The growing popularity of the
body positivity movement has been, without a doubt, a great step forward. Learning to appreciate your body for what it is positively impacts your self-esteem and mental health, and it's so important, especially for women and nonbinary people who face higher rates of mental health issues than men. Social media has played a huge role in the development of the body positivity movement, providing a platform for countless amazing body positivity activists who are proving that people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities are beautiful.
Although body positivity urges acceptance of all kinds of bodies, the movement still has room for improvement. Notably, people with disabilities, who through inaccessibility and lack of representation are often made to feel "other" by non-disabled folks, feel as though they not been
represented in the mainstream body positivity movement. According to the National Service Inclusion project, an estimated 48.9 million Americans have disabilities, visible and invisible, and although we have made strides toward accessibility for people with all levels of ability, disability is still something that so many people don't talk about.
More media representation of people with disabilities is crucial for expanding perception of what a body looks like, and that includes social media representation. Uplifting body positivity advocates with disabilities online allows them to share their unique perspectives and raise issues that able-bodied people may not otherwise consider. Visibility also promotes acceptance, which helps get rid of the
stigma of disability. These ten incredible body positivity advocates with disabilities are sharing their lives and passions with their Instagram followers. Do yourself a favor and go follow them . 1 Kat Hawkins (@amputee_kat)
After her double amputation, Kat (
@amputee_kat) tried to hide her disability. She writes in one caption, "I was sad and scared and hadn't come to terms with my own body and how it had changed. I just wanted it to go back, back, back please to when I had legs and didn't need to pretend I wasn't disabled." Through her account, she chronicles her process toward accepting her disability and gives her nearly 8,000 followers a peek at her loves of dancing and filmmaking. 2 Tiffany Yu (@imtiffanyyu)
@imtiffanyyu) is the founder of Diversability, an organization dedicated to bringing unity and empowerment to people with disabilities through community-building events all across the country. She travels constantly, so her account features some stunning landscapes along with insightful comments on everything from disability inclusion in the tech world, to mental health awareness. 3 Mama Cāx (@mamacaxxx)
Mama Cāx (
@mamacaxxx) is a model, speaker, and writer. She's written some great pieces, about her experiences modeling as a woman with a disability, like this one for , and numerous posts for her Glamour blog about everything from her journey to self-love, to insights on dating as a woman with a disability. 4 Imogen's Body Lovin' (@the_feeding_of_the_fox)
Imogen's account (
@the_feeding_of_the_fox) reads like a diary entries about her struggle with an eating disorder and her path toward body acceptance. "When I talk about life as a disabled person, I’m not telling you explicitly about how my body works differently (or doesn’t work at all!), I’m trying to educate you on how little my body matters," she writes in one Instagram caption. "The world around us and the attitudes of the people we share that world with are the problems that truly inhibit ‘us’ from being active and accessing what we chose. Be that education, work, relationships, or just some f*cking fun." 5 Sky Cubacub (@rebirthgarments)
@rebirthgarments) is the founder and designer behind Rebirth Garments, a line of handmade clothing for people of all genders, sizes, and abilities based out of Chicago. Their account shares some of Rebirth's coolest designs modeled by Sky and other models. Their account celebrates all bodies though their beautiful and creative clothing designs. 6 Rebekah Taussig (@sitting_pretty)
Rebekah's Instagram (
@sitting_pretty) is so ~aesthetic~, but she's also unafraid of talking about the hard stuff. "We are trained to see beauty in one kind of female form, and my body says, 'Let’s think again'," reads one of her captions. "Disability representation is reduced to inspiration or tragedy, and my daily experience says, 'Let’s blur these lines and make a mess.'" teacher? 7 Ruby Allegra (@rvbyallegra)
@rvbyallegra) is an Australian artist and speech pathology student whose experiences as a genderfluid person living with a disability showcase the importance of intersectionality in the body positivity movement, and whose art and sense of humor always inspire a smile. 8 Minerva (@spookyfatbabe)
One of my favorite things about Minerva's account (
@spookyfatbabe) and blog is not just her prowess with a makeup brush, but her unapologetic confidence. "Today, I feel the best I've felt in weeks, and want to take photographic evidence of my badassery- electrodes & wires be damned," she captioned the photo above. "No matter what issues my body has, I'm powerful and worthy of love & other good things. So are you." 9 Angel Giuffria (@aannggeellll)
Self-described "cyborg" Angel (
@aannggeellll) is an actor, and her captions are sure to give you a good laugh in a funny, self-effacing way. "Lemme know if you're in need of a bionic babysitter," she captioned a photo of her with an adorable baby. "Kids love shiny stuff. Working on getting a teething attachment, built-in cheerio dispenser, rattle insert & better water proofing for handling drool!" Whether it's working as a bionic babysitter, studying hard at grad school, or acting in films, Angel does it all. 10 Jessica Kellgren-Fozard (@jessicaoutofthecloset)
@jessicaoutofthecloset) classic retro style makes her an especially fun account to follow, but she also uses her social media presence to broach important subjects like dating as a lesbian with disabilities and what it's like to live with her disabilities, which don't get much mainstream attention.
An action as small as following these activists with disabilities on Instagram may seem inconsequential, but even just scrolling through social media and reading their perspectives is an act of listening and absorbing these experiences. Disability representation is important for people with and without disabilities. It allows people with disabilities to see fellow disabled folks not just surviving, but thriving, and encourages people without disabilities to consider a wider range of perspectives in their everyday lives. Small choices can lead to big changes, so start by listening — or in this case, following.