Two Body Image Hashtags You NEED To Know About

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If you are a woman who has struggled with body image issues, which is now compounded by the excessive use of selfies on social media, then you know what a huge step it is to be able to rock a bikini or swimsuit in public without feeling shame or insecurities because you don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model.

And when you do post that all-important picture to your social media page, it can be very hurtful to read any negative or nasty comments about your appearance. Whoever you are, you are not alone. In fact there is a global community ready to support you, dear sister, and show you that the problem is with society, not your body.

The body positivity movement online is gaining full steam, because with the increased presence comes increased awareness about body image. Curvy girls are breaking down stigma surrounding the words “fat”, “obese”, “healthy” and “plus size”. Even celebs like Jennifer Lawrence have spoken openly about their disdain for the word fat, because it is essentially used as a form of dissent in our culture.

However, the body love community on social media is going one step further and saying it’s not about outlawing the word, it’s about taking back ownership and showing the world it’s ok to love yourself at any size. There are endless arguments about plus size or obese women promoting unhealthy lifestyles and bla bla bla. It’s such a limiting point of view. Health isn’t restricted to a size zero people! The book ‘Healthy at Any Size’ will tell you that.

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And regardless of whether someone is struggling with a health or weight issue, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to feel beautiful, and confidence in their body the way it is right now.

Two hashtags have been going viral lately: #fatkini and #losehatenotweight. The Fatkini hashtag has allowed larger woman to embrace their curves and not feel afraid to flaunt what they’ve got online. After all, if skinny girls in thongs can do it every day, why shouldn’t other body types be on display?

The image above was posted on plus size blogger Gabi Gregg’s instagram account, and it features her and other plus size fashion models including Robyn Lawley. Both Robyn and Gabi are swimsuit designers, and having these well known women as part of the movement gives it just that little bit of extra cred.

In case you were wondering, a fatkini is a term coined by the plus size community, and it simply means a bikini worn by a fat, plus-size or curvy woman.

“For years now more and more people have been pushing back against beauty norms regarding weight and pushing for a culture that celebrates and accepts bodies of all sizes. Often known as the fat activist movement, these folks organize to combat size-based discrimination, push back against the correlation between weight and health and more,” writes Miriam Zoia Perez over at Colorlines.

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The woman behind the #losehatenotweight hashtag is author and body image activist Virgie Tovar, who spoke to Yahoo Health about the importance of these hashtags beyond just another social media trend. She started the hashtag initially to create buzz around a camp of the same name she is launching in the fall.

“I feel it’s important and political to show people that a 250-pound woman can live a rich, happy life filled with tiramisu, winery visits, and cute outfits, without losing weight. It was quickly adopted by many on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook who are interested in changing the discussion of bodies, fat shaming, and dieting culture,” she said.

Her philosophy is that weight and happiness are not necessarily synonymous. She says a lot of people put their lives on hold thinking that if they lose weight then they will be able to feel fulfilled and happy.

“A lot of people lose weight because they believe that it will give them happiness, love, freedom. The truth is that weight loss will not give you those things. When you refuse to do what you love because you don’t like the way you look it’s called self-hatred. I believe that when you de-center self-hatred and weight loss as motivators and re-focus your energies toward what you actually want, you will be happy.”

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Virgie goes on to say how powerful a tool social media has been in creating a “tipping point” for women to own their body image. It has enabled communities to form all over the world where they take back the power from institutions such as fashion, advertising, the media and even diet industries and give themselves permission to love themselves.

Interestingly, Virgie thinks the majority of people who balk at the word “fat” are the same people who hate women, gay people and minorities.

“They see body love as a move toward people taking charge of their lives and choosing what they want to do, no matter what the culture says. A person who hates seeing a happy, liberated person wishes they had the strength to do that, but they are too entrenched or “bought in” to the way things are right now to see it as a beautiful thing. So they see it and they hate it. … People have invested a lot of time and a lot of resources into this game that says ‘thin wins.’ ”

In her observation she says the war on obesity in the US has enabled every person to wear a “fat police deputy badge”.

No matter what reason anyone has for spreading hate on social media toward other people’s bodies, it sure is exciting to see this group of women rise up and take a stand against the bullies. When you examine anger, hatred and jealousy, it usually stems from a place of insecurity. The more women can spread messages of positivity, acceptance, and create an environment where we don’t feel judged for being vulnerable, we will start to see a shift in the attitudes fostered by greedy industries looking to profit from our weaknesses.

To check out more of the pictures that have been shared in solidarity so far, you can search the hashtag, or click here to see a compilation. Here’s to more women loving their bodies and learning that happiness is not a number on a scale or a size on a label. And if you want to join the movement, upload your picture to your chosen social media platform, and use #fatkini & #losehatenotweight and bare that bikini-clad body with pride girlfriend!

Virgie-Tovar

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