Social media is a tricky space. In the last few years, it’s become incredibly popular to preach about body confidence, quitting the comparison game and being confident in your own skin, but this is side-by-side with endless content that still portrays a certain look as ‘ideal’ – slim, White, in work out gear, slightly sweaty but still cute, while holding a green smoothie, accompanied by 11,736 double-taps. Diversity is something that’s much easier to hashtag than achieve. However, there are more than a few content creators now working double-time to drill in the message that we don’t all look alike and that is absolutely darn fine.
This is where Lainey Molnar comes in. An avid body positivity advocate and a women empowerment illustrator, she believes showing people what diversity should really look like, rather than just talking about it, is a powerful thing. With Lainey’s art, it goes way past body image; she addresses social issues such as the stigma against women who are unmarried, choose not to have children, opt for a life devoted to building a career or successful business, raising families on their own; women who have been harassed, assaulted, lost spouses, lost children; women who are of various sexual orientations, faiths, dealing with mental health challenges, trying to find themselves, chosen the road less travelled; you-name-it.
The female experience – beyond what number the labels on our clothes read – is such a varied one and even in 2021, it can still be difficult to have society honour that, putting a strain on our work lives, relationships, marriages, finances and so many of our choices. The importance of artists and advocates like Lainey, through seemingly simple posts on a timeline, is essential in the fight for self-love, equality and respect.
The message behind her work can be summed up beautifully with this Instagram caption: “The only thing a woman should be is happy.” No truer words, really.