It started again.
Every spring, the media is starting to bombard us with tips and tricks 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. Here’s why:
You Already Have A Bikini Body
The concept of “bikini body” implies that only bodies that adhere to a certain standard of beauty can wear a bikini.
If you have love handles, any excess fat, or a thigh gap, you’d better hide your body under layers of clothing. Or better yet, don’t even dare show up at the beach.
I don’t know about you, but this makes me so mad.
We ALL deserve to have a fun day out at the beach or pool and wear whatever we want to – including a bikini.
In fact, if you have a body, you already have a body fit for a bikini. Just put it on and voilà, instant bikini body right there.
Why The Bikini Body Idea Is Dangerous
If you have a bikini body already, why don’t you feel comfortable in a bikini?
The media has a lot to answer for here. Every day, we’re constantly bombarded with images of beautiful, thin and tall models and celebrities who look perfect all the time. We’re reminded that wrinkles, cellulite, stretch-marks, body hair and any other “flaw” are the worst sins a woman could ever commit.
The media seems to think the only 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.
This insane way of thinking only reduces women into objects. Into body parts to be looked at. Into empty shells. But our bodies are so much more than that.
Why You Should Celebrate Your Body
Think of all your body does for you.
Your body allows you to move, to feel, to laugh, to dance, to smile, to embrace and to enjoy life.
It may not be perfect, but it shows what you went through in life. Stretch marks and a bulging tummies may be reminders that you gave birth to your children, while scars are signs that you survived an accident, for instance.
Your body should be celebrated, not hated. Every flaw, every imperfection is what makes you unique. We all come in different shapes and sizes and went through different experiences that have changed us both mentally and physically.
Don’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?
How To Get Over Bikini Body Anxiety
It’s normal to feel a bit anxious when you’re wearing a bikini. After all, you’re pretty much naked. You feel exposed. Vulnerable. Like everyone’s looking at you. Ponting out your cellulite. Judging you for your stretch marks.
But I can assure you they don’t.
Think about it. When you go to the beach, how much time do you actually spend criticising other women’s bodies? You don’t.
Here’s the secret: everybody is too busy doing their own thing to stare at you.
People go to the beach or pool to have fun. To play volleyball. Catch up with friends. Go for a swim. Read a book even. But no one goes there with the intention to scrutinise women’s bodies and make fun of them.
Plus, 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?
Instead than worrying about whether people can see your cellulite, go and play beach volley with your friends or eat an ice cream. Isn’t that why you went to the beach in the first place?
Every second you spend worrying about things that are only in your head is lost. So don’t let a stranger, a magazine, or whatever ruin your day. It’s just not worth it.
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? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
This post is awesome. I love the [now cliche] saying “To get a bikini body, get a bikini and put your body in it”. Perfection doesn’t exist.
Katie, thank you. That saying has become cliche it’s true, but I think it’s important to repeat it again and again until everyone gets the message. No one can ever be perfect, and that’s not really a bad thing.
Awesome post! I hate how magazines focus so much on other people’s bodies and telling you how to achieve a “perfect” one (usually through some unhealthy or unrealistic means). Also, most celebrities and models who have so-called perfect bodies have personal trainers, stylists, and plastic surgeons in tow.
What has been really annoying me lately are all the tabloids making fun of Kim Kardashian for gaining weight. She’s pregnant! Don’t pregnant women usually gain weight??? Even if she wasn’t, who cares?
Eight, I so agree with you. Magazines should shop scrutinizing celebrities’ bodies and tell women how to achieve beauty standards they know are unrealistic. It would be much better if they started teaching women how to be healthy instead.
And don’t get me started on that. It seems to me that the media has recently decided that women must not gain any weight at all during pregnancy. If they do, they’ll start calling that celeb fat and other nasty things like that. It’s so infuriating. How can a woman not put on weight when there’s a a baby growing inside of her?! That’s such an unhealthy message to send, and could even led to women going on dangerous diets and overexercising during pregnancy, which wouldn’t be good for the baby.
