Social media can be an unhealthy place, there’s no argument there. While body positive Instagrammers are making important inroads into how we view and talk about bodies, much of your feed may still be filled with images of unrealistic, glamorized lives of influencers and friends, which can take a toll on your mental health. The constant stream of updates and news can make you feel like you’re in a never-ending state of FOMO. And, even worse, bullying through social media is a problem for many people, especially those in marginalized communities.
But social media isn’t always bad—it’s also an incredibly useful tool to connect with people who share similar experiences as well as a way to open your eyes to someone else’s perspective. It can be a way to find real-life friends, express yourself, and find a source of infinite inspiration. The key is applying a different kind of filter—one that enables you to sort through the stuff that makes you feel good and the stuff that simply doesn’t.
SELF cover star Tess Holliday has become a pro in this arena. The plus-size model, designer, author, and fat positivity activist is no stranger to trolls and haters. When she decided enough was enough, however, she began to use social media in a totally different way. Instagram became her community—a way to selectively connect with people whose missions were in line with hers.
“Basically anything that I [was] going through in regards to my size, I could find somebody,” Holliday told writer Ashley C. Ford during the interview for our cover story. Now she wants others to know about the wealth of online resources that exist for them, too. “It makes me sad to hear that there are people that don’t have the knowledge about so many amazing people that could make their lives better just by literally following them,” she says.
We asked Holliday to elaborate on that. So here are 10 Instagram accounts she recommends to anyone looking for a much-needed feed refresh.
1. Eff Your Beauty Standards (
I am here for this entire CAPTION mi amor. The realness, the eloquence 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 – @thesassytruth_ #Repost @reneicespieces ・・・ Nearly every time I “dare” to exercise in a sports bra in public I get disapproving looks from passers by. So many people believe smaller bodies are the only ones allowed to dress comfortably or be proudly displayed. It’s a belief that’s dripping in misogyny and fat phobia, and quite frankly one I’m very very tired of. Decided to give them a reason to look harder this time. 😉 No matter your size you deserve to be happy in and about your body. You aren’t beholden to any societally restrictive dress-codes, especially those based in shame, and anyone who feels entitled to oppress you is dead wrong. Tell them girl bye and keep it moving 💁🏾♀️ Oh, and in case anyone hasn’t said so yet, you look cute af today. #effyourbeautystandards
A post shared by EFF YOUR BEAUTY STANDARDS ™(@effyourbeautystandards) on May 27, 2018 at 7:50pm PDT
Holliday created the #effyourbeautystandards hashtag after getting sick of trolls insisting she had to dress a certain way because of her size. The hashtag (and account) encourages people of all sizes to proudly share body positive photos.
2. Enam Asiama (
*me smiling as I watch brands use fat femmes like me for their moodboards and project briefs and then either never reach out to us or reach out offering little to none of what our asking rate is…and then they watch as there is a fading silence into new influencer’s DMs and I’m sipping my extra sweet iced tea whilst Marvin Gaye -Mercy Mercy Me plays and I’m two stepping with my principles, dignity and demands that #blacklivesmatter and fat bodies exist and are deserving of the same efforts put into promoting any type of model/influencer/brand…because size 10 models don’t get “size inclusive project” emails* 👾👾 – #ewurajaja #summer #spring #psootd #psblogger #fatgirljoy #fatgirlmagic #bodypositive #curvygirlsrock #blacknatural #plussize #plussizemodel #model #BlackGirlMagic #photography #beauty #makeup #accessories #ghanaian #African #universiodamaquiagem_oficial
A post shared by Enam Asiama(@enamasiama) on Jun 24, 2018 at 3:07am PDT
Asiama is a queer model and advocate who serves fashion inspo, wise bits of intersectional feminism, and honest reviews of plus-sized clothing in equal volume.
3. Rosey Blair (
I JUST LOVE THIS DRESS, OKAY? • • • • • #psootd #psblogger #fatshion #plussizeblogger #psfashion #celebratemysize #goldenconfidence #plussizefashion #plusmodelmag #plussizestyle #psstyle #curvyfashion #fullfiguredfashion #fashionforwardplus #fullfigured #effyourbeautystandards #plusfashion #tcfstyle #plusisequal #honormycurves #psbloggers #alternativecurves #bigandblunt #plussize #boldncurvy #stylehasnosize #mystylishcurves #fatshionista #plus_isamust #plussizefashionista
A post shared by Rosey ❤(@roseybeeme) on Jun 14, 2018 at 12:05pm PDT
Blair is a blogger, actress, and photographer who redefines what it means to be an influencer. Check her out for her impeccably styled outfits and travel destinations you’ll envy.
