Warm weather is approaching, which means we’re being bombarded with an onslaught of articles about how to get a bangin’ bikini body. As someone who exercises despite hating every second of it, I get the need for motivation. Sometimes “being healthy” isn’t enough, and the idea of comfortably fitting into a teensy-weensy-itty-bitty bikini is. But by equating “bikini body” with “perfectly toned and slim” is narrow-minded and totally not empowering.
Let’s be real – most of us are never going to look like celebrities. And that’s okay! For them, their bodies are a part of their job, of their overall brand. That’s why they have the time to spend hours at the gym, hire personal chefs and trainers, and sometimes go on hyper-restrictive, utterly boring diets. It’s an investment for them. Not to mention, they’re under absurdly harsh scrutiny and pressure that us mere mortals will endure. If we go out in public with a paunch, we aren’t going to pop up on magazine covers accompanied by speculation over the contents of our uterus. Most of us aren’t a situation where our jobs depend on our bodies being a certain weight or incur the wrath of millions of anonymous internet commenters for having rolls or cellulite or stretch marks. We shouldn’t attach the same expectations to not look human to ourselves that we do to celebrities, who, despite their numerous resources, still have to be Photoshopped to attain our warped idea of perfection.
The idea that you have to be perfect to reveal your body is complete nonsense. Contrary to popular belief, the world will not stop spinning if you go out in public and you don’t have a flat stomach or a perfectly perky butt. Having physical flaws shouldn’t preclude you from comfortably hitting the beach or pool this spring/summer. Others may judge you, but no one is immune from judgment, and if you lived your life cowering in fear of what others may think of you, you’re going to lead a pretty empty life. While we attach a lot of value to being “beautiful”, not being perceived as such does not mean that you don’t deserve respect. Anyone who hurls insults at you or stares you down is obviously wrestling with some internal dysfunction if the idea of a woman daring to defy conventional beauty standards is a problem for them. It’s not your responsibility to be palatable for anyone else’s consumption – your body is yours alone.
I’m certainly not trying to discourage anyone from losing weight or working out. I have a weight range that I’m working on getting to, and exercising and eating nutritious food can only enhance your life. But to assert that a woman needs to get to a certain weight/body fat percentage in order to put on a bikini or any swimsuit is just perpetuating the idea that some bodies are better than others, or that the only bodies worthy of being on display are the ones that fit into normative beauty ideals. Screw that. No matter how much you weigh or what your proportions are, as long as you believe you’re a fierce bombshell, you are a fierce bombshell.