Even today, it can still feel like there’s a huge amount of pressure for women to look a certain way.
But now one woman, who previously suffered from anorexia, has been praised on Instagram for encouraging others to embrace their bodies.
Megan Jayne Crabbe, 23, from Essex, posted a series of inspirational photos on Instagram to show women they shouldn’t feel the need to look a certain way.
In one post, Megan shared a before and after picture, showing her weight gain and admitted to preferring her new, curvier look.
‘I think that one of these pictures is more beautiful than the other. But it’s not the one you think,’ she said.
‘One would be called curvy, the other fat. One looks like a ‘before’, the other looks like an ‘after’. One will inspire people to tell me that I’m unhealthy, unworthy, unlovable. The other will be praised, admired, desired. And even though I’ve spent my life believing that the version of me on the left is more valuable than the version on the right, I’ve changed my mind now. I think it’s more beautiful just to be yourself.’
Megan added that the picture on the left ‘was taken with all the pressures of what a “perfect” body should look like in mind’.
Criticising society for telling women they should all aim to look like the image on the left, she said: ‘And while both these pictures are me, I don’t see myself in the picture on the left. I see everything our culture wants me to be. And I still don’t quite measure up.’
Instead, Megan says she feels more ‘relaxed’ and ‘content’ with her new body: ‘I am celebrating all the parts of myself I’ve been taught to be ashamed of for my whole life. The rolls on my stomach, the cellulite dotting my thighs, my face bare and my mind free from what anybody else wants me to be. And that freedom is beautiful.’
Megan previously suffered from anorexia, and at one point weighed just over four and a half stone. She said: ‘I used to believe that losing weight was the most important thing in the world. I used to believe that there was no such thing as going too far, getting too thin, losing too much.’
However, after losing and gaining weight, she realised that obsessing over her weight and body image did not make her happy.
‘Now I know that no matter how much extra jiggle might come along, nothing important about me will have changed. I’ll still have the same heart, the same mind, the same passion, the same love’.
Megan has been using her experience with weight loss and weight gain to send inspiring messages to others who might feel the same. In a recent post she said to her followers: ‘How you feel about your body isn’t your fault. You didn’t ask to live in a world that profits from our insecurities. You didn’t sign up to seeing thousands of images everyday of photoshopped, unattainable bodies that make your own seem so flawed.
‘So please, you have to stop blaming yourself. Once you do that, then we can really get to work dismantling the bullshit, and getting you the self love you’ve always deserved. None of it is your fault, my love.’