I love that you said ‘put on a bikini and you have a bikini body,’ it’s so true! And I agree, people at the beach are usually doing their own thing, so there’s no need to feel insecure about how you look. This is a really nicely written post, and you make a great argument. I do think that the idea of getting a ‘bikini body’ is good only because it encourages people to get fit and I tend to feel better and healthier when I’ve been working out, but they’re just going about it the wrong way. It should be a positive thing, not a negative ‘you should be this so if you’re not there’s something wrong with you’ sort of thing IMO.
Makeup Morsels, I agree that it’s important to be healthy, to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. That way, you will feel better and help prevent lots of nasty diseases. I’d love magazines to promote that message. Instead, it seems that a lot of them prefer to make women feel awful for not achieving a standard of beauty that’s unrealistic and promoting unhealthy diets that can do more harm that good. What a shame!
*Stands up and cheers Gio* Great article! I find it interesting that you’ve included Jennifer Love Hewitt since a few years back she was “bashed” because she had gained a bit of weight and was showing some dreaded cellulite! In fact it’s obvious here that her picture was retouched. Tyra Banks was also thrown under the bus for having gained weight! Because of these articles, these covers, I did grow up with insecurities and I still have some today. I keep an eye on my daughter and talk a lot with her. So far I thinks she gets it. Everyone is different and there are no “ugly” bodies. Health should be glorified not beauty, at least what is percieved as beauty these days. Remember Rubens, Renoir, Matisse just to name these, and their representation of women, beauty? Quite different than what we are seing today. So no, I don’t agree with the concept of “Bikini Body”! Stupid and condescenting, especially given the fact that every single picture shown has been retouched!
Icaria, thanks! I hate it the way the media scrutinizes celebrities’ bodies and insults them for gaining weight, having cellulite or anything else they perceive as a flaw. They are human beings, of course they’re not perfect and they shouldn’t be badly treated because of it. And when they praise their bodies, they are so retouched!
I used to read these mags and they made me feel awful about myself too. I think it’s great that you talk to your daughter about it. It really helps a lot when you know the truth about what the media shows us. Too many girls believe that you can really achieve that ideal of beauty, and just talking about it can put things in perspective and prevent a lot of damage.
I completely agree with you that we should celebrate health, not this unrealistic standard of beauty someone (who, by the way?) has decided we all should adhere to.
This is a wonderful post! ;] I completely agree with you and it’s such a shame that so many women are pressured by society to have unrealistic standards for themselves to the point where they self harm. :[ The bikini ads pour in soon now that summer is nearly here and it dismays me to think of all the women and young girls who aspire to look like so.
I especially love that you included how these actions contribute to the looping cycle of degrading women into objects.
Time to catch up on all your posts! This hectic week is finally over 😀
Janessa, it’s heartbreaking to see how many women develop insecurities, and worse, even eating disorders, to achieve this unrealistic standards of beauty. We should aspire to be healthy instead than to have some celeb’s photoshopped body.
Yay! Can’t wait to read all your comments. And enjoy a relaxing weekend.
I’d like to ad that I don’t like bikinis either and yes, one is practically naked wearing one! I much prefer one piece suits.
I used to wear bikinis but I’d usually have a surf shirt over it haha and often times board shorts just because I felt too exposed. I always thought it wasn’t normal to feel anxious or self conscious in a bikini and if I did, it was because I didn’t have a ‘bikini body’.
The whole point of going to the beach is to have fun, certainly. More respect to Gio!
Janessa, people always assume that if you don’t wear a bikini you must hate your body, but that’s not really true. Some women can love their bodies, yet they simply choose not to show it to the world, preferring a more modest attire. It’s just a matter of tastes. You should wear what you are comfortable in and like, whether that’s a bikini, a one piece suit or whatever.
