Five women of different ethnicities posing in their black dress

The ugly truth about beauty standards makes itself most apparent in social media, where posting a selfie can also mean making oneself vulnerable to prejudice and judgment. On the other hand, social media isn’t so bad because it’s also through these platforms that communities challenge these very standards where they were born.

Beauty standards are shifting to become more realistic and inclusive thanks to the growing presence of underrepresented women and the communities that rally behind them. Through these hashtags, women are not just encouraged but empowered to celebrate their uniqueness.

#HonorMyCurves

Curves should be honored, not hidden away.instagram/melacurve.skin

#HonorMyCurves started as a personal Instagram account of a woman named Honorine. She just wanted a platform to show her acceptance of her own curves — now it’s a global hashtag with 1,579,731 posts and counting. Under the body-positive hashtag, you’ll find photos of different women flaunting their natural, unedited bodies. Give it a browse, and you might find yourself overflowing with self-love. 

#EffYourBeautyStandards

Love your body because it lets you dance.instagram/effyourbeautystandards

#EffYourBeautyStandards also started as an account by body positivity advocate Tess Holiday in 2013. Now with 433k followers, the account helped build a community where women can speak freely as well as live freely in their own skin. The hashtag has 4,821,688 entries from women who are just tired of the pressure to look a certain way and want to break standards and stereotypes in the beauty industry.

#SkinPositivity

Your skin can be positively radiant with a little loveinstagram/_jessyoga

This powerful hashtag has 147,051 and counting from women who have been told by society that their skin is no good, and they’re just not having any of it. The posts are a mix of selfies of individuals showing their natural, unfiltered skin, quotes, and skincare tips.

#NaturalBeauty

This past year revealed a growing appreciation for natural beauty. Instagram/ashowens_

According to a report called “Beauty in Twitter” conducted by Sprinklr Modern Research, people have taken to Twitter to showcase their natural beauty looks using the hashtags #naturalbeauty and #naturalhair. The research cites that the conversation on natural beauty topics increased by 20% in the first half of 2020. Meanwhile, on Instagram, the hashtag has 19,416,056 posts.

#YesToPositiveBeauty

The new normal is no “normal”.Instagram/unilever

#YesToPositiveBeauty is an ongoing Unilever campaign that eliminates the word “normal” from all their beauty and personal care brands. This is to challenge narrow beauty ideals and advocate for a more inclusive vision of beauty. According to the brand’s research, seeing the word “normal” on beauty products makes people feel excluded. In fact, seven in 10 people out of 10,000 claim that the word harms them.

On top of this, the campaign also advocates against digitally altering a person’s shape, size, proportion, and skin color in their advertising. Acknowledging that removing the word “normal” alone won’t solve the problem, but the brand believes it is an important step forward in ending discrimination in the beauty industry.

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If you’re all too familiar with the ugly truth behind beauty standards, check out these hashtags and know that you’re not alone.