Women share candidate photos to send a message to pandemic bodyshamers
Photographer Anastasia Garcia has launched the #MyQuarantineBody campaign to spread a message of empowerment and kindness.
If you need more evidence that social media still lacks an appropriate representation of body diversity, consider what happened to the tagged page of the #MyQuarantineBody movement on Instagram.
The hashtag was created on April 8 by photographer and advocate Anastasia Garcia. Garcia was tired of the jokes, memes and general attitudes to the possible weight gain during on-site accommodation, which were necessary due to COVID-19.
ANASTASIA GARCIA Photographer Anastasia Garcia launched the #MyQuarantineBody movement as an antidote to the fat-shaming jokes, memes and attitudes surrounding weight gain during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m so grateful that I’m healthy … when so many lose their lives,” she wrote. “I’m really disappointed when I see blatant body shame and the stigma of weight gain. It feels deaf, short-sighted and incredibly privileged.”
Garcia, who has spent her career uncovering and dispelling our culturally deep-rooted fat phobia, wondered if she was the only one triggered by such a discourse.
“It just made me question all the years of self-work I’ve done to love myself and accept my body at every stage,” she told HuffPost. And when articles on this very subject came out, she realized that she was not alone.
So she encouraged other Instagram users to follow her example. Many soon committed themselves by conducting their own #MyQuarantineBody self-talk and celebrating how happy they felt to be at home and healthy. The messages were empowering, honest and offered an ointment against some of the negative content that many consumed during the pandemic.
But then most of the 264 photos posted to Garcia’s hashtag disappeared on Instagram.
“Maybe after a week and a half [of the campaign] … you could only see the top posts, but not current [posts] because ‘some photos violated user guidelines’,” Garcia said. “I can literally see nudes of skinny women on Instagram. What exactly is this move that violates user policies?
At the time of publication, many of the selected photos were restored to the #MyQuarantineBody page. Instagram declined to comment on the recording for this piece.
INSTAGRAM / @ASBOLDASBRITTConfidence coach and Instagram user @asboldasbritt joined the #MyQuarantineBody social media movement.
Aside from the disappointing interruption, the influence of Garcia’s movement remains intact. And for the participants, like body-positive blogger and founder of New York City Plus Sarah Chiwaya, she opened up the space for conversation – and kindness.
“Whether in the form of bad memes, targeted weight loss ads or direct body shaming, it happens so often that it feels almost inconspicuous,” Chiwaya told HuffPost by email. “I’m so glad that Anastasia started this movement to push things back. When I posted the day, so many readers said how much they wanted to hear something positive to help them be a little kinder to themselves.
INSTAGRAM/@CURVILYBody positive blogger Sarah Chiwaya told HuffPost that sharing her #MyQuarantineBody post led to an astonishing reaction from her followers.
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For Garcia, it was a transformative experience to just see so many different women posing in their underwear.
“Seeing how many women of different shapes, sizes, ages and ethnicities – I felt pretty alone during quarantine in my Brooklyn apartment – but seeing all these women coming together for the greater good, who also had these thoughts, was the most beautiful, most humbling, and most inspiring,” she said.
INSTAGRAM @ASHLEYLUCINDASTYLEAshley McIntyre, who marked her photo with #MyQuarantineBody.
For Garcia, who was named one of Glamour’s “Game Changers” earlier this month, the response to #MyQuarantineBody has confirmed the importance of her work.
It felt even more relevant when Nancy Pelosi was criticized for increasing the weight of Donald Trump. Many, including Garcia, pointed out that Pelosi’s remarks had less influence on Trump and instead encouraged anti-fat sentiment in general.
“I will never defend [Trump] in any capacity,” Garcia said. “But if you take him out of the equation, a woman like Nancy Pelosi, to which I look up and who I consider to be one of the most competent leaders … for them to maintain this idea that your weight is somehow equated with some kind of moral failure or ties your weight to their competence … The conversation should be about his incompetence and in no way about his body”.
Ultimately, the conversation Garcia wants to continue is about people regaining control of their own narratives and how happy people are when a bit of weight gain is their only concern at the moment
HTTPS://WWW.INSTAGRAM.COM/THECURVYTRINI/Foto of @thecurvytrini, storyteller, model and participant in the #MyQuarantineBody movement.
“My body doesn’t reflect anything about me – certainly not my health and certainly not my work. Garcia said. “Having a thin body is not a personality trait. Being beautiful is not an achievement. The goal is to empower women. No one can tell you what to feel for your body – only you can decide for yourself. Watching these women post pictures and make decisions about how they feel in their bodies at that moment – that was the power, and it’s my goal to keep doing that.