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#BoPo: Instagram against unattainable beauty standards | Maureen Good

Social media has in recent years become a tool for spreading messages and rallying like-minded people.

One cause to have taken centre-stage is that of unrealistic beauty standards, whereby women are expected to be both slim and curvy, sporting a natural look and wearing makeup, fashionable and trendy without being superficial – standards often leading to poor mental health and low self-esteem amongst young people.

Instagram in particular has become a battleground for this issue, as seen with the emergence of a plethora of body positive accounts promoting individual beauty and pushing for the de-linking of physical appearance and personal value. These accounts, generally run by women and non-binary people (although men are becoming increasingly present in this corner of the internet), aim to increase the visibility of bodies which do not conform to mainstream beauty ideals: bigger bodies, disabled bodies, etc. Furthermore, many #BoPo accounts prone body neutrality, i.e. a detachment from physical appearance so that it becomes a secondary concern and does not impact one's experience and enjoyment at any given time.

These accounts and the body positivity movement have become central to the lives of many women, who find solace in the example they set, and to whom they can relate, giving everyone a place to exist without shame or judgement. This side of Instagram goes against a growing concern that social media results in poor mental health – indeed, catering one’s feed to increase representation of various body types and getting rid of toxic images has helped many people in their self-love journeys.

Do you agree with body neutrality? Share why (or why not) in the comments!

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