Celebrities face a great deal of pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards. Their body shapes, and appearances are documented, scrutinized, and critiqued. Thankfully, there are some strong and powerful individuals who have become vocal about promoting self acceptance. Listed below are just a few of the celebrities that have been influential in promoting a healthy message when it comes to body image.
Demi Lovato has talked extensively about her struggles with eating disorders. She recounts that as a child she compulsively over-ate, then starved herself after being called fat at school by bullies. Demi speaks of the pressure that she felt to be perfect that contributed to her disorder. She states that she feels the most beautiful when she relaxes without makeup.
Ferne Cotton is a BBC television presenter who helped research and present a documentary titled The Truth About Online Anorexia. She has since been involved in promoting the message to young girls that they should try only to be themselves and love who they are.
Laverne Cox is another celebrity who is vocal about positive body image. The actress and producer puts an emphasis on allowing women to be themselves. Her message is that women should not allow the media to dictate to them who they should be, or tell them that their bodies are not right.
Lorde, recently shared unphotoshopped pictures of herself to remind her fans that “flaws are ok”. The pop singer then continued her campaign to prove to teenage girls that she is not perfect by posting selfies of her face covered in zit cream. Lorde has at least 1.3 million followers on Twitter, so she is in a good position to share positive body image messages.
Jennifer Lawrence is an inspiration for people who think that being an actress is only about being thin and not eating well. The star is very open about the disturbing number of actresses who present with eating disorders and has stated that she will never starve her body for an acting role. She is known for statements that strongly denounce the thin ideal. Jennifer has stated that she is always very aware that her actions and body weight will affect younger fans and has acted as a great role model for positive body image by looking after and loving her body. Jennifer Lawrence has also stated that if things like cigarettes are regulated due to the potential for harm to the younger generation, that fat-shaming should also be regulated.
Nina Dobrev has stated that she will never give up snacking or count calories. She also explains that limiting the food that you eat can damage your mood and make people grumpy.
Taylor Swift has admitted to suffering from negative body image issues. She has stated that once she realized that body image issues were normal, she was better able to become more self-accepting. She explains that reading the stories of other people who also felt inadequate helped her to understand that everyone can feel negative about themselves at times, and that learning to love herself just as she was would be the best long term solution.
Rihanna has spoken about the fashion industry being full of very thin women and how this negatively affects the body image of women over the world. She states that women should not allow the fashion industry to dictate to them what size to be. She has also stated that for most women and girls, size zero is not healthy or attractive and therefore should not be sought after. Rihanna urges girls not to feel pressure from the fashion industry to be thin.
Miley Cyrus was criticized for being full figured in 2011 and has since spoken out publicly about what she refers to as disruptive beauty standards. She has stated that she loves her body, and that by calling her overweight, critics are being a destructive force for the body image of women.
Prince Fielder is a baseball player for the Texas Rangers. He was featured on the front page of ESPN magazine and the picture (see below) was attacked on social media for being “plus-sized.” Prince spoke back about the negative comments his body received, saying that just because a person is big does not mean that they cannot be athletic. Despite the negative comments that Prince got on twitter, the general consensus has been that his was a bold and beautiful move by him towards body acceptance in the media.
Lena Dunham is the creator of and a star in “Girls” a series that takes a comedic look at the lives and experiences of a group of girls in their early twenties. Lena states that she has had to face her own insecurities about not being extremely thin and that she finds a range of women’s bodies to be beautiful and hopes that others do too. She thinks about her “body as a tool to do the stuff I need to do, but not the be all and end all of my existence.”
Khloe Kardashian is another celebrity who is very proud of her body despite struggling previously to accept her bodyweight. She states that she is learning how to love herself and not listen to the standards set by other people. Khloe has also stated that she does not think that you should ever criticize another person’s weight, and that a person’s weight does not define them.
Tyra Banks is a model who is proud of her curves and states that girls of all kinds can be beautiful as long as they are the shape that they are supposed to be naturally. Tyra has been an advocate for encouraging more diverse shapes in the fashion industry and urges girls to take a pledge to look in the mirror and find the unique beauty within.
Tess Munster, known professionally as Tess Holliday, was the first plus-sized model to sign with a major modeling agency. She also started an Instagram account, effyourbodystandards, to encourage women to celebrate their bodies, whatever their size, and to celebrate their unique appearance. Tess wants people to rethink traditional standards of beauty and hopes women will become more self-confident if they learn to accept themselves as they are.
Dascha Polanco is an actress on the show “Orange is the New Black.” She admits to struggling with her body image, and said that her own insecurities prevented her from acting when she was younger. She now works to combat stereotypes and help people be proud of who they are.
If you suffer from a negative body image it is important that you choose your role models wisely. The women listed above will help you to understand that everybody feels insecure about how they look at some point in their life, and that by supporting one another people can overcome their fears and better accept themselves. Collectively, they also illustrate that a range of bodies can be beautiful.
Written By Tabitha Farrar – 2014