Body confidence is all about learning to love the body you have and feeling good in your skin. Believe me, I know how hard it can be to reach that level of self-confidence. From quietening your inner critic (I call mine Edna, she pops up at the worst of times and is pretty cruel) to ignoring societal pressures, it’s a long and on-going process. Fortunately, more and more beauty and fashion brands, as well as influential celebrities and musicians, are using their platforms to spread body confidence.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share the top five most empowering moments of 2020 so far to encourage you to be more body confident.
1. TikTok Champions Self-Love
If you’re not hooked to this new social platform yet, trust me, you will be soon! A network where users share short, often comedic videos, it has recently become a stage for self-love. Users have been sharing short clips of themselves alongside images of paintings, sculptures and other historical works of art to highlight that their perceived ‘flaws’ were once considered muse-worthy. The underlining message, of course, is that conventional beauty standards change from society to society, and that they are in fact incredibly beautiful.
Miranda Lauren (known as @molosal), for example, celebrates her curls in an empowering compilation. Whilst the video opens with her starting to straighten her, it then cuts to a range of portraits of curly-haired women. She writes: ‘It took me 19 years to fall in love with my curls, I wish it would’ve been sooner’. The post has received thousands of supportive comments and been watched more than 544 thousand times.
Similarly, Lila (known as @tiktokyoulater) celebrates her aqualine nose and its portrayal across time and cultures by superimposing images of women in profile. She states ‘aquiline/hooked noses are beautiful & a part of so many nations & cultures around the world and it would be an injustice if I hated mine like I used to’. I couldn’t agree more!
Social media can often be a negative place, as we compare ourselves to others, scroll through cruel comments and can’t help but judge those who we feel are judging us. So, I’m in full support of this new self-love trend and am so excited to see more and more women embrace the parts of themselves that once made them feel self-conscious.
2. ASOS Trialed Its ‘See My Fit’ Feature
ASOS have long been pioneers of the body confidence movement. They were one of the first brands to stop airbrushing out models’ stretch marks and cellulite, but now they have taken things one step further. The online retailer has become the first in Europe to trial a new feature that generates previews of what the same outfit looks like on different body shapes using Augmented Reality (AR).
Essentially, it allows you to see a simulated view of a product on the body type that most reflects yours (you can select from a range of heights and sizes). So, if you’re tired of shopping online and constantly seeing very similar body types that aren’t your own, and consequently struggling to imagine what the clothes will look like on you, then you are going to love their ‘See My Fit’ addition!
Whilst the feature has now been taken down following this initial trial, ASOS have announced that the official launch will include models that represent the full range of sizing available on their site. A step towards size inclusivity? There’s no doubt about it! I can’t wait for the final version to go live.
3. Olay Pledge To Stop Airbrushing Advert Campaigns
As you no doubt know, a lot of beauty brands have already band airbrushing from their campaign ads and now beauty giant Olay are doing the same!
You could argue that the anti-retouch movement started with Dove’s Real Beauty campaign back in 2004, but since then ASOS, Misguided and H&M (to name just a few) have all adopted the ‘real is beautiful’ mentality. Now, Olay joins their ranks after it pledged to no longer retouch its advertising materials. Earlier this year, the company introduced its ‘Skin Promise’ logo which will appear on adverts that haven’t been airbrushed. You should expect to see these on all Olay print, digital, TV and out-of-home ads from 2021 onwards.
To launch the new initiative, Olay debuted a print campaign featuring actress Busy Philipps. Speaking about beauty adverts, she said: “You want to see yourself reflected, you don’t want to see something that’s unattainable because that’s not real“.
For Olay to take this stand and say ‘we’re about skincare, we’re about having you feel your best and having you feel like your most confident self’ it’s a really big deal.
There’s no doubt about it, whilst we can all work hard on loving our own bodies, it is made so much easier when the beauty industry itself is telling us that we’re beautiful by choosing to use women that actually look like us in their ads. Admittedly, we need more and more brands to get on board, it’s great to see that the movement continues to gain support.
4. Billie Eilish Takes A Stand Against Body Shaming
The five-times Grammy award-winner and singing sensation regularly sports oversized clothing. In fact, it has become Billie Eilish’s staple look. Her decision to flaunt these clothes, though, isn’t just a choice. It’s also a statement. In an interview with Vogue Australia last year, she stated that her fashion choices ‘give nobody the opportunity to judge what my body looks like’.
The Bad Guys singer has since reemphasised this point on her tour by featuring a video where she addresses the idea of people judging each other’s bodies. In the clip, she slowly undresses as a powerful message about body shaming plays over the speakers:
“If I wear what is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I am a slut. Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why? You make assumptions about people based on their size. […] While I feel your stares, your disapproval, or your sigh of relief, if I lived by them, I’d never be able to move.”
Whilst Billie rarely shows off her curves, she has used her tour as a way to send a positive statement about body shaming: other people’s opinion about her body is their responsibility. She won’t let it affect her and others should try to ignore everyone else’s opinion too. You have to admit, it’s a pretty powerful proclamation.
5. Stacey Solomon Celebrates Her Post-Pregnancy Body
Two lovely ladies from the team here at Glossy HQ have recently had babies, so we’ve naturally been talking a lot about how carrying and caring for a child affects how you see your body.
Whilst I’ll be discussing this in more detail in a few weeks (stay tuned), in the meantime, I thought I’d remind all the Glossy mums out there of an inspiring post Stacey Solomon shared on Instagram at the start of the year.
Sat on the pool-side in a two-piece bikini, she poses with her seven-month-old son Rex, a beaming smile on both of their faces. The caption reads: ‘New year, same me. Because why change something that brought me the most happiness I could ever imagine […] Here’s to another year of loving our bodies no matter how hard society tries to stop us.’
Her message is clear: women’s bodies are incredible because they have the unique ability to bring life into the world – and how could you ever hate or punish a body that is capable of something as incredible as that?
What all of these brands and women are teaching us is this: your worth can’t be measured by the number on the scales. It’s okay to want to be fitter and leaner because it makes you healthier, but ignore the body shaming comments other people make and do your best to quieten the inner voice that tells you that your thighs are too big, your cellulite isn’t natural or your stretch marks are ugly. Basically, tell you inner Edna to pack her bags!
In 2020, I want to openly talk about issues that face every woman every day. This April, we’re talking all things body confidence. You can check out my interview with Lucy Mountain as we talk no-makeup selfies, body-positive messaging and finding a supportive community here. Stay tuned for more!