Everyone reading this article has, at one time or another, taken a selfie in public.
It could have been the discrete under the desk, grim faced frown in the middle of class or the blatant, ugly faced selfie in the middle of Reamer during common lunch.
If you have ever been to Alumni Gym, you will occasionally hear the faint *click* of phones snapping selfies capturing flexed abs or bent biceps.
Many of the photos are taken for apps such as Snapchat, Pinterest or iMessage.
There is one app in particular that has expanded its user base in the past five years.
Instagram, the mobile photo, video and social media app has opened the networking sphere for individuals wanting to share their photos with friends, family, and random people interested in what they are capturing.
Some of these profiles are a little more eccentric than others, such as @failedtattoo, @textsfromyourex, and @craptaxidermy [all of which are real accounts].
But recently there has been a flood of accounts documenting individual’s personal fitness and strength.
At first you might think, “Instagram accounts where I can watch sweaty, tired, athletes while they work out? Perfect for me!”
The majority of these accounts don’t fit that category; rather they focus on personal fitness, athleticism and achievement.
Many of these accounts are truly inspirational.
Take Krystal Cantu for example: she is an ordinary 24-year-old woman who, in 2013, lost her arm in a devastating car accident.
Several weeks after the accident, she began working as a CrossFit athlete and trained harder than she had before she lost her limb.
She is now a Level 1 trainer for CrossFit and regularly posts her personal achievements on Instagram.
But Krystal is one of thousands that have created Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts to document amazing feats that push athletic boundaries.
Many of these individuals have commented saying they don’t do it for the views or the popularity but to motivate and inspire those that haven’t tried.
From yoga to rock climbing, there are users that want to share their success with others and hope to see similar results posted back from their viewers.
One company in particular has taken advantage this photogenic craze and begun a campaign about body image.
Healthy is the New Skinny is a company started by Katie Wilcox, a professional model who realized the impact of a culture obsessed with skinny.
Soon after her transition from a size 14-model to a size 8 she was ostracized from the modeling community, stuck in the void of not being skinny enough but not curvy enough to model as “plus-size.”
The approach of Healthy is the New Skinny is much needed for our culture’s obsession with body image.
In recent years, there has been an overwhelming acceptance of “plus-size” models at a size of 14 and above.
Katie admits, “It was really hard to go from being a successful plus size model to only having a few clients and I couldn’t understand it because I looked better and I felt so much better—but I was not valued at a healthy size.”
The approach founded by Healthy is the New Skinny is one not typically accepted in our society.
On the website of Healthy is the New Skinny, they define their interpretation of health: “We believe the key to health is not a diet, size, tea, workout, waist trainer, pill, surgery, or body type. We believe the key to health is self-love.
When we love ourselves we will begin to naturally eliminate the things in our lives that are unhealthy.”
This company is fighting a movement that has forced self-starvation, self-harm and self-deprecation onto people of all ages, genders and body types.
I believe their message is a noble and much-needed one in our culture, as people sometimes need to be reminded it is okay to be who you are.
Regardless of how you look, you should be comfortable in your own skin.
This is why I believe “healthy” needs to quickly replace the glorified word of “skinny” in our society to help increase body consciousness among people influenced by our culture.