Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece. All recommendations and opinions posted are my own and are not associated with any institutions I am affiliated with.
As summer approaches, we start seeing the dreaded onslaught of magazine covers urging us to be ‘bikini body ready!!!’ and ‘bikini body NOW’ and ‘bikini body in 7 days!!!’ while this may initially be inspiring to some of us, it is detrimental to one’s body image seeing this same celebrity and body shaming rot come at us year after year.
Without realising, we can become more and more self conscious on something as innocent as a family holiday, and all of the media is at fault. Magazines, TV, movies, the depiction of the beach as some kind of playground for flawless people is ruining our image of ourselves.
The funny thing is, having a ‘beach body’ is such an odd theory. You are not a model at the beach. No one is looking at you. There is no runway, you will not be suddenly cast as a big star in a Hollywood movie on the beach, so why are these magazines so hell bent on making us feel bad wearing a damn swimsuit?
Beaches are full of people of all different sizes, shapes and ages. They are there to relax, cool off, swim, sunbathe (don’t though – skin cancer), surf, body board, play beach cricket or a hundred other reasons. Why my body has to be perfect for me to enjoy any of these activities is ridiculous! It hit me how much of an influence these theories have had on me in my life.
Also part of this, tabloids bashing celebrities for not looking perfect at the beach. People are there to enjoy themselves not to feel like they are being judged or criticised. The beach and the pool are there for fun, not as some kind of judgment show.
I’m a city person, and hitting up some beaches over an incredibly beautiful summer holiday, I came to the realisation that avoiding the beach and the pool because your body is not deemed ‘ideal’ by the media is so sad. I thought about how many others have unconsciously let these images and words hurt them, burned into their minds over a period of time. Don’t let these magazines make you feel bad! Put that swimsuit on now and enjoy your life! It doesn’t matter what size or age you are, you deserve a relaxing pool day with your loved ones.
Your body has done incredible things in your life, it is not for the pleasure of others, you do not exist as a walking doll, life is not a catwalk or a modelling show. Time spent worrying about your weight will rule your life if you let it. It’s very sad that even after all these years of health magazines, weight and looks still seem to be the number 1 issue. Weight loss would come naturally if we focused on our internal health, our mental health, our time spent outdoors and other factors. Focusing entirely on how our bodies look create small issues within ourselves that we may not even notice until a catalyst presents itself.
Bikini Bodies do not define a person. We don’t go to the beach or the pool or the water park to be like ‘oh look how good my body is!’ – no one actually cares. All types are allowed to enjoy Summer. It’s as simple as that.
The slow burn of the theory is concerning. Not realising how bad I felt or how self conscious it made me up until so recently shows that it is not omnipresent in our minds. It just kind of sits back there and helps us avoid what could potentially be really fun situations, when certainly, our friends and family do not care what we look like in a swimsuit, they love us!
The Bikini Body Theory ™ is yet another excuse that the fashion industry can use to make you feel bad about yourself, thus allowing yourself to become malleable to advertising, thus becoming willing to spend more. “Buy this! Buy that! It will make you feel better!”
It won’t. What will help you feel better is working hard on that self love and enjoying a day out at the beach with your family and/or friends. Go on! You deserve it!