In recent years, we've seen the welcome introduction of body positivity into mainstream beauty and fashion brands. It makes a stark contrast to the stick-thin supermodel-promoted advertising of the 90s, promising consumers that if they bought this particular item of clothing, they too would instantly become beautiful and skinny.
Of course, this type of promotion still occurs, but there are many brands that are becoming more inclusive and body positive in both their designs and marketing.
The issue we have now, however, is distinguishing between brands that genuinely care about their customers' wellbeing, and those which are merely using body positivity to make a profit. Unfortunately, there are some who are jumping on the bandwagon and using what should be an empowering movement to create successful advertising campaigns and sell more products.
That's why we've compiled this list of brands that go the extra mile to enforce body positivity; read on to find out more.
Photo credit: Knix
Knix is an inspiring underwear brand that specializes in leakproof period underwear, comfortable bras.
Since their launch in 2013, Knix have put their emphasis on women being comfortable and confident, whatever their shape and size. As a brand, they don't believe in sticking to conventional women's underwear concepts — usually hyper-sexualised, lacey and uncomfortable. Instead, they've used their innovative design ideas and period panty technology to create revolutionary yet functional underwear products.
Not only are their period undies leakproof, moisture-wicking and anti-odour, but their bras are comfortable, supportive and wireless. Sounds like a win, doesn't it?
Knix really believe in promoting body positivity: they want all women to be comfortable in their own skin and free to be themselves. Choosing underwear products that are specifically designed to make you feel confident and comfortable seems like a pretty good place to start.
Photo credit: @asos
This well-known British online retailer has been paving the way in body positivity for a while now. ASOS have made a deliberate effort to be inclusive and diverse — choosing to work with more than 200 models to represent their sprawling audience across the world.
They haven't stopped at just using models with different body types either; ASOS clothes come in more than 30 sizes, which they've committed to providing at the same price. By being size-inclusive, ASOS have shown a progressive attitude towards body positivity that many online clothing stores unfortunately lack.
ASOS's advertising campaigns and imagery also reflect this attitude: they refuse to retouch, remove stretch marks or digitally alter images of their models. As such a huge online retailer — and one whose core demographic are young women — it's a relief to see that they are normalising practices like showing their models with stretch marks and representing the majority of women's experiences.
Furthermore, they have also partnered with GLAAD, one of the biggest voices in LGBTQ activism, to create a gender-neutral accepting collection.
Sport England: This Girl Can
Photo credit: @thisgirlcanuk
Sport England is a organization dedicated to mobilizing the British nation into taking part in sports and activities — regardless of their age, gender, background or ability. The organization created the “This Girl Can" campaign, which has now turned into an extremely successful, globally recognized movement.
This Girl Can is a female fitness movement that is both body positive and inclusive — celebrating and supporting girls and women of all backgrounds being active. Since the birth of This Girl Can in 2015, they have been inviting women everywhere to join in and get moving, without worrying about how they look.
It's refreshing to see a brand promoting body positivity in terms of physical fitness and the effect that this has on mental wellbeing. Sports and fitness brands can be guilty of excluding women if they don't fit a certain body ideal, making women less likely to want to exercise and impacting both their mental and physical health.
Far from relying on the conventional photos of super-fit sports stars, This Girl Can shines the spotlight on “real" women and put the power in their hands instead. The brand invites their audience to join them on their journey to inclusivity and positivity in exercise by sharing photos of themselves using the hashtag #ThisGirlCan.
Check out their Instagram — it's incredibly inspiring and moving to see the women featured, and how the brand celebrates self-love in such a positive way.
Photo credit: ModCloth
ModCloth is a San Francisco-based online fashion retailer that specialises in quirky, vintage-inspired clothing. Not only do they offer a range of sizes, but they feature models with a wide range of body types and sizes in their campaigns to accurately reflect their audience.
As with the other brands we've mentioned on this list, ModCloth signed an anti-photoshop pledge in 2014, vowing to never change the size, color, proportion or physical features of their models.
They've also made an effort to become much more size-inclusive — in both their product offerings and their language. In 2015, they experimented with removing the “plus size" section from their homepage to create a more inclusive, integrated brand community. Since then, they have reintroduced a plus size section to improve their customers' shopping experience, but they continue to use positive language and have removed plus-oriented language from the site in order to be more inclusive.
