If you thought YouTube was all about beauty tutorials and fashion hauls, look again. Behind the camera, there are some incredible YouTubers sharing their inspirational stories of strength and recovery, and your winner is…
Recovered anorexic Megan Jayne Crabb is on a mission to shatter the ‘not good enough mentality we’ve all been taught about our bodies’. After her incredible journey overcoming her eating disorder to finally reach self-love, Megan regularly posts unfiltered selfies to her 273k Instagram followers - belly rolls and all. Megan uses social media to support those who feel pressure conform to society’s beauty standards or are struggling with eating disorders themselves, making her one of body positivity’s brightest voices.
Tell us a bit about your journey…
I’ve had body image issues for as long as I can remember. I was 5 years old, comparing myself to the other girls at school and thinking I was too fat, started dieting at 10 and was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at 14. Even after I was pronounced ‘recovered’, I was crash dieting, binge eating and struggling with exercise addiction.
How did you find body positivity?
Scrolling through Instagram looking for thigh gaps, I stumbled across a body positive account and found all these women of all shapes and sizes. It woke me up – I realised that I didn’t have to hate myself for the rest of my life. The best part is connecting with people and realising you’re not alone.
Last week I asked you all to tell me how body positivity has changed your life, and your answers filled my heart up. I wanted to tell you what body positivity has done for me, and I'll try my best to find the words. For a long time I truly believed I was the only recovered anorexic turned chubby girl in the world. The one who nearly died for thin and now couldn't even stick to a diet. It seemed as if all life would ever be was cycles of starvation and disgust with myself when I couldn't keep it up. For a long time I truly believed I wasn't worth saving, I wasn't worth a thing. Body positivity is the only thing that ever allowed me to let that girl go. That sad, hollow girl who still followed me around, reminding me of everything I wasn't. She was never who I was supposed to be. I know now that it wasn't her fault, I know now that through her hunger I slowly became who I am today. I know now that I was always worth saving. I know now that we all are. And I promise, I will fight for this until my last breath. I will fight for her, for me, for us. Thank you for fighting with me.
How hard is it to reply to all your Instagram comments?
I never want people to think that I’m this aloof celebrity, because I’m totally not. I sit down and answer them in chunks, but I’m really bad at replying to my inbox messages. It would be a full time job, and I have a job – I care for my older sister who has cerebral palsy.
What’s the biggest myth about digital infleuncers?
I think people have to be aware that it’s a highlight reel. People think that because I’m body positive, I’m never sad or anxious, but that’s not the case for anyone. We’re all just human beings putting our best side out there.
Is being body positive something that comes naturally to you now?
There’s no other way for me now. It wasn’t easy to unlearn everything you’ve ever thought about your body, but once you do, it’s an epiphany. A lot of my body positive power comes from me feeling so angry that I spent so long feeling that way.
Every now and then a man comments on one of these pictures telling me to stop trying to force people to be attracted to me. It's almost as if he believes that a female body should only be seen or celebrated if it's for someone else's sexual pleasure. I spent a long time believing that my body's purpose was making men attracted to me, seeing myself as an object for their consumption. Well guess what? Now I celebrate my body for me. I celebrate my body for all the years I waged war against it. I celebrate my body for every person out there still doing the same and desperately looking for a way out of self hatred. I celebrate my body to show them that it's possible to love their own bodies exactly as they are, belly rolls and all. I know it's shocking that a woman could show her body without it being for the approval of straight men, but trust me, I am not here for that. Seeing bodies in their most natural form shouldn't instantly make us think of sex. Something can be beautiful without being sexual. And thinking that bodies are only useful, beautiful or valuable if they fulfill someone else's needs is fucked up. So keep your attraction, I'm sure as hell not trying to force it out of you. Self love is so much better than anything you could give me. Bra by @dearscantilly
You post a lot of belly-roll pictures…
Belly roll pictures are my favourite thing. My biggest insecurity was always always my stomach, and I was terrified when I posted my first belly roll picture. But the more you look at different body types, the more you realise beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.
So are you comfortable naked?
There was a time in my life where I covered all the mirrors in my house so I wouldn’t have to see myself clothed or naked, but it’s important to feel comfortable in our most natural form. It doesn’t have to be sexual or for anyone else to approve of.
Images: LUKE + NIK
To see all the Project 13 winners, click here