From Our Readers
June 24, 2015 6:15 am

Instagram is enormous. In the last five years, it’s become one of the go-to social media sites for sharing things and connecting with other people. It’s so pervasive that “Instagram-worthy” is now a way to describe things with a certain pleasing aesthetic. But it’s also, like all social media, a way to present a certain version of yourself. With filters and cropping and lighting, you can basically Photoshop yourself on the fly. Which is why it’s so important that we support women (and men!) on Instagram who are showcasing a more diverse set of users. Instagram is a great way to spread body positivity, and encourage a movement that’s accepting of people in every single form. Here are a few ways you can be body positive on Instagram.

Post a make-up free selfie

Makeup is awesome. It’s a cool way for women to express themselves and turn their own faces into works of art. But it shouldn’t be a requirement to go out in the world, either. It should be your choice to wear it, and not an automatic uniform. Which is why it’s heartening to see all the makeup-free selfies on Instagram. Even celebrities have joined in (hi, Tyra Banks! Hi Beyonce and Demi Lovato!). It’s inspiring to see the bare faces of women of all skin tones, and all skin types. It proves the beauty doesn’t depend on what you’re wearing on your face: It just plain is your face.

Follow accounts that showcase and encourage body diversity

We love the blogger behind @fullerfigurefullerbust, a UK style blogger who shows off clothes for curvy women, and Jessamyn Stanley, @mynameisjessamyn, a body positive yogi, but there are all kinds of great accounts out there. For inspirational quotes, try @positivebodyimage. There are a whole host of amazing accounts out there–just browse through #bodypositive or #effyourbeautystandards and be amazing. Spread the body love on your own account with it, too!

Your body + a swimsuit = the perfect beach body. Show it off

Bikinis aren’t just for swimsuit models. Posting a cute photo of you in your swimsuit is a great way to support body positivity—own your lovely self, and don’t apologize for it. Take the amazing supermodel Tess Holliday, who totally knows how to rock a swimsuit on Instagram, no matter what unrealistic beauty standards have to say about it. She’s a complete inspiration, no matter what your size.

Post kind, supportive comments when other people post photos of themselves

Hey, it’s scary out there, even for a body positive person. A simple “that looks great on you” really works wonders. If you see a friend showing themselves off, no reason not to throw them some love. Odds are that they’re going to throw it right back at you. And the more positivity you spread, the more likely other people are going to feel OK with expressing themselves. Really, it’s an all-win situation.

Olivia Burke is a sophomore in college with a passion for reading, writing, cooking, and all things related to fashion! You can find me her on TumblrTwitter, and on Youtube.

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[Images via Instagram]

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