All of the above brands have made a conscious effort to promote body positivity through their clothing offerings, messaging and core brand values. As a result, they are championed by their customer communities — and seem to be having a real impact across the retail industry. It just goes to show that the body positive movement isn't just a marketing fad — it's here to stay.
We are living in a time when women are rising to new heights which means they are regularly being confronted with the fear of being "too much". For women in business this is pervasive and costly.
A few ways women can be perceived as "too much" are:
Speaking up about their successes and achievements.
Sharing one too many photos of their cute kids.
Telling one too many people about that date night.
Looking a little too good in that swimsuit.
These can lead to being publicly attacked on social media or privately slandered which in turn leads to women dimming their light and walking on egg shells in hopes of avoiding conflict and judgement.
The minute a woman feels it's unsafe to shine she will begin to overthink, worry, and fear how she shows up in the world.
Forgetting to announce the book is done and the interview is live.
Choosing to focus on what's still on the to-do list rather than what's been checked off.
Many female entrepreneurs are subconsciously altering their behavior in an attempt to not attract too much attention to themselves, rather than focusing on allowing authenticity and magnetism to attract their ideal clients and community.
Women are afraid of being criticized, ostracized, and abandoned by other women for simply being who they are. This leads to quite the quantum when being who you are is simplest way to accelerate the growth of your business.
New research shows men are far more comfortable with self promotion than women are. Researchers found that men rate their own performance 33 percent higher than equally performing women. What we know is that self promotion pays off and this is where women are missing the boat.
The world needs more women to step into leadership roles and no longer be intimidated about creating six and seven figure careers.
Here are five ways to release the fear of being "too much":
1. Approve of yourself.
While it feels good to receive outside validation it will never be enough if you don't first appreciate yourself. The key to having a healthy support system is to make sure you are part of it. Being your biggest critic is what your mother's generation did. It's now time to be your biggest cheerleader. Becoming aware of self talk will reveal what belief is ready to be re-wired. Create a simply mantra that affirms how incredible capable you are.
2. Connect deeply to those you serve.
One powerful way to shift out of people pleasing behavior is to get clear on who actually matters to the wellbeing and success of your life and business. Leadership is not about being the most popular, instead it's a decision to be brave for those who can't be. Take a few minutes each day to visualize and meditate on those your business serves and supports. See your future clients moving toward you every time you choose to stand in your power and use your authentic voice.
3. Remember the legacy you wish to leave.
Having your life purpose and legacy in writing is one of the most transformational exercises you can do. Reading this often will keep you focused on what matters. Knowing what you wish to leave in the hearts of those you love most is incredibly grounding. You didn't come here to keep your mouth shut, dilute your truth, or dim your light-you came here to make a difference.
4. Forgive those who have been unsupportive in the past.
The past has a way of informing the future in a negative way when there is unresolved pain. Take a few minutes to get quiet and ask yourself who you have unforgiveness towards or maybe their name came to mind as you read this article. Listening to a forgiveness meditation or writing a letter to the person you are ready to forgive are both simple and effective ways to process and heal.
5. Be part a community of bright, successful women.
Meaningful relationships with others who have similar aspirations is what will keep you out of isolation and playing small. These connections can happen in a networking group, online community or a local Meetup. Thriving in every area of life is depend on you knowing where you belong and being celebrated there. Don't wait to be invited, go actively seek out people and places that support your dreams and desires.
6. Accept you can have it all.
Women have been fed a lie for generations that says, you can have love or money. Decide you can have it all and allow it to flow to you. You can have a successful career and an amazing mother. You can balance motherhood and loving marriage. Don't let anyone write the rules for you. This is the time to create the life you desire on your terms.
7. Celebrate everything!
The fastest way to leave the haters in the dust is to celebrate everything! At the end of each day lay in bed and recall the best moments. At the end of each week, publicly acknowledge and celebrate what's good in your life. Once a month, have a celebration dinner and share it with those who have helped you in the journey. If there's something good happening, talk about it with everyone who will listen!
May you be a woman who chooses to shine so that others may be reminded of all they can be and do.