4. Ericka Hart, M.Ed. (
Leading two consent workshops at @bonnaroo was easily one of my most challenging gigs. I had the job of getting sleepy/sleeping- hungover-still potentially inebriated- waiting for their favorite performer to start – people’s attention when you are not the musical talent. Grateful for my training to get folks engaged under any circumstance as this experience was unforgettable! (It’s also a little hard to ignore the person leading the consent workshop wearing overalls that expose their double mastectomy scars! 🙌🏿✊🏾) Yesterday, we talked about why consent workshops are not mandatory at a music festival (or anywhere large amounts of people are congregating). We talked about the impacts when this conversation is optional and far too often completely excluded due to abstinence- only education. Since, we live in a country that lives in a state of outrage about sexual violence increasing, but doesn’t make comprehensive sex education mandatory and accessible, Here are a few things to remember regarding consent: 1. Consider and shift how you relate to bodies that are not your own 2. Although they are in large numbers, cisgender men are not the only perpetrators of sexual assault. 3. Just because a space is affirming of all gender identities or excludes cisgender men doesn’t mean sexual assault will not happen 4. Your queer identity doesn’t protect you nor does it mean you are off the hook to have consent convos 5. Consent is necessary in every single interaction 6. Learn and practice Planned Parenthood’s acronym, F.R.I.E.S Thank you @bonnaroo for beginning what I hope will now become a mandatory trend! Thank you to the folks I got to meet this weekend and who attended the workshops! And I’m so so honored to have my honey/Baby/turtle/burrito, Ebony, by my side through it all. Which music festival is next? I’m ready! #sexed #consent #bonnaroo #bonnaroo18 #sexedinthesouth
A post shared by Ericka Hart, M.Ed.(@ihartericka) on Jun 11, 2018 at 8:17am PDT
Hart is a sex educator, writer, breast cancer survivor, and queer activist who candidly explores her body on Instagram.
5. Jessamyn Stanley (
Jumping back is a spotlight on my attachment to fear and I am grateful. I am scared and I am grateful. I am grateful I can admit that I am scared. Scared of my own shadow. Scared of the dark. Scared of not knowing. Who am I without the fear. Who am I when I do not know. What can I offer. Who am I. I do not know. And I can just gaze at the truth, without sadness and anger, and maybe one day I’ll love the uncertainty. Maybe. But even if I never love the uncertainty and I continue to lust over fear, that’ll be ok too. #yoga #chaturanga
A post shared by Jessamyn(@mynameisjessamyn) on May 13, 2018 at 7:42pm PDT
Stanley is a yoga teacher, fat positivity advocate, entrepreneur, and author of Every Body Yoga. Her teaching style focuses on self-love and body liberation, reminding everyone that there are no boundaries as to who can find joy indownward dog.
6. Marquis Neal (
🚫 coming into black friday like…🚫#marquimode . . . . . . . . . . . #buzzfeed #motheragent #fashion #plussize #plussizemale #fatshion #streetstyle #queer #scoutmetrue #brooklyn #manhattan #newyork #bodypositive #wiw #asseenonme #effyourbeautystandards #andigetdressed #ootd #personalstyle #menswear #brawn #plussizefashion #immmakeitbig #bear #fashiondiaries #makemeamuse #Celebratemysize #WLYG #thelookout
A post shared by 💅🏽 Marquis Neal 💅🏽(@marquimode) on Nov 24, 2017 at 7:41am PST
Neal is a self-described femme queer boy who shares his high-fashion photoshoots and body positive messages on Instagram.
7. Shay Neary (
Yesterday was so needed… and I relished in every second of it. . #takingmetime #selfcare #selfpreservation #mentalhealth #summer #beachbody #plussize #plussizeswim #swimsuit #transmodel #plusmodel #torridinsider #ts #nbc
A post shared by Shay Neary(@watchshayslay) on Jun 10, 2018 at 7:33am PDT
Neary is a Brooklyn-based trans plus-size model. Her account is a collection of hilarious real-life candids and raw, beautiful portraits.
8. Kaguya (
A post shared by *☆* Kaguya *☆*(@p.s.kaguya) on May 21, 2018 at 1:11pm PDT
Kaguya (one of the @effyourbeautystandards admins) is a self-described artist, model, and “body positivity babe” representing curvy Asians everywhere.
9. Brianne Huntsman (
A post shared by Brianne Huntsman 🏹(@the_huntswoman) on Sep 12, 2017 at 6:35am PDT
Huntsman is a go-getting businesswoman who isn’t afraid to use the word “bitch.” Her account is full of hot takes on tricky topics, educating followers and constantly pushing the queer, plus-sized conversation forward.
10. Stacey (
a tall glass of peach schnapps 🍑✨ i’m back from hiatus. today was so weird but this concept was cute. lips are @shaefaceandbody faith with a bit of red in the center and @fentybeauty gloss on top and shadows are from the @hudabeauty electric obsessions palette
A post shared by stacey(@hantisedeloubli) on Dec 13, 2017 at 5:56pm PST
There are no bounds to what fashion blogger Stacey can do with her makeup. She flawlessly pulls off a face of gold glitter, rainbows on her cheekbones, and just about every shade of neon. Check out her account for major beauty and fashion inspo.