It's been a milestone year for body positivity, with campaigns, hashtags, and celebrities coming forth to support the cause. Yet the now-popular movement has been preaching acceptance for years, primarily through the online community. And the blogger who arguably made the biggest splash in 2015 was Fat Girl Flow's Corissa Enneking. When I say "made a splash," I mean it literally. After making headlines for her slow-motion pool jump video that raised awareness for fat acceptance and body positivism, this blogger made a name for herself as one of the figureheads for body positive activism overall.
But the activism didn't begin or end with a video of one woman unapologetically enjoying her summer. Enneking has been blogging on Tumblr since 2012, but made the leap to her own website in April of this year. Her "We Exist" photo series celebrated a diverse range of fat bodies in bikinis. With an open casting call held on social media, Enneking made a call-out for folks who felt underrepresented in the body positive movement. The point was about spreading intersectional diversity through fatkini photos. When speaking to Bustle's Alysse Dalessandro in June, the blogger summarized the point of her project perfectly. "When someone doesn't see their body depicted in images in the media or even in their social circle or family, it is very isolating. Having exposure to bodies that look like your own helps to make people feel included and part of something."
When I spoke to Enneking about her body positive packed year via email, she cited the "We Exist" campaign as her favorite project of the year, primarily because she didn't actually mean for it to turn into a campaign. "It was summertime, and I kept seeing the same types of bodies represented in posts about fatkinis," she tells me. "My intent wasn't to create a 'campaign,' I just wanted to celebrate the people who have helped me learn how to be more inclusive."
That's not to say she sees her work being praised as activism as a negative. In fact, she is thrilled with the responses her diverse and inclusive fatkini list has amassed. "Suddenly everyone was calling it a 'campaign' and it was hitting all kinds of media outlets! It was really nice to have people respond so positively to something that meant so much to me," she says. The humility with which Enneking approaches her body positivity is probably what's so refreshing about it. She's not seeking praise or media attention. She's simply speaking her mind and trying to make the world that little bit more positive.
Even outside of her bigger projects and quest for body positivity, Enneking speaks about these political subjects on her blog constantly, even dedicating an entire portion to the movement. Perhaps most notably, Enneking helped thousands of people as soon as she launched Fat Girl Flow with a list of "Where To Shop For Plus Sizes 28 And Up." It was a list that was not just informative, but necessary for many women who are let down by the still-limited sizing choices of many plus size chains.
As for 2016, it would seem that Enneking is going to be continuing to do much of the same. Her work is important and now that she has built a grander platform for her voice, nothing's going to stop her from preaching the body positive lifestyle. Her wish list for 2016 is one we should all aspire to, IMO: "Representation and accessibility. More disabled bodies, people of color, trans people, queer people. Less obsessing over 'health' and the claims that people have to be healthy to be worthy of self love. A lot more discussion of how poverty affects body positivity and the accessibility of both the movement, and the tools people need to love themselves. We need to discuss the politics within the movement and the power structures that are at play."
"I think the body positive movement is on a really amazing path, and I'm excited that I get to be a part of it," she adds. And I have to agree. With Enneking's assistance, there's no doubt that the reminder that body positivity has always been political is one many of us will be carrying with us into the new year.
Images: Courtesy Corissa Enneking