And thanks. 🙂
This post makes me want to wear a bikini this year. Just because I can. Just because I have the right.
Ashley, you’re welcome. You have every right to wear a bikini, so wear it with pride. 🙂
Wow, this is genius! I wish your fantastic blog post would be part of a magazine. So many women would thank you for telling truth. Although I prefer one piece suits as well (I feel more comfortable with it as I’m always afraid that my boobies fell out of a tiny bikini top), I don’t think that there should be any restrictions considering swimwear. What’s the sense of it? Swimming and being at the beach means fun and only fun.
Mylanqolia, thanks! I don’t think many magazines would have the guts to publish a piece like this, but it would be wonderful if they did. I agree. You should just wear whatever you like, whether that’s a bikini, a one-piece swimsuit or whatever. It’s not wearing something because someone else made you feel you don’t deserve to that’s the problem imo.
I don’t like the term bikini-body or bikini-ready; I want to be able to wear a bikini if I want to. I admit I do care about how I look in it – at the same time, I’m ok with being the size that I am (a size 8-10 which is considered ‘plus’ size in the fashion industry). I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my stomach, even if it’s a bit flabby because of having two kids.
Maria, I think it is normal to care about how we look in a bikini (or in any other outfit, for that matter). It’s this mentality that you need need to look perfect to wear one, which, as a result, leads many women to start hating their bodies that I have a problem with. That’s not a healthy attitude. If you want to wear a bikini you should. No body is perfect, but all bodies are beautiful.
Thanks for the post – I’ve linked it to mine, take a look: http://amotherworld.com/main/beauty/wear-a-bikini-and-be-proud/
You’re welcome and thank you for the link. It’s very appreciated. I’ll go check it out now. 🙂
Love your ‘tude! I always think of the dudes in Speedos that never should be wearing them in the first place (because let’s face it — Mr. 6-pack of abs will probably never wear one). But, who am I to judge? If your comfortable in your flab or fab skin, that’s what matters most.
Lauren, thanks. We should all be comfortable in our own skin, and feel free to wear whatever we like, without having people judging us for it. 🙂
I love this post! I’ve shared it on BlogHer’s Facebook page. 🙂
Y, I’m glad you love it and thank you so much for sharing it! 🙂
This article is incredible! There is so much pressure but on women to be perfect- always feeling as if they are not good enough! I think that this article emphasizes what is truly important and this message is what a lot of women and young ladies need to hear today! Bravo!
Beth, thank you! I agree with you. There is too much pressure to to perfect, and that’s a not a good thing. No one can be perfect, ever. We should just learn to love ourselves the way we are.
South Florida gal here. 3 kids and a love for food and I sport a bikini at the beach. ( I hate clothes most of the time LOL) I am also a yoga instructor and a nutrition counselor. I do not look like a movie star. Nor do I look like the model yoga instructor/runner/personal trainer/nutrition expert. I try to teach others to be OK with their bodies no matter what they look like. Even if they have pounds to lose. Self love works wonders for our mental health and that carries over into the physical side of things.
I LOVE your article and will be sharing via all of my social media outlets. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Shelah, I love your attitude. And I agree that self love works wonders for our mental and physical health. I believe that if we taught people to love their bodies, whatever they look like, they would start taking better care of them. But if instead we make them feel like they are worthless if they aren’t perfect, then they will more likely either give up trying to look after them thinking it is a waste of time or go on crazy diets and things like that that can ruin their health. We should focus on being healthy, whatever our size, not on trying to achieve an ideal of beauty that is unattainable.
And thank you so much for sharing it. I appreciate it.
