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Inspiring Women Who Are Redefining Body Standards

Meghan Trainor

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It’s one of the year's biggest hits, but despite the doo-wop melody and catchy tune, Trainor’s “All About That Bass” isn’t your typical pop song. With lyrics like "Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top," the song is intended as a celebration of women of all shapes—from size 2 to 22.

“My producer and I wanted to do a fun song, so we thought why not do a song about loving yourself and loving your body, because I don’t think girls love themselves as much as they should,” Trainor explains in a YouTube interview. “It’s a fun, playful song about loving yourself, loving your body, loving your insecurities, and having fun with it.” And judging by the song’s massive (and still growing) popularity, this is the pop music that all women want—and deserve—to hear.

Photo: therealcape.com

Tasha Copley

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Copley, a photographer from Orlando, FL, uses her own body to question what exactly an “ideal body” looks like in her recent art installation, Franchise: The Ideal Woman. In the exhibit, she and her artist fiancé displayed a mirror with the question, “What do you see when you look in the mirror?” written above it. On either side of the mirror hung two portraits of Copley: one marked with plastic surgery “guidelines,” and the other displaying Copley’s confidence and natural, womanly beauty.

The installation also invited viewers to write down “something they find beautiful about themselves” and drop it in a box. Check out the couple's Instagram account, where they post some of the most inspiring responses to the prompt, ranging from “my freckles” to “my youth, despite my age.”

Photo: instagram.com/cantstoptheidealwoman

Elisa and Lily of StyleLikeU

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Turned off by the unattainable images and homogeneity of the traditional fashion world, Elisa, a former stylist, created StyleLikeU with her daughter Lily. The aim is to provide a space for people to celebrate their personal style and show that true fashion can’t be reduced to a “trend, price tag, or air-brushed photograph." But personal style isn't all the mother-daughter pair champion on their site.

In "The What’s Underneath Project," the duo produces a video series featuring women who remove their clothes as they reveal their true selves, their personal stories, and their struggles with body image. Two inspiring episodes to watch: Tallulah Willis, daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, who talks about her with issues with self-esteem and body dysmorphia, and Melanie Gaydos (pictured above), a model who has a genetic disorder called ectodermal dysplasia, which affects her hair, pores, teeth, and nails.

Photo: StyleLikeU

Meaghan Kausman

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When Australian model Kausman participated in an underwater photo shoot, she couldn’t wait to see how the photographs would turn out. What she wasn’t prepared to see: The highly photoshopped image that the swimwear brand uploaded to their Instagram page. She took to Instagram to post the original alongside the altered version and express her opinion: “They drastically altered my body, thinning out my stomach and thighs in an attempt to box me in to the cultural ideal of beauty. My body is a size 8, not a size 4,” she proudly wrote. Kausman’s reaction has received worldwide attention and international kudos for her refusal to fit into a stereotypical vision of beauty.

Photo: instagram.com/meagsk

Moms of Edmonton

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When mother of five Tanis Jex-Blake went to the beach this summer with her family, she heard a group of teens laugh at her stretchmarks and call her “disgusting.” Understandably disturbed, Jex-Blake took to social media to express her thoughts, and after her photo and message went viral, support flooded in. One awesome response to her fat-shaming: Dozens of moms stripped down to bikinis on streets of her hometown in Edmonton, using the hashtag #BareYourBelly for the photos they posted. "We really want people to realize that they should be loving their body for what it can do rather than how it looks, because our bodies are amazing," bikini-clad mom Kristin Heimbecker told Fox. "They grow babies. We run marathons. We do all these amazing things, and all we care about it is how it looks."

Photo: twitter.com/amandactv

Harvard Women's Rugby Team

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If you've ever watched a rugby match, you know it's not a sport for the faint of heart. And with that tough training comes tough, strong, and beautiful athletes, as demonstrated by these badass players on the Harvard Women's Rubgy Team. The teammates celebrated their powerful thighs, strong stomachs, and ripped arms—all the muscles that enable them to dominate on the field—by writing positive adjectives on one another's bodies in an inspiring series of photographs on their blog, Rugged Grace.

As they write on the blog, "We decided to have players write their favorite things about other players physically on their bodies to demonstrate the immense body positivity, encouragement of strength and utility, and the overall supportive nature of this team." Never wonder again if strong is really sexy—these girls prove it's the truth, once and for all.

Photo: ruggedgrace.tumblr.com