The movement for more body positivity has attracted women around the globe, all of whom have looked in the mirror at some point in their lives and not liked what they’ve seen.

We’re trained to hate ourselves from the moment we recognize our reflection. Even if we’re skinny, maybe we’re too thin? Maybe our nose is too big, our ears stick out, we have giant feet or ugly toes or greasy hair, or, or, or.

The fact that most of those dislikes were created by others, and sometimes by companies looking to sell us “fixes” for how we exist, is starting to convince more and more women that we’re just fine the way we are. That skinny is fine, fat is fine, athletic is fine, and honestly, at some point in our lives, we will probably be all of those things.

Mik Zazon, who founded the #NormalizeNormalBodies hashtag, wanted to make sure that women with “normal” (average sized/shaped) bodies knew that they were fine the way they are, too. Women who aren’t thin, and who aren’t plus-sized, are often underrepresented in the media, but Mik told Shape it’s important that all bodies are seen as worthy of acceptance and love.

“The body-positive movement is specifically for people who have marginalized bodies,” says Zazon. “But I do feel like there’s some space to give women with ‘normal bodies’ more of a voice.”

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I thought I knew better by ignoring every cry for help you gave me. I thought I knew better by listening to society’s advice to keep my hunger in line. Because of that, I thought starving you was healthy. When you were hungry, I didn’t understand that you actually needed fuel to survive. I thought they cared about me. I thought they cared about you. I now know they only cared about the money I was giving them while trying to take care of you. Healthy is how MY body asks me to treat it with kindness and respect. Health has no definition, and could change course any minute, hour, day, or week. My body tells me that it’s okay if I get bigger, gain weight. My body tells me that it’s okay if I get smaller, or lose weight. My body tells me that it’s healthy even with rolls, cellulite, stretch marks, cookies, pizza, and snacks. My body tells me that it’s healthy to want leafy greens and potatoes too. My body is my body, and no one else’s. I trust my body… Because now after living in so many shapes and sizes, I know one thing to be true: My body is my best friend and has relentlessly taken care of me through it all. #normalizenormalbodies #bodypositivity #bopo #edrecovery #mentalhealthawareness

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“I’ve lived in so many different bodies throughout my life,” adds Zazon. “This movement is my way of reminding women that you’re allowed to show up as you are. You don’t have to fit into a mold or category to feel comfortable and confident in your skin. All bodies are ‘normal’ bodies.”

Over 20,000 women have used her hashtag since it was created in 2019, and everyone – Zazon included – has learned from, and been inspired by, their posts.

Women have shared about parts of their bodies they’d always hated, like “hip dips,” until now.

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I was ALWAYS insecure about my “hip dips”. I would be bullied in the PE changing room often. It got to a point where in 8th grade I would stuff toilet paper or even ankle socks in the sides of my jeans to fill the gap because I was so embarrassed of them. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties when I decided to love myself and embrace my body for what it is. There is nothing wrong with me or my hips, this is my skeleton. This is how I’m built and I am beautiful. So are you. ??#normalizenormalbodies #hipdips

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Women have shared about how they’ve been mean, and critical of, the bodies that do so much for them on a daily basis.

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THIS IS MY BODY. . Yesterday, she carried me up Lion’s Head. I felt light as a feather while I treaded my way up and down the mountain. And yet, I had judged her reflection in the mirror only a few hours earlier. . From a young age, we are lead to believe that our body isn’t beautiful enough, or enough at all. But hé, she is not an object for other’s pleasure or to be restrained to fit society’s beauty standards. Your body holds many qualities. Qualities far beyond size and shape. . ? She is strong. ? She is fierce. ? She is unique. ? She is resilient. ? She is resourceful. ? She is your home. . So darling, whenever you find yourself doubting your body. Or judging her for her imperfections. . Remind yourself of all those moments that she showed up. To carry you. Beyond your imagination. . Share an amazing thing your body has done for you. . . . . #haes #normalizenormalbodies #edrecovery #edwarrior #recoverywarriors #losehatenotweight #bodypositivity #allbodiesaregoodbodies #allbodiesarebeautiful #celebrateyourbody #selfhealers #selflovequotes #selfcompassion #personalgrowth #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthmatters #perspectivematters #blogger #travelblogger #bloggerlifestyle #wanderlusting #travelholic #travelgram #southafrica #capetown #lionshead #tablemountain

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The shares keep coming, reminders that for most of us, remembering to love our skin – “flaws” included – will be a daily, and sometimes uphill, battle that could last a lifetime.

Hashtags like these, though, remind us that the fight is worth it.

When we come together on social media, we not only prop up each other’s successes, but we are living proof that other people will never see us in the critical light we cast on ourselves.

Opening up online creates community, and women thrive on it.

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Raise your hand if… * You are sick and tired of feeling stressed about your body. * You’re ready for some damn body peace and freedom in your life. * You’re juggling school or work, parenthood, your social life, finances (while also trying to binge-watch a few episodes of Grey’s every night… for your own sanity, of course!) * You want to finally come home to your own body, meeting it with the love, care and gratitude you know it deserves. * You know you need a holistic game plan to get there: for both your fitness goals and your frame of mind. I know how you feel because I’ve been there too. I know what it feels like to buy a workout program in hopes to lose weight, and somewhere along the line… Life gets in the way. And the program is useless. You deserve a proven program that tackles not only your fitness goals, but offers unwavering support + all the self-love goodies you can handle! HIIT30 Reboot launches December 13th And this program is designed just for you girl, because you can customize it to your life with however much time you have to move your body. 30 days 30 minute body-weight workouts An empowering AF support group Self-love resource library And absolutely no guilt or shame. #HIIT30Reboot #HIITworkout #hiitexercise #workoutprogram

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Zazon hopes that her movement will continue to grow, and to empower women who are starting to feel more liberated in their own bodies.

“Even if you don’t have a truly marginalized body type and aren’t seeing versions of yourself in mainstream media, you still have the microphone,” she says. “You just need to speak up.”

Well put!

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!