By FREYA KING
I have something to say to every one of you who is standing in a change room, trying on a bikini in front of those horrible mirrors and harsh fluorescents: buy the goddamn bikini and get to the beach. Stat.
The sooner you are out of the change room and on the sand, the better.
At the beach you can stop worrying that people are looking at you in your bikini, and start looking at the other women in theirs. (Not in a creepy way, I promise. Stick with me.)
Because the diversity of bikini-clad women on the beach is awesome.
It isn’t a staged ideal of what some art director thinks the beach should look like.
It isn’t someone trying to deliberately showcase “real women” and ignoring naturally thin women in the process.
Nobody at the beach is trying to balance the naturally curvy with the naturally thin, the Lara Bingles with the Christina Hendricks types.
The beach is simply the real representation of what Australian women look like.
There is no normal body type; there isn’t really even a consensus of what type of shape a bikini looks good on.
Young girls need to put down the magazines and head to the beach and take a peek at what everybody else looks like in real life. Sure, there are going to be some beautiful tanned goddesses laying on the sand, but I guarantee you there will be enough patchily sunburnt or stretch-marked or size eight/twelve/sixteen/twenty girls laying right there next to them, to prove that this isn’t the only type of person worthy of a bikini.
It’s the fastest and most untainted way to feel normal. And to see that normal isn’t a thing.
Take me as an example:
I am extremely pale; so much so that seagulls mistake me for sand and poop on me. (Not at the beach though, because the beach is my Mecca.)
The thought of a bikini used to make me a tad nervous. I was worried I wouldn’t look like the models in the ads that are bronzed and golden.
Once I got over that and got the beach, I was indeed surrounded by bronzed and golden humans – BUT there were still a few ghostly white girls floating around. There were people with skin like me.
We don’t need to wait for the media to catch up and show us “real women” or normal looking humans, we should just open our eyes up and start appreciating the plethora of difference people around us.
At the beach nobody can wear shape underwear and there is no chance that the vision in front of you is photoshopped.
So, before the last snippets of summer finally fade, get yourself to the beach this Easter. Look around. And feel normal.
Freya King is a UNSW Journo Student, Tharunka writer, Mamamia/iVillage Intern and Contributor/foster parent to Broadside Zine. She sometimes word vomits on her blog intothefrey.tumblr.com and you can follow her on Twitter here.