Caroline Bresnahan

Photo provided by Caroline Bresnahan

Today’s Shero Spotlight is Caroline Bresnahan! Caroline is a content creator who has created her Instagram platform with the intention of promoting body positivity and fat liberation and body neutrality. Over the years, she has accumulated a large social media following and has partnered with brands like Fabletics, Birchbox and Adore Me. Caroline’s Instagram is incredibly inspiring and promotes such an inclusive environment and I’m so excited to have her on the blog today!

What sparked your interest in the body positivity movement?
Well, I definitely grew up fat my whole life, like I was a chubby kid, but I have always also loved fashion. I fell into the body positive and more specifically, the fat positive community on Instagram four or five years ago now, when I started my page. It was something that was pretty personal; I had just been sending my mom pictures of my outfits via text that I was wearing to teach and then I just wanted to post it somewhere else but not on my personal page, because that didn’t feel right. So I just made a separate page and I posted there for like, two years. It was just somewhere to kind of journal my outfits. But then in 2019, I started posting a little bit more often, and engaging with other qualified content creators and messaging people and really surrounding myself with people who were unapologetically themselves.That’s when my page started to grow and with that growth, came a lot of education and exposure to body positive culture.

Why do you think this movement is so necessary for young people?
I think it’s a complicated situation that shouldn’t be; it should be so simple. But, when you’re wrapped up in it, when you are still embedded in diet culture and you are only seeing the images that are presented to you in the media and in magazines and billboards, it’s hard to know that there’s more out there, and that there’s a place for each one of us out there as well. 

I think that we’re kind of taught our whole lives that our purpose is to be small and to be nice for someone else’s consumption and I think if we can reach girls, and just people in general, and we can reach kids earlier and let them know that you can live a full and successful life regardless of your size, or your looks, or whether you fit the mold that society has made for us, that you can thrive. I think that there would be a lot less sadness and depression and anxiety because I know that’s a lot where those feelings stem from. But, I also want to make sure that I’m touching on fat liberation, and with that comes accessibility for fat people and actually feeling welcomed in the world. 

What sort of things do you look for in a brand when you’re approached about a partnership?
So this is something that I have been interrogating myself on a little bit more recently. I think the more I learned about influencer culture, content creation and stuff, I’ve realized that a “yes,” to a partnership can mean as much as a “no” to a partnership. My process right now is I’ll go look at the page and I want to see diversity in all forms, from physical ability to size inclusion to racial inclusion, or at least an effort toward that. If I go to someone’s page and it is all size two white women, it’s the same mold of every other thing I’ve ever seen, that is going to be something I bring up in my conversation with that brand before I accept a partnership. Because while I think a lot of brands are using influencers and content creators as their move toward inclusion, I think it’s really important that they are also putting in the effort and the work to make their product inclusive. 

What sort of impact do you hope your Instagram has on the community?
I think this is something that can get lost if you don’t pay attention to it because it’s so easy to get caught up in numbers and payment and partnerships. But, every once in a while, I get a message that will bring me back to exactly why I’m here and it’s what the Internet did for me; I think I’ve always had a certain amount of confidence, but there is a time in middle school or high school where you start being able to perceive yourself from others’ point of view, which I think made me a little bit shaky in my confidence, because I was recognizing that I didn’t fit the mold. But then to find this community of fat women and men and people of every gender just absolutely thriving and living every day unapologetically and wearing the clothes they want and having these hard conversations made me feel empowered to do the same. I know when I was first engaging with these communities as well it was because I wanted to online shop, but I wanted to see the clothes on my body first … I think ultimately, that was the final push where I realized I can be that representation for someone and so I hope to have that impact for someone else and to make them feel empowered to wear what they want and live how they want and to be gentle with themselves and just thrive because you deserve it.

What advice would you give to young people on social media?
I think my main piece of advice for any person is if you’re on social media, you have to diversify your feed. That was important to me, to see people who looked like me thriving, but then also to take the next step and find people who don’t look like you and who don’t look like the women in movies, on TV and in magazines. You know, people with different skin conditions, with different ability levels, with different sized bodies and shaped bodies and different races and hair types. That has been this amazing thing because I feel like I have completely rewired my brain by seeing so many different things that I find beautiful. It changes your everyday outlook and how you see people and how you see yourself. 

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As a senior studying magazine journalism at Ohio University and a passionate feminist, I created Freely Femme as a way to use my love for storytelling to highlight some of the most inspirational women in my personal life and beyond.

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