So, you’ve probably seen or heard the phrase “body positivity” floating around a lot lately. But what does it mean, and are you excluded if you aren’t ‘plus-size’? 

Body positivity is unlearning the idea that only certain bodies and physical appearances are worth acceptance and praise, and instead recognizing that all bodies are equally valuable. It’s about looking within and deciding what feels good and healthy for yourself. It’s about allowing others to do the same and understand that you deserve to live in your own body without prejudice from others. 

Listen: We’re all humans, and we’ve all been affected by the world around us. World media struggles with the concept & can often get it wrong, but it’s great to see magazines like Seventeen agree to stop airbrushing models and Women’s Health vow to ban “drop two sizes” and “bikini body” from its cover titles.

All you can do is try to be kind to yourself, recognise that the ideal of ‘perfection’ is unrealistic & that nobody can achieve it. If you’re feeling like you need a bit of a pick-me-up, we’ve rounded up our favourite South African Instagram babes who are rocking the body-positive messages.

1. Lesego “Thickleeyonce” Legobane

Thickleeyonce, who was one of the celebs who stripped down for the Marie Claire naked issue penned a letter about body positivity.

“Dear body, I cannot believe there was a time I disliked you and felt uncomfortable with how you looked…I cannot believe how I mistreated you and let society condition me into believing you were not worthy.”

Lesego has been a voice for ‘fat girls’ worldwide. Advocating complete self-love and standing up to the haters, making waves within the modelling world, walking the runway for Woolworths and working with international brands like Calvin Klein & more.

 

2. Kgothi “Iman” Dithebe

Embracing her African roots & a distinct birth mark, Iman is body positive #goals! Using her platform and modelling career, Iman is redefining beauty standards in South Africa. 

“Dear women… All shades are beautiful, your flaws, your imperfections, your scars. Beauty is not one shade! Or a fair skin. Never let society try to define you because by being yourself you are bringing something that was never there before! So next time you think of something beautiful don’t forget to count yourself💕. #modelwithamark”

 

 

3. Alex Beazley

Alex’s relatable approach to getting healthier and more confident in your own abilities has helped many who were tired os saying “I’ll start on Monday”. She aims to help change the lives of women all over the world by creating a platform that is diverse, encouraging, informative, honest and mostly relatable.

“Chubby girls club ❤️😂 For those of you that don’t know, humans aren’t the only ones who struggle with their weight. My cat Maggie, sadly doesn’t have a ”I’m full” function 😂😭 yes it’s funny and cute but far from healthy…it knocks off 3 years of their lives if it’s not sorted out quickly 💔 so here’s to getting fit and cute together 😂🙌🏽 #lifesapeach”

 

 

4. Michelle Mosalakae

Breaking stigmatism attached to Albanism, rising star, Michelle is tearing down barriers in her industry becoming Revlon’s first ambassador with Albanism! Her partnership with Kotox and the #periodornotshecan campaign is empowering women across the country to embrace their feminine power & pride. 

“Never apologize for being phenomenal! We are mothers, teachers, CEO’s, artists, innovators, we are leaders, and every great leader has shed blood, there is no shame. There is no shame in being in pain (take care of yourself), there is no shame in needing to be alone, there is no shame in being a work of art!”

 

 

5. Claire Vögeli

Enjoying every aspect of life & loving herself for it, Claire shows us that we can love our bodies nomatter where we find ourselves. As a mentor with the South African College of Applied Psychology, we’re more than confident her influence will have a ripple effect.

“The way I see it, a woman’s body is not one of those cookie cutter, ginger bread man silhouettes. There is NO one size fits all. The way I see it, a woman’s body is a force of nature. A million seasons in one. Bumps and curves like a rough cut diamond. I see these “imperfections” as quirks and that your body is made to be 1 of a kind.”

Body positivity is about working toward a world where everyone can live in their bodies as they please while receiving the same respect, representation, and opportunities as everyone else. So explore why you feel the way you do about your body, decide based on those factors what the correct decisions are for you, and be kind and empathetic toward other bodies.