Travel inspired social media for women is a double edged sword.
Instagram accounts that encourage women to travel, see the world and have adventures are an ultimately positive thing, but the serious lack of diversity in body shapes on many of these accounts mean that a lot of the time, they can cause as much insecurity as they do inspiration.
The Instagram Fat Girls Traveling was set up by Californian born stylist Annette Richmond, in response to the lack of promotions and literature in the travel industry that is aimed towards plus size women. The account celebrates and gives a visible platform to larger women, in order to fight back against the current narrow minded dialogue that only features women of a certain size and look.
The profile started out its life as a simple hashtag #FatGirlsTraveling, created by Annette in response to the fact that a fat woman in a wanderlust post looked out of place, when it shouldn't.
“I rarely see girls that look like me — fat girls — featured on [major travel profiles]. But when I travel I see fat girls traveling," Annette said in an interview. “I’m out here traveling and I’m seeing the world — I know we’re out here. But I feel like these bigger profiles or companies don’t feature curvy or fat girls."
As the hashtag gained more and more likes, she realised that there was a large group of women feeling underrepresented just like her, and set up a separate account. FGT gives a platform for fat women on their travels, quickly gaining over 1,700 followers and inspiring a Facebook group, which now has over 1,000 members, for women to chat and discuss experiences online.
With the FGT community quickly growing and other groups such a Fat Girls Hiking appearing online also, the power has been taken by force by the body positive community by force, and they're going to use to create their own narrative.
“I want this to be a community where we can talk about our issues and about the things we’re going through while traveling, in our daily lives, in our relationships, even just to vent," Richmond said.
“It’s for women to have a shoulder to lean on and for women who are experiencing the same thing to feel less alone."