The internet is not always the best place to hang out these days. Many of the trends that make their way across the internet don't reflect healthy attitudes. Every once in a while, though, a trend comes along that is born out of a genuine desire to improve the mental health of those who participate in it. In recent weeks, it's that kind of trend that has been dominant on TikTok.
What is the Normalize Normal Bodies trend on TikTok?
In recent years, body positivity has become much more common across social media. On Instagram especially, women have come to embrace their curves, whatever size they might be. More recently, though, a related trend has also taken shape that's designed for women who may have felt excluded by earlier discussions of body positivity. The Normalize Normal Bodies trend is exactly what it sounds like.
The trend is meant for women who don't see themselves neatly fitting into either the skinny or curvy category. These women often find that their body types aren't represented in media, which is why the trend's founder, Mik Zazon, started using the hashtag in the first place. Now, the trend has spread to platforms like TikTok, where users have embraced it in order to show off their own bodies.
Normalize Normal Bodies is about giving space for women in the middle.
"The body-positive movement is specifically for people who have marginalized bodies," Mik said in an interview with Shape. "But I do feel like there's some space to give women with 'normal bodies' more of a voice." Although the trend is all about self-love and self-acceptance, Mik was also quick to acknowledge that a term like "normal" can carry a lot of different meanings with it.
"Being 'normal-sized' means something different to everyone," she said. "But I want women to know that if you don't fall into the plus-size, athletic, or straight-sized categories, you deserve to be a part of the body-positivity movement, too." On top of that, it's important to acknowledge the way that bodies change over time, and while those changes are often accepted in men, that's not always the case for women.
"I've lived in so many different bodies throughout my life," Mik said. "This movement is my way of reminding women that you're allowed to show up as you are. You don't have to fit into a mold or category to feel comfortable and confident in your skin. All bodies are 'normal' bodies."
The trend has caught fire across social media.
Since it first hit earlier this year, women on platforms like Instagram and TikTok have consistently posted about how proud they are of the body that they live in. "From a young age, we are lead to believe that our body isn’t beautiful enough, or enough at all," one user wrote, capitalizing on the hashtag. "But hé, she is not an object for other’s pleasure or to be restrained to fit society’s beauty standards. Your body holds many qualities. Qualities far beyond size and shape."