I’ve been cracking up seeing face book posts about starting crossfit and heading to the gym or doing all these special things to get ready for bikinis! I’m big on living one way all year long. Not just for bikini season. Ok, a bit if honesty, I would run down the beach in one if I looked like my 15 year old. But I’ve had three babies (I’m in great shape) but there are just parts I won’t expose to the general public…haha! So I’m a tanking top with board shirts proponent now! Also, doing what you need to do with kids etc isn’t always attractive in a bikini. Loved the message here. It’s nice to see the normal women piping in here and keeping things in perspective
Tara, I believe you should wear whatever you like. If you don’t want to expose certain parts of your body or a bikini isn’t practical for you, then it’s ok not to wear it. But it must be your free choice, not one you make because someone made you feel like you don’t deserve to wear one. Nobody is perfect and we should embrace the way we look, whatever our shape and size is. 🙂
On the eve of my 46th birthday, I’m watching what I eat so I will feel better about the bikini I will flaunt on my 20th anniversary this summer.
Do I have any business in a bikini?
I’d like to think so. Cellulite, sagging skin, sun damage, freckles – and all!!
Besides, how do you expect to tan your tummy if it’s hiding under a swim-suit!
Katie, of course you have business in a bikini! We all have flaws, but we shouldn’t let them stop us from wearing a bikini or doing anything else we want to do. No one is perfect, and that’s actually a good thing. 🙂
You are right of course. And this is most definitely a “Let’s Invent My Perfect World” scenario.
But here’s the thing:
Sure, the people around me may be strangers on the beach…but that won’t keep them from taking a picture of my big butt (said truthfully, but humorously) stuffed into a bikini and posting it all over Reddit, Facebook and Twitter and cackling as it is shared with thousands of others. It won’t keep them from grinning devilishly at their own superiority while the malicious comments pour in.
It most certainly won’t keep the shallow, arrogant dude on spring break from bellowing “Ahoy! MOBY DICK!” as I innocently lay sprawled on a beach blanket.
Even if I manage a come-back along the lines of “Well at least *I* have a big dick.” — he will still get the bigger laugh by using some variation of the word “fat” in his next sentence.
And even if I have no doubt he’d have no problem drooling at my boobs for a long period of time, he would still need to comment on what a huge ass I have.
SHOULD I be offended?
But show me the person who could deal with all that during a nice, “average,” afternoon at the beach — and I will show someone who is entirely oblivious to the world around them.
Sadly, the latter is not a way to live.
Should we attempt to make ourselves feel better and educate those less enlightened?
I could Norma Rae myself: Stand tall on a cooler filled with juice boxes and proclaim that I am proud of my muffin top and hips, damnit, because look at my great kids — odes to a perfect future, without such misogynistic pricks as Mr. Spring Break over there.
I might even get a small round of applause.
And then, after a polite pause, everyone would meander back to their beach towels…check their phone for updates…and laugh as they see the un-photoshopped picture of Julia Roberts (mother of three) with a single fat roll.
Maria, I completely understand where you are coming from. You are right when you say there are idiots who will make fun of you and humiliate you, and that hurts. No one can put up with that without feeling any pain at all. Actually, no one should have to put up with it at all. Which is why it is important to try and get across the message that every body, no matter what its shape and size, should be accepted and celebrated.
I know that it’s not easy, especially when it’s you people are making fun of, but how are we supposed to change things if we hide under layers of clothes to avoid those comments? Idiots will make fun of you whatever you wear, and isn’t refusing to wear a bikini a sort of admission that they are right in insulting you if you should choose to do it because there really is something wrong with your body? Should we really allow such arrogant pricks to determine what we should and shouldn’t do with our bodies and lives?
Taking a stand takes a lot of courage, I know. And the road to self-love is a very long one filled with pain and tears. I know, as, as any other woman, I’ve walked it myself. But it’s the only way to be happy. I also believe that talking about these issues is very important as it generates debates and hopefully will make people think. I’m not so naive to think that people will change their ways soon. It will take years, if not centuries, for society to stop judging women on the way they look. But we have to start somewhere, and if this post has made only one person change their mind, that’s a good thing. And hopefully that person will influence someone else and so on. We don’t have much power over the actions of others, but we can change our own way of thinking . It will be a start, albeit a small one.
