Every day, curvy women are reminded the journey to inclusivity is an uphill battle. 

From fat-shaming tweets to insulting advertisements, plus-size people truly can't catch a break. 

photo: Giphy

It might seem like body positivity has a long way to go — and it does — but it's important to remember we've actually come a long way, as well.

The late 1990s and early 2000s broke major ground when it came to encouraging women to be successful, independent, and sexually liberated. But "body positivity" (if you can even call it that) at the turn of the millennium was a joke. 

In fact, it didn't even really exist.

In the early 2000s, this was the "ideal" body type presented by the media:

Paris Hilton body type early 2000s
photo: Getty

Before everyone sought "Kardashian curves," women were told they needed to be thin with flat tummies and jutting hip bones.

Any body type that was even *slightly* bigger than the ideal was immediately deemed "fat."

Alicia Silverstone FHM
photo: FHM February 2000 issue

Take Alicia Silverstone, for example: Throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, the "Clueless" star was mercilessly body shamed by the press and the public — even though she maintained a healthy, arguably-thin frame.

In a 2009 interview with MTV News, Silverstone recalled being known as the "fat girl."

"They yelled nasty things," Silverstone said about the harassment she received as she rose to fame.

"I wasn't fat at all, but if I am considered fat then what kind of example are they setting?"

When it came to featuring plus-size bodies on-screen, Drew Barrymore was basically the curviest woman viewers got to see in a lead role.

Drew Barrymore Never Been Kissed
photo: 20th Century Fox

Like Silverstone, Barrymore had a healthy, average-sized body. But that didn't stop the media from poking fun at her "baby fat" well into her 30s. 

Plus-size women were always the friend, never the star.

Melissa McCarthy on Gilmore Girls
photo: Warner Bros.

In an attempt to add some body diversity to their projects, sometimes directors would cast fuller-figured women as the "chubby, funny friend" — but the lead roles were almost always reserved for thinner actresses. 

Fat figures only got screen time when films or shows needed a comedic boost.

photo: Giphy

On "Friends," all the lead female characters were rail-thin, able-bodied New Yorkers. 

But on occasion, Courteney Cox would put on a fat suit and become "Fat Monica."

"Fat Monica" served a simple purpose: to make everyone laugh at how unattractive and undesirable Monica was when she was heavier.

Puns weren't necessary — fat bodies were sadly enough of a joke on their own.

photo: Giphy

Instead of body positivity, the early 2000s focused heavily on diet culture.

Bridget Jones DIary
photo: Universal Pictures

As the top of Bridget Jones' diary entry shows, it was all about the number on the scale. (And here, that number was 136 lbs.)

Diet culture was truly everywhere...

People weight loss magazine covers
photo: People

... from movies...

photo: Giphy

... to magazines.

2000s weight loss magazine covers
photo: Marie Claire

Outside of the media, mainstream fashion also shared the same obsession with thinness.

dELiA*s ads early 2000s
photo: dELiA*s

Did plus-size fashion even exist in the early 2000s? (Answer: Not really. The options were scarce.)

If you wanted to shop at most stores in the mall, you needed to diet.

But at the same time, women weren't allowed to be *too* skinny.

too skinny tabloid
photo: Us Weekly

If celebrities dieted too hard, they were branded as "anorexic" or "sickly-looking."

Women had to be skinny without being too skinny — a nearly impossible feat. 

Then in 2007, Tyra Banks told everyone to "kiss her fat ass."

photo: Giphy

10 years ago, paparazzi snapshots of Banks in a one-piece swimsuit plastered the covers of nearly every tabloid. Headlines ranged from "Thigh-ra Banks" to "America's Next Top Waddle" to "Tyra Porkchops" — all poking fun at Banks' alleged weight gain. 

But rather than let the fat-phobic media win, Banks put her striped swimsuit back on and waltzed onto the stage of her talk show to deliver a fiery speech to her body-shamers. 

"I have something to say to all of you that have something nasty to say about me or other women who are built like me," Banks began. "Women whose names you know, women whose names you don't, women who've been picked on, women whose husbands put them down, women at work or girls in school.

"I have one thing to say to you: Kiss my fat ass."

All anyone could talk about was Banks' revolutionary moment.

Tyra Banks Kiss My Fat Ass People cover
photo: People

Her speech worked: After weeks of being mocked, Banks' "fat body" was suddenly praised for breaking major barriers. 

But even at her heaviest, there's no denying the former model was still a slender woman. She spoke for women who felt the crushing pressure to stay below a certain weight, but where was the voice for women who weighed over 161 pounds? The voice for women with deformities? The voice for women with stretch marks and cellulite? The voice for women who weren't as "conventionally attractive" as Banks?

The modern-day body positive movement finally started coming together near the end of the decade.

Glamour Lizzi Miller photo
photo: Glamour

In 2009, Glamour published this now-iconic photo of 20-year-old Lizzi Miller letting out a confident laugh, paying no mind to her "offending" stomach roll and visible stretch marks. 

Finally — an unretouched, relatable body in the center of a highly-regarded fashion magazine.

It was a beautiful image that spoke to so many women, and many people credit this photo as one of the "groundbreaking moments" following Banks' speech that spearheaded the body positive movement as we know it today. 

Today's body-pos movement isn't perfect.

Movies still typecast plus-size women. Stores and fashion brands still aren't as inclusive as they should be. The list is seemingly endless.

But even with all its flaws, body positivity has come a long way since the toxic diet culture of the 2000s.