Izzy Harris shares ten empowering, inspiring and alternative Instagram accounts you need to be following.
In recent years Instagram has fostered a bad reputation for itself. Boasting explore pages filled with fitness models, promoted posts featuring celebrities brandishing their ‘favourite’ detox tea and and a message system that makes it disturbingly easy for some people to send others *cough* inappropriate images, Instagram certainly isn’t everyone’s best friend. That said, we’re all obsessed with it. Who hasn’t nearly missed a deadline because of hours spent procrastinating flicking through the Instagram stories of someone we haven’t seen since they moved schools in year 10? And Instagram certainly isn’t the safest of sites, with research exposing the app as having the worst effect of all social media platforms on the mental health of users. For lots of vulnerable young people, Instagram has become a hotbed of comparison in an age where photo editing is the norm and everyone’s feed seems to show a highlight reel of holidays, perfect relationships and success. But before you go ahead and delete the app (and re-install it next week when you hear about your ex’s shocking new tattoo post) keep reading to meet the Instagram accounts you never knew you needed. Because Instagram can be bad, but it can also be empowering, informative and really really funny. The accounts below are in no particular order as they are equally and immeasurably awesome.
This one is for anyone who loves art and anyone who loves texting, which covers everyone at UCL, right? This mesmerising account takes classic works of art and recycles them, incorporating the notorious blue iMessage text bubbles to create existential memes that none of us want but we all need.
Don’t be deceived by the Insta handle, this account has nothing to do with duvets, or days spent in duvets, or anything you’d associate with either entity. The artist behind Duvet Days actually creates captivating diagrams of reproductive systems, the body and common health conditions using beautiful graphics. Expect to see a uterus made out of a galaxy, a placenta created out of grapefruit and a foreskin made of wild flower petals.
In the last couple of years our screens have been truly blessed by body positive accounts celebrating bodies of every size, shape, colour and ability. If you’re not already following a bunch of body positive accounts, make that your aim! The body positive movement is all about embracing diversity, yet women still dominate the bo-po scene. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – eating disorders, body insecurity and body dysmorphia peak among women – but the truth is that men get body conscious too. That’s why you need to be following Stevie, the male body positive Instagrammer talking loud and proud about what it means to be a guy in a society that tells all men that they have to have to look like Abercrombie models.
The wonder woman behind this account used to be a qualified rocket scientist. Now, Anita van Dyke runs this Instagram account (along with writing books and blog posts) about sustainable living. Hit the follow button if you’re an eco-warrior or if you’re simply looking to do your bit to stop our world turning into the apocalypse. Want to cut down on plastic? Find out about minimalism? Learn about eco-friendly brands and products? Anita is your gal. Plus, her feed is deeply satisfying to browse through.
Continuing the theme of wild life histories, this androgynous activist and model used to fire fight presenting as a male and now describes herself as a ‘gender capitalist’. Looked up to by young people all over the world, Dove challenges gender stereotypes, gender norms and misconceptions on the daily. Having walked in major fashion shows presenting as both female and male, Dove’s account makes you question everything you thought you knew about gender. Still not convinced about political correctness and gender? Follow Dove and see if you change your mind.
This account is run by an anonymous photographer who captures commuter life perfectly by snapping unaware passengers as they travel. The photographs are spellbinding portraits captioned only by the photographer’s thoughts on a single snapshot of a single person in a single moment. This account will make you see your commute differently. You may even have featured already. Go and check it out.
The fashion blogger, YouTuber and Instagrammer combining modest fashion with life as a mother of two and a successful fashion business and bestselling book, Dina Tokio is the Muslim Instagrammer taking social media by storm. Follow her for fashion inspo, a bold and bright feed, plenty of laughter and her own merchandise line that’s not only bang on trend but features her adorable cat, Choji.
With almost one million followers, Mari Andrews isn’t short of appreciation, yet this New York based artist continues to share her heart-warming and heart-breaking illustrations with her audience as if sharing her work with her friends. Mari’s art showcases her experience with dating, jobs, travel and loss as a young woman in a big city in the most creative, relatable way. And she’s not just a wizard with a paintbrush and pen; most of the illustrations feature captions and comments that will make you laugh and cry. If you’re looking for a colourful but meaningful addition to your Insta feed, this is the account to follow.
Rhea is a YouTuber that has seen her subscriber count soar in recent weeks, let alone months. Her Instagram account features highlights of her YouTube videos where she rants and raves about things that drive us all up the wall (I’m talking noisy eaters, cheating ex-partners, Apple store employees and expensive trash from Urban Outfitters). Rhea doesn’t just rant on behalf of us all, but she does it in the most hilarious way possible. Click follow to see her do her thing.
I said these accounts weren’t in any order, but if truth be told I saved the best until last. Introducing Pumpkin the raccoon. This queen of the forest is a rescued raccoon enjoying her best life with her forever parents. She feasts on blueberries and avocado. She lives in a beautifully decorated blue and white home. She hangs out with rescue dogs and lives in the Bahamas. This raccoon is living a better life than all of us. All hail the trash queen.