I really like your thoughts on the matter, but can’t help by notice that the ONLY images you included are of the very same despised magazines :). Why not include a few images of real bodies that should be celebrated, bikini or not? Good write, I liked it!
Yuliya, thank you for your feedback. I would have loved to include pictures of real women in a bikini. Unfortunately, it’s much more difficult to find pictures like that that you can freely use. If you know where I can find them, let me know. 🙂
I totally get what you are saying. I never looked at it this way because I look at bikini bodies as just something to work toward. When my abs are hanging over the top of a pair of bikini type pants that’s no bueno! I wouldn’t be caught dead like that so I think the concept of bikini body is more working toward a leaner figure that you’d be proud to sport. it’s also a personal choice. If a woman wants to wear a bikini and her butt is hanging out and her stomach is two tons of fun, more power to her. I just hope I don’t see it LOL ok that’s probably not nice.
Great post though
Michelle, I think the idea of bikini bodies could potentially be used to emphasize the importance of being healthy (although I still don’t like the term because it implies that there are some women who shouldn’t be allowed to wear a bikini and that’s not right), which is what we all should strive for so that we can live longer and better lives. The problem is that these bikini bodies we’re supposed to achieve don’t exist in real life. The celebs and models in these photos have stylists, makeup artists, and photoshop and who knows what else to make them look that way. In addition, mags advice us to achieve them through crazy diets and other things like that that can be dangerous to our health. I do think that we should take care of our bodies and try to be healthy, but we should also love ourselves the way we are, always. After all, you won’t take good care of yourself, if you don’t love yourself. And even if you’re healthy, and have a great body, you still won’t be perfect. Everyone has flaws and everyone is going to age sooner or later and we should start being more accepting of the way we all look. 🙂
Yes! Finally. That’s what I said too. Put on a bikini and there you are a bikini body. Why should we have to worry so much about what others might think or say. It’s the beach and that’s where all the bikinis go to. If anyone, just anyone, have a problem with that then they’re the bitch. You’re not wearing it to some sort of gala or awards show. You’re not misfitted. You’re perfectly fitted. The hell with them. What matter most is you’re feeling comfortable with it. My ass is flat and don’t get me started on the rest of my body. I’m not even in the neighborhood of perfect. And i care no sh*t as long as I’m comfortable with it. I wanna feel the sun kisses every inch of my skin. I wanna feel the wind blows. If anyone ever come up to me and say I don’t have a bikini body, I’ll check their vision to see if their blind cause I’m wearing one.
Vny, I like your attitude. You’re absolutely right. We should stop caring so much about what other people think and instead just start to feel comfortable in our own bodies, cos no matter what they look like, there is never anything wrong with them. And if someone doesn’t understand it and acts like a bitch to you, it’s their problem. There will always be jerks around, but you shouldn’t let them get you down and influence your decisions.
Wow Gio, you said it all indeed! Those mags articles are so boring and illogical in a way.
Eating a various diet, practicing hobbies that you love and being physically active is a way of living, not a one-off gimmick we should practice when comes summer only.
Why not trying to lead a healthy lifestyle everyday for your own sake, rather than starving once a year to please whom btw?
Also, the term “bikini body” implies that your body should fit into an universal piece of clothing, in conformity to some pre-required measurements. Whereas the very purpose of clothes, apart from being functional, is they should respect your body shape and suit you. Not the other way round!
Btw, we’re too busy swimming, relaxing or playing beach volley to care about what others might (not) say. People may even not notice you, they’re having their own activities as well!
Pastelita, I completely agree. Unfortunately too many women are so obsessed with the way they look that they can’t enjoy their lives to the full. We should just think about being happy and healthy, not conforming to someone else’s ideals of beauty. And we certainly shouldn’t do anything drastic to fit into a piece of clothing. You’re so right, clothes should fit us, not the other way around.
