How celebs are leading the charge on body positivity

Celebrities like Hilary Duff, Ashley Graham and Tiffiny Hall are helping to reshape our attitudes to our bodies.

A growing number of celebrities have been proudly displaying their unfiltered bodies on social media, in an attempt to help others accept their own bodies.

Fitness star Tiffiny Hall has been sharing photos and videos of her postpartum body on social media after giving birth to her second child, prompting praise from fans for being “raw” and “real”.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tiffiny Hall (@tiffhall_xo)

Popular US plus-size model and TV presenter Ashley Graham is also earning plaudits for her posts encouraging people to celebrate and love their bodies.

Sharing a video five months after giving birth on Instagram, she wrote: ”Posting this video for all the mamas who haven’t and may never ‘bounce back’ and for anyone who needs to be reminded that your body is beautiful in its realest form.”

In uploading a photo with visible cellulite on her legs, British actress Jameela Jamil wrote on Instagram: “It’s totally normal and not a failure of any kind… celebrities, advertisements and magazines have GOT to stop editing this out.”

Earlier this year, Hilary Duff famously posed naked for a magazine cover to express her self-acceptance and pride in her body, saying: “I’ve gotten to a place of being peaceful with the changes my body has gone through.”

Then there’s TikTok’s newest trend of ditching the beauty filter, encouraging people to embrace their natural look.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil)

What the experts say

Clinical psychologist Dr Gemma Sharp says body-positive celebs are setting a “terrific” example.

“It’s a very positive thing seeing celebrities being their authentic selves,” Dr Sharp says.

“Research clearly shows the impact of social networking sites on body image concerns and disordered eating and, in my job, I see the pointy end of that (eating disorders).”

Dr Sharp, who leads the Body Image Research Group at the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, says body image is also linked to anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicidality.

It’s not just young girls and women who are affected by unrealistic beauty standards.

“Body image issues are now impacting all genders — we’re seeing an increase in eating disorders in males and it is one of the most fatal psychiatric illnesses,” Dr Sharp says.

Clinical psychologist Donna Stambulich says with so much power in their hands, it’s great that celebrities are showing their true and more real selves.

“There are so many examples of positive role models who are big-name celebrities and who might even influence your life by motivating you to travel, or do humanitarian work, or make lifestyle changes,” she says.

  • Practical steps: How to bolster your body image
  • Tips to keep social media a safe body image space

    Donna says the body positivity movement isn’t about advocating an unhealthy lifestyle or lowering standards of health and motivation.

    “It’s about promoting who you are, how you look, and learning to feel comfortable in your own skin,” Donna says.

    But if you’re still worried about what you’re seeing on social media and the pressure it’s putting you under, you have more curating control than you might realise.

    “There’s a thing called protective filtering — you can protect your body image, or mental health in general, by filtering out influences that are detrimental,” Dr Sharp explains.

    “Celebrities, influencers and ‘thinspiration’ content can be unfollowed and blocked; and taking control of our social media experiences can help make these platforms a source of connection, information and positivity.”

    Flinders University body image experts have also urged Instagram users to apply a more conscious filter to monitor health and fitness posts.

    In new research published in Body Image journal, they wrote: “Overall, the findings suggest that viewing fitspiration and clean eating content on Instagram is negatively associated with thin-ideal internalisation and disordered eating symptomatology.”

    Written by Liz McGrath.