9 Leaders in Body Liberation To Follow on Social Media for Education, Inspiration, and Empowerment

Photo: Getty Images/ Anchiy
A 2023 study by the American Psychological Association found when teens are on social media less, their appearance-related esteem improves. That makes sense, right? After seeing one curated, edited picture after another, there’s no surprise as to why a viewer may feel insecure.

At the same time, sticking to social media platforms can be helpful, too, if done mindfully. One avenue that may be useful is following body liberation influencers on Instagram on TikTok. Their content is focused on freedom from systems of oppression that deem certain (read: smaller) bodies as more healthy, attractive, and worthy.

While the accounts below are run by only a few of all of the body liberation influencers and content creators out there—and the details shared are only a sneak peek—they're a solid place to start.

9 body liberation influencers on Instagram worth a follow

Jessamyn Stanley

Handle: @mynameisjessamyn on Instagram and TikTok

Love yoga? Jessamyn Stanley is the perfect person to follow, especially if you live in a bigger body than your yoga instructor and have found your poses look different than theirs.

As a yoga teacher, author, entrepreneur, and advocate, she promotes judgment-free inclusivity and body autonomy. Further, she provides modifications in her yoga videos (and is undeniably hilarious, just saying).

One example of a truth Stanley stands for: Your body isn’t a burden or something you need to apologize for or change, no matter the size.

For more of her work, check out The Underbelly (a digital space she started with inclusive yoga classes and more); the podcast Dear Jessamyn, which she co-hosts; and her books.

Virginia Sole-Smith

Handle: @v_solesmith on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter

Virginia Sole-Smith covers many important topics regarding body liberation. She’s posted about diet talk, the trap that anti-fat bias puts people in, and fatphobia at doctors’ offices. She hosts conversations around inclusive clothing, such as bras that comfortably fit larger-bodied people.

Sole-Smith also shares content that may be particularly helpful for parents who want to be anti-diet role models to their kids.

Other than on social media platforms, Sole-Smith wrote about many of those topics in her recently released book Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture. Additionally, she covers them in her Burnt Toast newsletter and podcast of the same name.

Allyson Inez Ford

Handles: @bodyjustice.therapist on Instagram and Threads and @bodyjusticetherapist on TikTok

A neurodivergent and pansexual therapist of mixed race, Allyson Inez Ford posts lots of great, intersectional content about eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and race.

She believes mental health treatment should happen through an abolitionist lens; for example, she encourages therapists to ask their clients how they can reduce the inherent power dynamic, what helps the client feel safe, and how systems of oppression are showing up. This promotes body liberation by acknowledging all people are worthy and have different needs, and by giving them a space to advocate for those needs.

Ford also emphasizes how body image and eating disorders are social justice issues, and that intersection is where body liberation comes into play.

Lastly, her Linktree includes awesome resources, such as an abolitionist social worker toolkit and tips on eating disorder harm reduction, the latter of which is beneficial in many (possibly surprising) ways. She covers these topics and more on her Body Justice podcast, as well.

Sonalee Rashatwar

Handle: @thefatsextherapist on Instagram

Sonalee Rashatwar is all about fat positivity and social justice. They're a fatphobia therapist and sex therapist.

As far as fat positivity goes, Rashatwar posts about how you don’t have to justify your body or its size—in fact, you deserve to spend time straight-up admiring it. Additionally, they advocate for the fact that feminism must entail meaningful representations of fat people to be truly feminist.

They also post about body liberation. This goes not only for clothes, they write, but also in health care, places of work, housing, airplane accessibility, and every other space where humans are.

In another post, Rashatwar makes the point that working toward collective liberation means we have to give something up, whether it be comfort, objects, attitudes, or something else—and that doing so is worth the safety, community, care, rest, etc. that comes with it. (Don’t mind me yelling “Hell yeah!” at my desk in the middle of the workday.)

