WOMEN
12/30/2016 10:18 am ET

21 Moments In 2016 That Reminded Us To Love Our Bodies More

Because body positivity is for everyone 💕
Body love looks good on you. 
Getty Images/Huffington Post Illustration
Body love looks good on you. 

One thing 2016 got right? Body love.

From body-positive activists speaking out on social media to badass women owning the Olympics and even a big guy taking over the dudeoir scene ― this year was full of body positivity and self love.

To celebrate the body image progress made in 2016, HuffPost Women rounded up 21 of the best body image moments we were honored to witness. Scroll below to see some of our favorites. 

  • Refinery29 Launched A Body Diversity Campaign Called The 67% Project
    Launched in September,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/10-photos-represent-the-67-of-women-we-dont-see-enou
    Alexandra Gavillet/Refinery29 for Getty Images
    Launched in September, The 67% Project is a multi-media initiative promoting body positivity and plus-size visibility, both across Refinery29 and the general media and fashion landscape.

    The campaign’s name refers to the 67 percent of American women -- or the “invisible majority” -- who are plus size but are so rarely seen in ads, on billboards, in stock photos, in magazines and on runways. 

    As part of the campaign, R29 partnered with Getty Images to create a collection of stock photos that truly represent the 67 percent. Head here to see more of those photos. 
  • Carrie Fisher Shut Down Hollywood's Obsession With With Women's Appearances
    In a January 2016 interview with <a href="http://www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/lifestyle/gh-women-celebrity-interviews/carrie-fi
    Jared Siskin via Getty Images
    In a January 2016 interview with Good Housekeeping, the late Fisher revealed she was pressured to lose weight for her role in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." 

    "They don’t want to hire all of me -- only about three-quarters! Nothing changes: it’s an appearance-driven thing," Fisher said. "I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance... They might as well say get younger, because that’s how easy it is."

    She added that beauty should not be treated like an accomplishment. "Everyone in LA says, 'Oh you look good,' and you listen for them to say you’ve lost weight," Fisher said. "It’s never 'How are you?' or 'You seem happy!'"
  • Movemeant Foundation Created A Campaign Encouraging Women To Embrace Their #BellyJelly
    In November, body-positive company Movemeant Foundation published an ad that told women to embrace their "belly jelly" when they work out. 

    And it was simply awesome. Watch the full spot here
  • #BigGuyTwitter Highlighted Some Really Hot Big Guys
    In May, North Carolina teacher Mike Byrd created the hashtag #BigGuyTwitter “as my way of saying embrace who you are and love who you are," he told The Huffington Post. 

    "I know there’s a population of women out there who look at big guys favorably, so I was like, why not?" Byrd said. "We can be masculine -- we don’t have abs, we’re not the most ripped guys, so just enjoy it and love who we are."

    We are all about this. 
  • Instagram Launched Body-Positive Initiative #PerfectlyMe

    A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

    In partnership with Seventeen Magazine, Instagram created #PerfectlyMe in October. The initiative aims to celebrate the strength and diversity of communities that have formed on the social media platform since 2010.

    As part of the campaign, Instagram hopes to actively promote positive body image and self-love using the hashtag #PerfectlyMe. Users can post photos of themselves with the hashtag to show their support for body positivity and self-confidence.

    "Growing up with a disability, I developed a lot of coping mechanisms early in life -- detaching from my body, always smiling no matter what I was experiencing on the inside, never admitting sadness or shame," Rebekah Taussig wrote in a post featured on Instagram's main page. "With time -- so much time -- I’ve been working to shift that burden of acceptance to myself. Accepting myself frees me up to actually experience life -- to use this instrument I’m living in."
  • #ThighsForJeaux Helped Women Around The World Love Their Thighs
    Created by South Africa-based Twitter user Mixo, the hashtag encourages women to share photos of their thighs on Twitter in a powerful act of body love. The hashtag created a space where women -- specifically black women -- can embrace their thighs. 

    Women from around the world shared photos of their thighs and the hashtag trended in South Africa and around the world. Head here to see more beautiful photos. 
  • A Diverse Group Of Women Put On Their Own Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
    A group of wonderfully-diverse women decided to walk in their own Victoria's Secret fashion show -- just without those unattainable body standards.

    The video, which was produced by BuzzFeed, is an awesome reminder that you don't have to be tall, white and thin to rock a runway. Watch the full video here
  • The Vulva Gallery Opened
    Created by illustrator Hilde Atalanta, the Vulva Gallery is a collection of illustrations that celebrate the vulva in all its glorious diversity.

    "All vulvas are amazing and beautiful just the way they are," Atalanta told The Huffington Post in November. 

    We could not agree more. 
  • This Husky Dudeoir Model Stole Our Hearts For Good
    Joshua Varozza -- a&nbsp;bail bondsman turned dudeoir model -- may be the winner of 2016.<br><br>Varozza and photograph Tami
    Joshua Varozza -- a bail bondsman turned dudeoir model -- may be the winner of 2016.

    Varozza and photograph Tami Bears teamed up to create three memorable dudeoir shoots: one cowboy-themed, one merman-themed and the most recent is holiday-themed

    Lookin' good, big guy. 
  • #CelluliteSaturday Became Our New Favorite Hashtag

    A photo posted by Kenzie Brenna (@omgkenzieee) on

    In October, body-positive activist Kenzie Brenna created the hashtag #CelluliteSaturday to help normalize the dimples and lumps so many women have on their bodies, but are too embarrassed to show off.

    “Cellulite is normal. And the beauty industry capitalizes on saying we need it removed," Brenna wrote on Instagram, adding in another post: "This message is for women who crave acceptance, self-love and want appreciation for their bodies as they exist right now." 

    Preach. 
  • Amber Riley Told Body-Shamers To Let Her 'Big Ass Live!'

