A plus-sized influencer has spoken up about harmful stereotypes and said the body positivity movement does not “promote obesity”.
Emily Jones, 31, an Instagram content creator who splits her time between the UK and Malta, wants people to recognise that being bigger does not equal being unhealthy.
The brunette beauty, who wears a UK size 18-20, campaigns for invisible disability awareness as well as body positivity for all on her account, @miss___jones.
Speaking to the Daily Star, she said: “There is also a common misconception that the body positivity movement is ‘promoting obesity’ – this is one that really irks me as to the contrary, I promote leading a healthy lifestyle and trying to better my own health too with a balanced diet and exercise in spite of my health limitations.
“Health is not black or white and being plus-sized does not mean that you are automatically unhealthy.
“I am promoting living life to the absolute fullest no matter what stage of your health journey you are on, no matter what dark circumstances come your way. It’s hard not to feel frustrated when I am misunderstood.”
Emily started her account after a difficult period in her life.
She explained: “I had always been a silent admirer of the body positive and plus-size space on Instagram.
“I found myself in a bit of a personal crisis as I lost my office job in London due to my ill health (I suffer from an invisible disability – inflammatory arthritis and fibromyalgia) and then further upset as my mum was suddenly diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour.
“This left me feeling like the ground had been shifted from under me. I decided to take things into my own hands and channel my energy into starting up an Instagram page, and it really took off right away.”
Emily makes it her mission to challenge the “status quo” with her realistic photos and sizzling swimwear snaps.
The influencer said: “I think the movement shows that the outdated ideas that about marginalised bodies that my generation has grown up with really are just that – outdated!
“People want authenticity, to see imperfections, to see real bodies and also to see themselves reflected in the media they consume. Not just perfect photoshopped images.”
Sadly, Emily has faced criticism for her content – something which is common in the plus-size community.
Emily explained: “People aren’t used to seeing larger women in bikinis, sexy lingerie. A thin woman can post a ‘hand-bra’ photo in a thong and it’s considered haute couture whereas a plus sized woman faces criticism and is told to cover up.”
Emily suffers from lipidema as well as inflammatory arthritis and fibromyalgia so she’s keen to live a healthy lifestyle.
Emily told us: “I have recently been diagnosed with lipidema – a genetic condition that gives a characteristic shape to how you carry fat in your arms and legs.
“I’m working with a trainer and exercising regularly to do what I can to get myself strong and healthy and in the best shape I can to feel my most confident!
“Body positivity isn’t about thinking you are above self-improvement – it’s about loving yourself enough to take care of yourself and be the best version of you – and accepting what makes you different!”
And, as someone who is both plus-size and suffers with an invisible disability, Emily knows that people often make unfair assumptions about her due to her weight.
The influencer noted: “I have definitely faced a lot of judgment along my health journey. When people see a larger person struggling to walk, needing a seat on a packed train, using the lift instead of the stairs etc there is sometimes the tendency to assume that someone is just lazy and/or unfit.
“I feel especially as a younger woman there is a lot of judgment unless people can see your disability clearly.
“I’ve found that when I am using my walking stick people are so much more understanding than if I’m not – but in reality disabled people shouldn’t have to prove their disability or the severity of it to anyone in order to be respected.”
The Instagram model wants other women, and men, to feel more confident in their own bodies no matter their size.
Emily said: “I’d love my followers to go away feeling confident, beautiful, positive, and ready to take on the world!
“I hope to help people to see that there is still light and happiness to be found even in the dark times.”
And, she had some advice for those struggling with their self image.
The content creator noted: “I would encourage you to explore what you love about yourself and devote yourself to nurturing and nourishing those qualities and features so that they flourish.
“Unfollow anyone who makes you feel rubbish about yourself and find your tribe online who can empower and uplift you!
“Stay true to your authentic self and step into your power.”
What makes you feel the most confident? Tell us in the comments section…