Within A Movement: 5 Beautiful Black Women to Recognize

imm in love with her body.jpg

In 2018, it would seem that “body positivity” permeates every “woke” space. From its usage in everyday conversation, to the word popping up in articles by the New York Times and Essence, it is inescapable. But, what is “body positivity”? At its most surface level, body positivity is the embrace of all bodies, regardless of shape, size, and color. Body positivity is often aimed at women, and seeks to create an environment in which the acceptance and love of one’s body becomes normalized, and not necessarily an exceptional cause for celebration. It derives its origin from the fat acceptance movement that began in the 60s by black women and has since evolved as a response from fat-shaming to a broader response to body-shaming critiques (although body shaming still is often directed towards heavier members of communities). In this understanding of body positivity, it is difficult to understand why anyone would speak against such a beautiful movement. Yet, the message of movements is rarely that simple, and body positivity is no different. In a lot of ways, the current body positivity movement places plus-sized, dark complected - black women on its outskirts even as it proclaims to celebrate the beauty of all women. This is a familiar narrative in the history of black women in relation to beauty ideals; the exchange of black ideals and movements for alienated and unrecognized status is easily recognizable. With an increased number of plus-sized representatives within the beauty and fashion industry, it is still difficult to find a black face. It is even harder to find a plus-sized black model who is neither racially ambiguous nor light-complected. In this environment, I believe it is important to recognize plus-sized black women that are preaching body positivity, living their best lives, and changing the current beauty environment. I’ve included their instagrams so please check them out!

Jessamyn Stanley                                                   Instagram:mynameisjessamyn   

Jessamyn Stanley Instagram:mynameisjessamyn   

La'Shaunae Steward

La'Shaunae Steward

Philomena Kwao                                       Instagram:philomenakwao

Philomena Kwao Instagram:philomenakwao

Precious Lee                                            Instagram:preciousleexoxo

Precious Lee Instagram:preciousleexoxo

Vivian Eyo-Ephraim                                                  Instagram:vivss_x

Vivian Eyo-Ephraim Instagram:vivss_x

For more information regarding the body positivty movement & black women, read the following articles:


Coles, Donyae. “The Body Positivity Movement Both Takes From And Erases Fat Black Women.” Wear Your Voice, 5 Oct. 2018, wearyourvoicemag.com/body-politics/body-positivity-movement-takes-erases-fat-black-women

Kai, Maiysha. “'The Body Is Not an Apology': Sonya Renee Taylor Is Leading a Revolution of Radical Self-Love.” The Glow Up, The Glow Up, 26 Mar. 2018, theglowup.theroot.com/the-body-is-not-an-apology-sonya-renee-taylor-is-leadi-1824054915.

SHACKELFORD, Ashleigh. “The Body Positivity Movement Looks A Lot Like White Feminism: On Tess Holliday & Accountability.” Http://Ashleighshackelford.com, 2018, ashleighshackelford.com/articles/2016/9/22/the-body-positivity-movement-looks-a-lot-like-white-feminism-on-tess-holliday-accountability.

Kerstan Nealy