Sharon Maxwell

Handle: @heysharonmaxwell on Instagram and Threads and TikTok

If you’re looking for encouragement and compassion regarding your body, Sharon Maxwell is someone to follow. She’s a speaker, weight-inclusive consultant, and fat activist.

Not only does she share serviceable posts about how to advocate for yourself at the doctor’s office when facing weight discrimination, but she also shares generally helpful reminders, like how a number can’t define your worth.

Maxwell’s posts are quite empathetic. She validates why people may get sucked into diet culture—hello, society’s anti-fat attitudes—while also reminding folks that body diversity is good and diets don’t work.

Lastly, her account is a place of joy and representation. For example, she posts videos of herself experiencing fat joy, affirming the fact that you can live in a large body without needing to try to lose weight. (BRB, crying.)

Marquisele Mercedes

Handles: @fatmarquisele on Instagram and @marquisele on Twitter

A passionate fat-liberationist and writer-educator, Marquisele Mercedes is a force to be reckoned with. One example of her content we love: how many “well-meaning” comments can be thinly veiled fatphobia. A couple of her examples: saying weight concerns are “only about health” and talking about the “benefits” of weight stigma. (To be clear, there are no benefits, only harms.)

“We’re not allowing people to hide behind coded language while expressing their belief that fat people deserve to suffer because of their fatness,” she wrote in that Instagram caption.

Mercedes also engages in important conversations about body liberation as it pertains to multiple identities, such as being a disabled person, an LGBTQIA+ person of color, etc.

For more of her content, you may enjoy the podcast she co-hosts, Unsolicited: Fatties Talk Back.

Rachel Millner

Handle: @drrachelmillner on Instagram

A queer, Jewish woman, Rachel Millner, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist and certified eating disorder specialist. Her work is rooted in Health at Every Size, intuitive eating, and other meaningful frameworks we’re totally here for.

Dr. Millner’s Instagram content largely focuses on social justice and ethics. For example, she discusses weight discrimination and how anti-fat bias is rooted in anti-Blackness. She emphasizes the importance of advocating not only for fat liberation, but for keeping those who are most discriminated against top of mind.

To Dr. Millner, “liberation” means being welcomed and celebrated for who you are, both in regards to your body size, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other pieces of your identity. She reminds folks that they deserve fellow anti-diet, fat-positive people in their lives, too.

Ragen Chastain

Handles: @ragenchastain on Instagram and @danceswithfat on Twitter

Ragen Chastain is a speaker, writer, researcher, board-certified patient advocate, ACE-certified health coach, and functional fitness specialist. She primarily writes about the intersection of weight science, weight stigma, health, and health care.

Chastain is a great person to follow if you’re seeking more education and support around body liberation. She’s held monthly online workshops on topics such as creating a weight-neutral affirming health journey and the intersection of weight stigma and capitalism.

She also makes interesting, nuanced points about current events. For example, she posted about how the new AMA policy on BMI (that says BMI shouldn’t be used as a standalone measure of health) isn’t the win we think it is, and what the hidden effects of it could be. A happier example: How NYC passed a law protecting people from being discriminated against due to their weight or height.

Laura Burns

Handle: @radicalbodylove on Instagram

Laura Burns is another body liberation influencer on Instagram to check out if you’re a plus-size person who likes or is interested in trying yoga. She’s a radical body love activist, coach, and yoga teacher.

Burns’s content is quite empowering. In a post about building a fat-friendly, accessible retreat center and spa, she asks her followers for their “fat wisdom and expertise” to help create a truly inclusive space.

If you’re looking for an anti-diet, body-positive post to share on your story, she’s got those, too. For example, she posts about how we shouldn’t comment on people’s bodies, and rather compliment other parts of them, like their fashion choices or personality traits. At the same time, Burns believes your loved ones should honor and celebrate your body like you do. She also believes in the importance of community care and intuitive movement.

Follow any one (or all!) of these folks and you’ll be glad you did.

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