The Most Inspiring & Feel-Good Body Positive Moments on TV & Film

The importance of having body-positive moments portrayed on television and in film cannot be understated. So often, only the ultra-thin, perfectly proportioned, clear-skinned, etc. are shown, which does not reflect how people's bodies look in real-life. This can give young men and women negative feelings towards their own body. This is why Her Campus is celebrating body positivity, and the importance of it being shown in the entertainment industry. Here are some of the most inspiring body-positive moments as seen on the big (and small) screen: 

Dietland

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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A show about an overweight woman who struggles with society's obsession with weight loss while engaging with a group of women who are carrying out vigilante violence against those who mistreat women, Dietland had many moments of body positivity. One example of this is when Plum, the main character, decided to spend some time making art with a friend in episode seven while debating whether or not she wants to go through with her weight-loss surgery. What the duo creates is an outline of Plum, breasts included, with no subtractions. Plum is inspired by this and afterwards is ready to cancel the surgery. She urges other women not to go through with it and makes another image of her silhouette on a billboard advertising the procedure, this time adding the word "loved" underneath. It shows the growth Plum has gone through and it's an emotional moment for her. 

The Bold Type

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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A show known for portraying the life of 20-something year old women making it in the world with much accuracy, The Bold Type decided to embrace body positivity specifically in season two, with their episode "Scarlet Letter." Based on the premise that the magazine, Scarlet, was having a body positive-themed issue, it saw the three main characters, Kat, Sutton and Jane, portray their flaws on-camera. In a photo shoot Sutton organized, each posed with jewelry held near parts of their body they were insecure about. For Kat, Scarlet's social media director, this meant embracing her stretch marks. Sutton, a fashion assistant, went make-up free and writer Jane showed off her moles. 

“I feel like the standard of beauty for girls is so intense,” showrunner Amanda Lasher told the Huffington Post about the episode. “When I came on to the show, I wanted to tackle the idea of body image and the discrepancy between what we see on-screen and what is real.”

Each one of these characters has something different they feel insecure about, but they face their fears and the photos are the star of the magazine. 

GLOW

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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An acronym for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, this Netflix original is rife with body positivity. All of the characters are diverse, demonstrating that no matter what your size or shape, you can accomplish amazing things. Wrestling becomes a way for these characters to learn to love themselves as well as set themselves free from society's expectations.

"I love wrestling," Debbie, the shortest reigning GLOW champion, tells Ruth, a fellow wrestler. "It's like I’m back in my body, and it doesn’t belong to Randy or Mark, and…I’m like using it for me. And I feel like a goddamn superhero.”

Loving your body is an important step to taking control of your life back, and it was amazing to see the transition Debbie went through over the course of the show. 

Game of Thrones

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Badass women come in all shapes and sizes, something that is exemplified by Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. Though she does not fit the image of what a woman should be, particularly in Westeros society, she always stands strong. She doesn't care that society may judge her for being taller than many men (Gwendolyn Christie, who plays Brienne on the show, is 6'3") or wearing her hair short. 

"All my life men like you have sneered at me," she tells Jaime Lannister. "And all my life I've been knocking men like you into the dust." 

Brienne of Tarth is not a feminine stereotype, and this is what makes her character so inspirational. 

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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One of the best movies about female friendship, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants also tackled body positivity, specifically examining how America Ferrera's character, Carmen, felt about her body. The moment took place in a dressing room when Carmen's soon-to-be-stepmother condescendingly picks out a dress for her that is sure not to fit. Carmen's response is iconic and totally on point: “We can just tell everybody that Carmen’s Puerto Rican and it never occurred to you that she might be built differently. Or that unlike you and your daughter, she has an ass.” It's a great moment that addresses casual racism as well as body positivity, two topics that often intermix. 

Little Miss Sunshine

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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According to a 2015 study by Common Sense Media, 80 percent of 10-year-old girls have been on a diet. This important notion that everyone needs body positivity, even children, is key to Little Miss Sunshine, a movie full of moments that will make you feel better about yourself no matter how old you are. One of the most important scenes came towards the end of the film, when 7-year-old Olive (Abigail Breslin) asks Miss California if she eats ice cream. The fact that Miss California says yes and still looks gorgeous is incredibly important for Olive, especially after being told by her father that ice cream is full of fat and that this becomes the fat in her body. Olive learns to love herself, even if she doesn't perfectly fit in with the other pageant girls, and also learns that you can look beautiful no matter what you eat. 

Bachelorette

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The main plot of Bachelorette sees Regan (Kirsten Dunst) joining two other friends to celebrate the wedding of their friend Becky (Rebel Wilson), even though Regan is secretly envious of Becky for getting married even though she is fat. Though a comedy, the movie discusses many important body positive messages: Much of the movie is focused around Regan and Becky's various feelings about their own bodies, having both suffered from eating disorders in high school. The best moment of body positivity comes when Regan gets over her jealousy and supports Becky who is feeling worried about what people think of her as compared to her fiancé. Becky is able to accept that she is beautiful and that her fiancé loves her and chose her, and that's all that should matter.

Hairspray

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Hairspray is the ultimate musical about body positivity. The soundtrack itself is full of lyrics that evoke body positivity, one of the most important being Queen Latifah's song "Big, Blonde and Beautiful," which says:

They say that white has might and thin is in
Well, that's just bull
'Cause ladies, big is back, and as for black
It's beautiful

Almost everyone in the movie learns to love themselves and embrace the body they have. 

These are just a few of the many body positive moments that have been shown in film and on television. There is still so much work to be done, as can be seen with the creation of shows like Insatiable, which totally miss the point. Here's to hoping body positivity is on its way to becoming the norm.

This was published as a part of The Most Real: Sex, Wellness, and Bodies, our answer to your questions (and, let's be real, our questions) about everything sexual health and wellness. Tampons, strap-ons, first time sex, ingrown bikini hairs, why you poop so much when you're on your period - we're getting real. Get real with us. Join the convo using #HCMostReal, and tagging @HerCampus.