    A video posted by Amber Riley (@msamberpriley) on

    Recovering from dental surgery in May, "Glee" actress Amber Riley took a moment to respond to some haters. 

    In a video posted to Instagram she said: "Why does me being fat offend so many people? Is it because I’m confident, I’m fly, and I’m sexy? Why? Why? Let my big ass live."

    Hell. Yes. Amber.
  • A Photo Campaign Offered An Honest Perspective On Women's Relationships With Their Bodies
    Created by <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/242281258/underneath-we-are-women/creator_bio" target="_blank">Austr
    Created by Australian photographer Amy D. Herrmann, the Kickstarter campaign titled “Underneath We Are Women” featured photographs of 100 women in their underwear proudly showing off their bodies and the different physical and mental hardships each woman has endured.

    “I wanted to create a project that was as much about the diversity of women’s bodies as it was about the stories behind those people,” Herrmann said.

    More of this, please. 
  • A Stunning Photo Of A Nude Older Couple Went Viral
    In June, photographer Jade Beall posted one of her photos to Facebook and it instantly went viral. The image features an older interracial couple who have been together for over 20 years, naked and embracing one another.

    "These elder bodies: the temples to decades of wisdom, heartbreak, strength, failure, triumph, THRIVING," Beall wrote in the caption. "How, I wonder, could they be anything but beautiful?"
  • Serena Williams Said She Would 'Never Change Anything' About Her Body
    For the <a href="http://www.self.com/story/serena-williams-september-cover-interview" target="_blank">August 2016 cover of <i
    Jacopo Raule via Getty Images
    For the August 2016 cover of Self Magazine, tennis superstar Serena Williams was all about that body love. 

    "I love my body, and I would never change anything about it," Williams said. "I'm not asking you to like my body. I'm just asking you to let me be me. Because I'm going to influence a girl who does look like me, and I want her to feel good about herself."

    Round of applause for Serena.
  • Plus-Sized Women Reminded The World They #WearWhatWeWant
    In July, 23-year-old model and blogger Simone Mariposa created the hashtag #WeWearWhatWeWant to highlight plus-size women wearing outfits that society often deems “unacceptable” for bigger women.  

    “#WeWearWhatWeWant symbolizes women building their confidence, and loving themselves enough to break the mold and challenge the societal norms of what’s ‘acceptable’ for big women to do,” Mariposa told The Huffington Post. 

    Head here to see more beautiful photos from the #WearWhatWeWant hashtag. 
  • Indian Women Smashed The Stereotype That Strong Isn’t Feminine
    In a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/these-strong-women-are-the-definition-of-sexy_us_5730ccd3e4b016f378967c6f?u
    In a May 2016 photoshoot for Elle India, seven women showed off their badass muscles. “I have my curves, breasts and hips, and I’m still a woman -- just a very strong one,” Natasha Noel, a 23-year-old yoga instructor who used to be chastised for not looking “feminine” enough, told The Huffington Post.

    Head here to see more pictures from the shoot. 
  • Danielle Brooks And Gabourey Sidibe Showed Some Serious Body Love In Campaign Ad
    For Lane Bryant’s fall 2016 campaign #ThisBody, actresses Danielle Brooks and Gabourey Sidibe teamed up with models Candice Huffine, Ashley Graham and Alessandra Garcia to promote some seriously awesome body positivity. In the short ad, all five women dance around in their underwear proudly showing off their curves. 

    Way to slay, ladies. 
  • This Burn Survivor Showed Off Her Scars To Inspire Body Love
    Beauty vlogger Shalom Nchom posted a video on YouTube in February to demonstrate how important self love is, whether you find it through wearing makeup or not.

    “Makeup shouldn’t make you happy,” she said. “It’s something that you should just love doing. Now I love myself for who I am. Makeup doesn’t make me happy.”

    Head here to watch the full YouTube video. 
  • Women Kicked Some Serious Ass At The Rio Olympics
    From gymnast Simone Biles flipping her way into history books to swimmers Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel breaking records le
    Getty Images
    From gymnast Simone Biles flipping her way into history books to swimmers Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel breaking records left and right -- it's safe to say women muscled their way through the Olympics. And it was absolutely glorious

    As shot putter Michelle Carter told The New Yorker right before the Olympics: "You have to understand everyone’s body was built to do something,” the Olympics gold-medalist said. “I was built to do something, and that’s how I was built. I think the world is realizing we were promoting one body type and there have always been many.”

    More of this, please. 
  • Ashley Graham Got Her Very Own Barbie
    In November, plus-size model and body-positive activist <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ashley-graham-barbie_us_
    Matt Winkelmeyer via Getty Images
    In November, plus-size model and body-positive activist Ashley Graham helped design a Barbie in her likeness. “If I had a Barbie that was my size, I would have thought my size was normal," Graham said. "Young girls now get to grow up seeing that their bodies are normal, which I think is so empowering and encouraging to the younger generation.”

    Her only request was that her Barbie's thighs touch: "I was like, ‘Guys, we can make this Barbie, but if her thighs don’t touch, she’s not authentic.'" 

    Le duh. 
  • One Mom Posted Powerful Photos Of Her ‘Stretch Marks And Imbalanced Breasts’

    A photo posted by Haddas Ancliffe (@dahs) on

    Australian mom blogger Haddas Ancliffe is known for her raw and honest body-positive posts -- and 2016 was no different. 

    "So glad I'm not concerned with 'flaws' showing anymore," Ancliffe wrote in a March 2016 Instagram post. "Enjoy your sun dresses, crop tops and shorts that squish your cute marshmallow thighs out when you sit down! You deserve to bask in the warmth of the sun as much as anyone else." 
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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Celebs Who've Said Amazing Things About Body Image
CONVERSATIONS