The 15 Best Body Positive Moments of 2017
Beyonce's pregnancy announcement
Does being broadcast on screens around the globe wearing only a swimsuit sound like your worst nightmare? For these Olympians, who often compete in body-hugging attire, rocking serious body confidence is part of what helps them achieve their dreams.
Demi Lovato's sober anniversary
Demi Lovato has been open about her struggle with substance abuse and an eating disorder in the past, which makes this milestone even more sweet. She took to Instagram to share with followers that she's been sober for five whole years, which she credits in part to her newfound love of fitness.
"I'm so proud of myself but I couldn't have done it without my higher power (God), my family, friends, and everyone else who supported me," the singer wrote on March 15. "Feeling humbled and joyful today. Thank you guys for sticking by my side and believing in me."
Jessica Weber's loose skin realness
Weight-loss journey posts usually show idyllic before-and-after images of a once overweight woman now looking slim and toned. But Jessica Weber decided to use her Instagram account to make an important point about the reality of major weight loss. "I love myself in clothes and I love my tummy outside of clothes!! All about self love here ❤️❤️ it’s crazy what clothes can hide but make sure that you love yourself regardless!! I lost 190 pounds and this is my loose skin left over!" Weber wrote in one post.
Her reality-based posts clearly resonate with other women; she now has over 55,000 followers and has shared that she will undergo skin removal surgery in the coming months.
Jazzie Owens' beach snapshot
When Jazzie Owens shared a photo of herself in a bikini alongside her husband, the internet erupted into a body positive cheer. Owens, who totally owns her curvy figure explained how strange it can feel for her in-shape husband to love and appreciate her body. "How could a man who was 'born fit' love someone like me! I don't have a flat stomach, I jiggle when I walk, hell if I run up the stairs to fast my body claps (lmao)!! But now I see I do have the 'perfect' body!!"
Her celebration of her rolls and curves made women everywhere second-guess the idea that they have to look a certain way if they want to attract a great man.
Serena Williams' Vanity Fair cover
Tennis superstar Serena Williams is always slaying our lives, but she went above and beyond when she appeared nude, pregnant, and powerful as ever on the cover of Vanity Fair in August. Around the same time, news also broke that Williams had picked up her 23rd Grand Slam title back in January while she was 20 weeks pregnant—demonstrating that she is indeed a goddess among mere mortals.
Selena Gomez's kidney transplant
In September, Selena Gomez hit Instagram to tell her millions of followers why she'd been absent from the public eye. The reason? She needed a kidney transplant. The transplant was brought on by the autoimmune disease lupus, which she was previously diagnosed with. "It was what I needed to do for my overall health," she wrote of the procedure on Instagram. Gomez set a body-positive example by putting her own health first despite a busy schedule. She also shared how grateful she was to her friend and fellow actress Francia Raisa, who donated her kidney.
Cellulite body art
“Society sees these things as flaws, but they aren’t flaws—they are things in our bodies and we have to accept them,” she told People in an interview. “Because if we don’t accept them, we probably don’t accept our bodies and don’t accept ourselves.” She went on to paint other women's stretch marks as well as part of an overarching project.
RELATED: 15 Myths and Facts About Cellulite
SI Swim's bestie duo
In recent years, Sports Illustrated has recruited a more diverse group of women for its annual SI Swim issue. This year, the brand brought on the two best friends behind Any BODY, a project that aims to celebrate the beauty of different body types. Kate and Georgia, the Aussie women who launched the brand, show off swimsuits on two very different figures, proving that beauty can't defined in any one particular way.
Lane Bryant's latest campaign
Lane Bryant is always spot-on with its body positive campaigns, and this year was no different. Famous figures like Ashley Graham, Danielle Brooks, Denise Bidot, and Candice Huffine got in front of the camera to open up about their so-called flaws and normalize the idea that there's no such thing as a "perfect" body. "The truth is, my booty has its own zip code," says Brooks in the video, "and I'm okay with that!"
The woman who embraced her vitiligo on her wedding day
Kandice Benford started developing vitiligo—a condition that causes skin to lose pigment cells, resulting in patchy, uneven skin tone—when she was 18 years old. Years later with her wedding on the horizon, her vitiligo worsened. Benford first tried to cover up the white patches on her face and body, but she soon decided to simply embrace the change. On her wedding day, she only wore a light layer of makeup and let her skin show through.
"I can honestly say having vitiligo has made me a stronger person, and more confident in myself,” Benford told People. “I love it, it makes me unique.”
The woman with leg hair who starred in an Adidas commercial
Cultural standards of beauty dictate that women should remove their body hair—especially the hair on their legs. But some women are tossing out their razors and baring their natural body hair proudly. One of these is Adidas model Arvida Byström. After receiving rape threats for posing in an ad that revealed her leg hair, Byström took to her own Instagram account to call out the ridiculousness of it all—and noted that she received lots of supportive comments as well.
The Victoria's Secret ads recreated by a woman with curves
The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is known for casting only women of a particular (read: very thin) body type. So curvy model Tabria Majors used Instagram to prove that all women of all shapes and sizes can rock lacy lingerie. Majors posted an image of herself posing in VS undies—and then a traditional VS Angel in a second image right next to the first one.
"Just paying homage to a few of my favorite pics/outfits from VS here and showing that curvy girls can rock (and sell) lingerie just as well as straight size models," she wrote in her Instagram caption. Her social media move had a big effect. Now, Majors is a model for SI Swim's 2018 issue.
Alopecia makes it to reality television
For someone with alopecia—an autoimmune condition that causes temporary or even permanent hair loss—dating can be tough. But one British woman chose to embrace her baldness for the world to see by going on a dating reality show. After the cameras followed her on a date, Eve Betts suddenly took of her wig and explained to her date why she was hairless.
"One of the reasons I wanted to do beauty is because I went through school being bullied," she said of her career as a beautician. "You know, you don't have any eyebrows. I don't remember ever feeling upset about it, apart from now. It's really hard, it's really hard."
Miss Minnesota USA crowns a winner with Down syndrome
In November, Mikalya Holmgren became the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in Miss Minnesota USA, and her gutsy move and sunny optimism introduced the world to a new kind of beauty standard. Holmgren went home with two awards that night. “I want to show my personality. I want to show what my life looks like, being happy, and joyful. I want to show what Down syndrome looks like," she told People.
This woman who danced it out, belly rolls and all
In November, one woman posted a video of herself breaking it down, showing that you don't have to look a certain way to be a fabulous and inspiring dancer. Brandi Mallory shared the clip on Instagram; in it, she does a killer dance in a sports bra. Her loose skin and belly rolls are out for the world to see, but she doesn't seem to have a care in the world. Her video demonstrates that moving your body brings on confidence and joy.