and is a way to identify and challenge aspects of your body that could be deemed as flawed.
Dr. Colleen Reichmann is a Philadelphia-based clinical psychologist who talks about body image, eating disorders and more on her Instagram account.
The posts by Reichmann are straightforward and honest. They serve as a gentle reminder to readers that it is okay to have food preferences that differ from others, and that it's okay to indulge in desserts, even if someone else in your life is "not eating sugar right now".
She also discusses raising small children, dealing with a family member who may have made damaging comments about weight, and the physical effects of pregnancy.
Dalina Soto, also known as Your Latina Nutritionist, is an anti-diet dietitian who encourages her followers to eat without guilt and embrace food with joy.
Her writing frequently challenges the notion that food from different cultures is unhealthy. She explains to readers how delicious different foods are and dispels misconceptions about diet culture cliches like "cheat day." She establishes a link between food and custom, ease, and enjoyment.
Importantly, Soto affirms the value of various body types and advises her followers that "maintaining a healthy weight should not be the final goal of healthy habits”.
Shira Rose is a licensed social worker, eating disorder therapist and body-positive style blogger. Her Instagram posts cover topics such as eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder.
In her posts, Rose frequently discusses how to end the stigma around obesity, how to recover from an eating disorder, and the damage the diet industry has done, all while instilling in the next generation the idea that people of all different body types are perfectly acceptable.
In one of her posts, Shira encourages people to be comfortable with recovering from eating disorders: “For those of you recovering into larger bodies, I see you and I’m with you. It’s so hard to accept your body in a world that tells you that your body needs to be fixed at every turn. But your body is fine. I am so damn proud of you for fighting for recovery despite the world we live in.”
American public speaker, model and proponent of body positivity Mik Zazon’s guiding principle is to normalise regular bodies, and to promote the freedom to "show up as you are."
Mik emphasises the beauty of genuine skin with acne, stretch marks, and cellulite while sharing a tonne of stunning photographs of her unaltered and unedited body.
Italian plus-size men's fashion enthusiast and body-positive content creator Riccardo Onorato, known as Guy Over Board, has an Instagram platform that showcases stunning images of his actual body and promotes self-love.
When Riccardo first started out as a fashion blogger, he discovered that many of the labels he would highlight did not fit him and many other plus-size bodies. He has since dedicated his platform to finding men's clothing that adapts to real bodies and does not compromise style or confidence, in order to change the way we perceive men's fashion.
Carly Findlay, an Australian author, lecturer and disability activist, is next on our list.
As a well-known Australian personality, Carly uses her platforms to discuss problems relating to diversity and disability in Australia, as well as the normalisation of disadvantaged bodies.
Carly was born with ichthyosis form erythroderma and Netherton's syndrome, two inherited skin conditions that are lifelong. Carly's skin and hair are also impacted by these disorders, which result in scale buildup, excessive dryness and redness.
In 2014, the Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards recognised Carly as one of Australia's most influential women. As a proud disabled woman, she has shared her experience and messages of acceptance on CNN, the ABC and SBS.
Model and National Eating Disorders Association spokesperson Ryan Sheldonpublishes articles discussing his own battle with binge eating disorder and body neutrality.
In one of his videos, Sheldon debunks videos about "getting a hot body" with his post that says: "Livin’ a hot boy summer just the way that I am, all my ‘imperfections’ and all. If you’re tired of others telling you what’s ‘imperfect’ about your body, can I get an amen."
This account is a must-follow to give the male perspective on the debilitating impacts of diet culture and the weight loss industry, since he is one of the few males who openly discusses body image.
We know how important it is to ensure that you feel safe and have a positive experience while using the internet. If you have any further questions about body image, take a look at some of our useful blog posts: