Falling into a black hole of binge watching suggested YouTube videos makes up about half of my week, so I've managed to come across my fair share of body positive videos in that time. And that isn't a complaint! In between drag queen make-up tutorials and Game of Thrones fan theories, a seven minute fat activism vlog is a nice contrast (and another little reminder to love myself). The existence of such a strong and varied online community dedicated to body positivity really warms my heart.
Often, these videos don't just go through the basics of fat acceptance, body positivity or self love but track through people's personal experiences with these issues. Or better yet, delve deeper into the complexities of these issues. Why does society hate fat people? Why is it so hard to unlearn society's beauty standards? It's way easier to watch one of my peers explain their views on it — slang galore — than slog my way through and academic essay. Even just watching a plus size clothes roundup can make me feel better, but this selection are the videos not just focused on celebrating body positivity, but analyzing it too.
1. "The Body Positive: This Is Beauty"
Can you believe this is just a trailer for a series and not a body positive revolution in itself? This video tracks through different individuals' perceptions of beauty. It makes us question what society would lead us to believe is the norm, because if all these people have such different views it would appear that beauty standards are completely arbitrary.
2. "Diet Industry Dropout / Reality Check"
The message of this video rings too true. Growing up as a fat kid in a fat family, dieting was just a fact of life. Watching my mom try every "trick" available (to no avail) has made me realize that diet plans and schemes are about making money, not making people happy.
3. "Being Body Positive & Confidence"
Alva Jay's channel is typically a makeup tutorial channel but she felt so compelled by this issue that she had to make a vlog about it. Jay takes us through through her experiences as a teenager and an adult of being in between — not the thinnest girl ever, but not the thickest either — and her honesty is totally refreshing. She admits to having off days, which is something that could stand to be recognized more in the body positive community.
4. The "What's Underneath" Series
This series is entirely about body positivity in almost every form, instead of just focusing on fat acceptance (although that's also been explored). The series tracks through almost every "difference" out there and through their interviews, humanising the people behind these perceived flaws.
5. "Hate The Donut, Not The Fatty"
Meghan Tonjes made headlines this July with her vlog that explores the obsession with health and overweight people, as many who try to take down plus sizers do so under the guise of worrying about "health" and the obesity epidemic — while never questioning the lifestyles of thinner counterparts. Tonjes attacks the assumption that thin people are automatically healthier than fat people.
6. "Stripping Away Negative Body Image, Lillian Bustle For TEDx"
The TEDx series explains diverse societal issues in front of live audiences, but you can currently stream episodes on Netflix as well. Although there are several TED Talks that discuss body positivity — take Ashley Graham's plus size piece for instance — Lillian Bustle's is my personal favorite.
7. "Why Fat Girls Shouldn't Wear Bikinis"
Loey Lane has over half a million YouTube subscribers thanks to her honest and refreshing videos that tackle fat acceptance and body positivity. In this video, she pushes back against the comments that the public make about fat women wearing bikinis, all while sporting her own fabulous two piece.
8. "'Good' Fatty & 'Bad' Fatty / 'Acceptable Fat'"
Tati Ana Mercedes is one of my favourite vloggers of all time. She speaks with a casual calm that makes you feel like you could just be chatting with a friend, while exploring and debating many different forms of systematic oppression. This video in particular attacks the binary of a "good" fat person — a person who leads a "healthy" lifestyle and just happens to be fat — versus the "bad" fat person — who sits on the sofa chugging milkshakes and doing nothing. The issue is one that many in the fat community struggle with and one that I've personally taken offense with. If my thin roommate can stay in bed all day smoking weed and eating Chinese takeaway, why am I not allowed to join her without feeling guilt?
9. "Fat Dancer: Campaigning For Body Positivity"
I love this video because it isn't just a straight up vlog explaining and exploring ideas, but a physical performance that smashes fat stereotypes. Whitney Thore is a viral internet star for her dancing as well as a fat activist. By taking part in this video, she hopes to destigmatize the word "fat" and prove that anything you can do, we can do too.
For every one of the videos that I've chosen to represent online body positivity, there are a million more that might explain it in a way that appeals to you. Hopefully, though, these varied videos will help kickstart (or re-kickstart) your journey to body positivity and self love that little bit more.