Personally, I’m not a big fan of bikinis. I much prefer those one-piece retro bathing suits. There are two reasons for that. One: I love vintage inspired fashion. And two: I detest a tan, so the less of my skin is exposed to the sun, the better. So why am I writing this post? Because now that spring is here, magazines have started again to bombard us with articles on how to achieve that perfect bikini body for the summer holidays. And it infuriates me.
The whole idea of a bikini body is bullshit. The words bikini body imply that only bodies that adhere to a certain standard of beauty should be allowed to wear one, while everyone else should hide theirs under layers of clothes in disgrace for failing to achieve that impossible ideal. And that’s not true. We already have a bikini body, all of us. Put on a bikini and you have a bikini body. It’s as simple as that. Or at least it should be. But for many women it isn’t.
And that’s understandable. It’s very difficult to feel comfortable in our own skin when we are constantly exposed to images of beautiful, thin and tall models and celebrities who look perfect all the time, and are always reminded that wrinkles, cellulite, stretch-marks, body hair and any other “flaw” are the worst sins a woman could ever commit. The message is clear: if you’re not perfect, you’re worthless, and you have no business going to the beach (or even just stepping out of the house, really).
The media seems to think that the sole purpose of wearing a bikini is to show off your body to the world, so that people can enjoy looking at it or criticize it, and not because you simply enjoy wearing one or because you find it prettier than a one-piece swimsuit. This insane way of thinking only reduces women into objects, into body parts to be looked at, and into empty shells. But our bodies are so much more than that. Our bodies allow us to move, to feel, to laugh, to dance, to smile, to embrace and to enjoy life.
They may not be perfect, but they show what we went through in life. Stretch marks and not-flat tummies may be reminders that you have had children, while scars are signs that you survived an accident, for instance. Our bodies should be celebrated, not hated. Every flaw, every imperfection is what makes us unique. We all come in different shapes and sizes and went through different experiences that have changed us both mentally and physically. We shouldn’t be ashamed of that. Remember, there is no one just like you. Embrace it. And besides can you imagine how boring the world would be if we all looked the same?
Of course, it’s normal to feel a bit anxious when you’re wearing a bikini. After all, you’re pretty much naked. You feel exposed. You feel like everyone’s looking at you, at your cellulite, or at your stretch marks, pointing out your imperfections and criticising you. But if you stop panicking for a moment and look around, you will see that not only no one looks like a supermodel (hey, even supermodels don’t look like supermodels when you take away photoshop and their army of stylists, makeup artists, plastic surgeons… ), but also that people are actually too busy doing their own thing to stare at you anyway.
People are buys playing or chatting with their friends, swimming, reading or whatever. Every now and then, someone may look at you, but chances are that they do so because they like your swimsuit or your haircut. But nobody is judging you. And if you should meet someone who does, then they are a jerk and you should ignore their opinion. Easier said than done, I know. But think about this: those people on the beach are just strangers. They don’t know you and you’ll probably never see them again, so why should you attach so much importance to their opinion? By doing so, you only prevent yourself from having a great time. It’s not worth it.
Isn’t having fun the reason why you go to the beach in the first place? Instead than worrying about whether people can see your cellulite, go and play beach volley with your friends or eat an ice cream. There is nothing wrong with the way you look, and the time you spend worrying about things that are only in your head is lost. Do you really want to spend a miserable day at the beach, or worse, stay at home rather than join your friends, because you’re worried about what some stranger may think, when you can have a ball instead? So go on, don that bikini. You may feel a bit uncomfortable at first but, before you know it, you’ll wonder why you were so scared of it.
Remember, there are no perfect bodies. There aren’t women who can’t wear a bikini and those who can. There are only women who choose to wear a bikini and noone has the right to judge them for it. Ever.
What do you think of the bikini body concept? Do you wear a bikini at the beach?