All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I’ve reached that point of the year where I start to fret about buying a flattering bikini. It’s also just dawned on me that the small, dimpled tummy that hangs over the top button of my jeans is the very same stomach that’ll soon be on display on a beach somewhere.
It’s not a coincidence I’m feeling this way, and I’d bet good money you’ve started to feel these small but definite chinks in your body image armour too.
That sound you hear? It’s the avalanche of “summer is coming” content racing at you at 100 kilometres per hour.
You know the type of stuff I’m talking about. It’s the “how to get your body beach ready in time for spring” articles. The dozens of beauty brands pedaling cellulite-busting and fat-melting creams and potions. Friends posting status updates about their “bikini body” weight loss progress accompanied by the obligatory before and after shots.
Taryn Brumfitt talks about learning to love her body. (Post continues after video.)
Yes, it’s the time of year — when spring is so close you can taste the cherry blossoms — when your body image issues are being preyed upon most. We’re at our most vulnerable.
Nurse and nutrition student Shannon summed it up well in a post on her Facebook page yesterday.
“Today I received an email titled ‘How to get back to your pre-marriage weight’. Umm, how does get fucked sound? While my husband probably receives emails from Ashley Madison on how to get his dick wet extra-maritally, I am expected to be crying into my pillow about my goddamn marital thighs. No. Just no,” she wrote.
“I’m sick of hearing about bikini bodies… I’m sick of good health and good nature being outshone by hotness.”
Shannon, I’m sick of it too.
The very notion of a bikini body implies that there’s only one cookie-cutter mold of a female body that’s appropriate for enjoying the beach.
An example of that type of body is Blake Lively’s, or Emily Ratajkowski’s. You can tell because when news outlets speak of these women in bikinis, they will be “flaunting” themselves or “showing off” their amazing bodies.
While I’ve nothing against Lively hitting the beach, the idea immediately cuts out 99.9 per cent of the female population from being worthy of beach fun. And it all comes back to a woman’s worth and her looks being woven into the exact same fabric.
On The Well podcast, Robin Bailey talks about the thigh gap obsession. (Post continues after audio.)
If you haven’t managed to tone up and lose weight before bikini o’clock, you’re less than.
If you’re not thinking of your thigh gap every time you put a square of chocolate into your mouth, you’re a bad person.
If you’re not a stunning, beachy goddess come September 1, then you are not worthy of love or affection. Or being on a beach, period.
It’s the dialogue we’re fed year after year at around this time (and most of the time, if I’m being frank) that knocks women for six.
It makes us look a little sharper in the mirror, makes us stress that our bodies aren’t the same as the highly Photoshopped Victoria’s Secret swimwear adverts we’re surrounded by.
Let’s get this straight. There’s nothing wrong with my body. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with your body. (Post continues after gallery.)
It might not be conventionally perfect, you might not love every single little inch of it, but it’s your body, and it deserves to be accepted as it is.
This year, I’m making a concerted effort to let the wave of messages urging me to feel less confident wash over me.
I’m not going to beat myself up because, once again, I haven’t bothered to adequately “prepare” my body for the summer months.
And if necessary, I will happily undo my top jeans button for comfort.
Are you feeling the pressure to get “bikini body ready”?
Featured image: iStock