If you are a person who lives in a body, social media is probably not that friendly a place for you.
Research shows us that the more we scroll through Facebook the more worried about our bodies we become* and the picture-heavy Instagram depresses us into body dissatisfaction when we compare our bodies to all those thin ones we see on the screen**. Further, research yet to be published*** suggests that seeing all of these thin bodies actually warps your perception of what a normal body is – I’m not just talking about your beliefs or attitudes here – but your visual perception, meaning even if you consciously know the images are unrealistic you still unconsciously perceive them as the gold standard against which you measure your own body.
Now I said social media is not that friendly if you have a body. If your body happens to be a woman’s body, then it’s less like “unfriendly” and a bit more like the clique from Mean Girls. And if you are one of the large majority of women who can’t reach or maintain the size of a young girl into adulthood (without an eating disorder &/or exercise addiction) you can consider social media a bit like those two girls from The Shining.
But enough of the doom and gloom…
Because the times, they-are-a-changin’!
The face of social media is getting a makeover (ironic metaphor alert!)… and we want you to be a part of it. There is an entire movement of body-positive advocates from all walks of life who are changing the tone, narrative, and of course, imagery of social media – we call them the body-positive community! Social media is here to stay, but we believe we can turn it away from the dark-side and use it for the power of good. In my recent interview with Taryn Brumfitt, she shared her favourite body positive follows with me, and I also just finished comparing notes with my mate Lyndi Cohen about hers, so I thought it was time I share mine with you too. Here are my 7 favourite accounts to follow on Facebook and Instagram right now.
1. Taryn Brumfit
The Founder of the Body Image Movement, Taryn is on a global mission to end body dissatisfaction and help women rediscover joy in their bodies! Her posts (I especially love her Instagram stories) just make you feel really good.
Insta – @bodyimagemovement
Facebook – Body Image Movement
6. Healthy Size You
I love these girls. Two sisters, two healthy lifestyles, two different sizes. Seeing them side-by-side smashing life out of the park sends our brains a simple but powerful message!
Insta – @healthysizeyou
Think of these guys as an introduction into the world of body-positivity. In this world, you don’t have to look a certain way to fit in. In this world your eating habits are your choice and not a moral obligation. In this world you leave your body shame at the entry, freeing up limitless energy for zillion things that are just more important in life. Does this sound like a world you would like to live in? Your children to live in? All of us to live in? I’m here to tell you it’s one we can live in.***** The body positive community is being co-created by hundreds of thousands of people just like you and me as we speak. The question is…are you in?
Oh PS, I forgot about me! Okay, I’ll do myself one:
* Fardouly, J., & Vartanian, L. R. (2015) Negative comparisons about one’s appearance mediate the relationship between Facebook usage and body-image concerns. Body-Image, 12, 82 – 88.
**Tiggerman, M, & Zacardo, M. (2015) “Exercise to be fit, not skinny”: The effect of fitspiration imagery on women’s body-image. Body Image, 15, 61 – 67.
***I chaired the recent Eating Disorders & Obesity conference and a fascinating speaker, Associate Professor Kevin Brooks is doing amazing research into the distortion of our visual field by repeated exposure to thin-ideal images – it was very compelling and I’m looking to get him on my upcoming Podcast.
****And in this lifetime!
*****(Hey, it’s my email right 😂?