I have the perfect beach body and i love my body very much 😀
Poonpo, glad to hear that!
In actuality it is not an “impossible ideal” to be healthy and thin. I have known a lot of women who have a nice healthy body that looks great in a bikini.
If you were to ask most men what it means to not have a bikini body, most would say being fat around the waist or having a big fupa.
While it is gummy bears and rainbows; I think the idea behind a bikini body is that is it really a good thing to be proud and happy and proud inside an unhealthy body that one can’t take care?
I want my kids to grow up being uncomfortable with acquiring an unhealthy body, not proud and happy about it.
Realist, thank you for your comment. While being thin and healthy may not be an impossible ideal for everyone, the definition of thin promoted by the media certainly is. We’re supposed to have tiny waists but big breasts, thigh gaps, no cellulite, no stretch marks… the list goes on.
This ideal also doesn’t take into consideration that being thin does not mean healthy. In fact, there are plenty of people who are thin and unhealthy and plenty of people who are overweight and healthy. What makes you healthy or unhealthy is not so much the amount of weight you carry on your body, but the habits you follow. An overweight person who follows a healthy diet and exercises regularly will be a lot more healthy than a thin person who barely hit to fit into a size 0.
You’re also assuming that everyone who is overweight doesn’t care about her body. Have you ever considered the fact that weight gain could have many other causes? Many medications and medical treatments, for example, make you put on weight. How can you tell, when you see an overweight woman on the street if she’s indulging in junk food or battling cancer? You can’t, which is why this body shaming attitude needs to stop.
But even if someone is neglecting her body, filling it with a lot of unhealthy food and refusing to exercise, it’s often not because she’s lazy or because fries taste better than a salad, Often these people find comfort in food for deeper psychological and emotional issues. Issues that have to be dealt with with love and compassion. The truth is that you can’t take good care of yourself if you don’t love yourself. And it’s very difficult to love yourself when everyone around you is treating you like a pariah because of your weight.
I understand that you want your kids to be proud of their bodies and be healthy, but you need to widen your definition of health and realise that there may be many reasons why people put on weigt. Otherwise, you risk to influence your kids in the opposite direction and make their self-esteem be so reliant on their weight, they’re going to go on super strict diets, use laxatives, and pursue weight loss in very dangerous and harmful ways.
Finally, I don’t need to ask men what a bikini body is for them. It’s irrelevant. A woman’s body is her property, not men’s properties. Men don’t have a say in how women look, just like women don’t have a say in how men look. Women should strive to reach their goes and dreams, not worry about how attractive men find them in a bikini.
I absolutely LOVE this post! Just this week, I wore a bikini in public for the first time in over 20 years. I’m a little overweight and have lots of stretch marks, flab, etc, but I had finally decided at age 40 that I have the right to wear a bikini just like anyone else. I was definitely uncomfortable at first, but by the end of the day I was ok, and I even wore it all day in public the next day too!
On another note, I’ve heard people say that they work hard to have their healthy, fit bodies, and I absolutely applaud them. But for some, no matter how much they work out and how much weight they lose and muscle they build, those stretch marks and flab will still be there on their belly. They can be healthy and toned, but still “imperfect” in the eyes of those who are critical. I used to use this as an excuse to not get in better shape, because I knew my body would never be perfect anyway. But now I’m working toward being healthier and trimmer while accepting my so-called imperfections.
My advice to women is do what you can to make yourself healthy, accept the results and learn to LOVE your body as a part of the amazing YOU. And go out there and rock that bikini in a way that no one else in the world can!! ❤️?
Angela, thank you so much for your amazing comment. You rock, girl!
I so agree. Beauty standards are so unrealistic that it’s impossible to ever achieve them. But being healthy is totally possible and what we should all strive for. It’s incredible what this shift in mindset can help us achieve, isn’t it?
So what if we don’t look perfect? We look like us, and that’s so much better! 🙂