Every year, usually around September, there is a marked change in the air. ‘Is it spring?’ you think to yourself. Maybe. Possibly.
All around you, people are slowly shedding layers of warm, woollen clothing; pulling off beanies and hats; unwrapping scarves. Their eyes blink slowly and tentatively, like blinded moles coming to the surface after a long, dark season underground.
Skin that hasn’t seen the direct rays of the sun for months is suddenly making an appearance in open-necked shirts, shorter sleeves, and shorter hemlines; in my case, the whiteness of its alabaster, goose-pimpled surface blinding anyone who dares stare directly at it.
Toenails are on display, cracked heels are madly scrubbed and moisturised, loofahs are purchased by the truckload, and the chemical smell of fake tan wends its way into your nostrils from passers-by.
You’ll see covers of magazines, with subtle, summery colour tones that remind you of sun, sand, and skin on display. But it’s the headlines that spell it out for you in bold, unrelenting letters:
‘GET BIKINI BODY READY FOR SUMMER!’
‘IT’S TIME TO BRING BACK YOUR BIKINI BODY!’
‘ARE YOU BIKINI BODY READY?’
The short answer is no.
No, I am not.
The last time my body was bikini ready was the summer of 1986. And I don’t give a fuck.
I am so tired of being told what we’re supposed to look like to achieve a goal that, quite frankly, is only achievable before a girl reaches puberty. Once those tits and hips start their growth spurts onto the front and sides of you, for most women, having a bikini body becomes a constant source of anxiety. Your body becomes a battleground, and no amount of magazines telling you what bikini suits your body-shape best (pear-shaped, hourglass, boy-ish, top-heavy, bottom-heavy, anyone?) will ever make you feel like you should be allowed to wear a two-piece in public.
If the most famous woman on the internet, Kim Kardashian, can get upset over un-airbrushed paparazzi pics of her famous curves in a bikini, what do us mere mortals endure having to cope with our ‘regular’ bodies covered in less cloth than a tea towel? It’s a battle we will never win.
Has fat-shaming people become so bad that plus-size beach lovers need their own resort? While I totally support a place where people can go to feel relaxed without feeling like they will be laughed at, why haven’t we reached a point where we push back against unrealistic body expectations, perpetuated mostly by women’s magazines and male-gaze media and advertising, and say, ‘FUCK IT.’
Celebrate your fine self. Don’t be defined by society’s expectations of what your body should look like. Is it strong? Healthy? Makes you feel powerful and sexy? Throw your shoulders back, and strut your stuff, girlfriend. In a bikini, or not.
One of the best memes I have seen in years simply says this:
How to Be Bikini Beach Body Ready
Buy a bikini.
Put it on your body.
Go to the beach.
The bikini body can get fucked.Support Villainesse