Despite the fact that the rain is hammering against my window as I type this, it is Summer.
Unbelievably, the season of the ‘Summer Body’ is upon us, and I’ve just inhaled a sizable portion of spaghetti hoops on toast with a nice big brew to supplement it. My morning has been spent on emails, social media, emails, buying train tickets, emails – and something on Twitter has just caught my eye.
‘Beach Body Countdown: how to get bikini-ready in four weeks.’
‘Tulisa pulls off retro bikini bottoms as she shows off her impressive beach body.’
‘Operation Bikini Body: This is how you lose weight with 2 pieces of equipment and only 20 minutes.’
Ah. Probably time to log off, then.
It’s not news that summer coexists quite comfortably with the rise of beach bod culture, but more specifically, the great big push that you’ve got to shift anything that remotely wobbles when you take a step. We’re bombarded with white-toothed and glowing sand gods and goddesses that have abs you could grate cheese off, and tag lines that scream: ‘BUY THIS, YOU USELESS LUMP OF FAT. DROP AND GIVE ME TWENTY, OR ELSE SMALL CHILDREN WILL CRY WHEN THEY SEE YOU IN YOUR TWO-PIECE AT THE BEACH.’
And I’m done with it. Unsurprisingly.
I’ve written about the woes of my body before on here, and how coming to terms with loving your own skin is incredibly difficult with the bombardment of this… drivel. Logically, I know that magazines are pushing the svelte, athletic aesthetic because it’s the shape society apparently finds most attractive in waterproof fabric (and also because you can sell a lot of products that the public will buy in order to look like that.)
Fake tan, exercise equipment, some overpriced agave avocado green powder that Gwyneth Paltrow probably coats herself in at night – its making money. And as long as the masses aren’t yet fitting into the beautifully glowing mold, which is hailed as the be-all-and-end-all of beauty, people will keep buying. Which in all fairness is a pretty clever business plan.
However, there is always a silver lining with these things. Social media, despite breeding an awful lot of body policing and negativity, has produced armies of people who are fighting against the ‘typical beach body’ image. One who immediately springs to mind is feminist blogger Tara Costello, who’s campaign against ‘Protein Worlds’ dieting advert went viral. The ad in question featured a very sultry and slender woman clad in a yellow string bikini, with the iconic words ‘Are you beach body ready?’ behind her. Tara had simply gotten into her own swimwear on the tube platform next to the ad, posting it with the words: ‘How to get a bikini body: put a bikini on your body.’
And I loved it.
This is what it should be about! I have no issues against being healthy, or wanting to tone up for your own benefit. However, I don’t agree with the monetised pressure of hating our bodies because it doesn’t fit into someone else’s idea of what should be seen at the beach. Especially when companies, usually weight loss promoters are latching onto the ‘body positive movement’ – which is the celebration of all shapes, big and small and imperfect mind you – to shift more products. Usually by insinuating that you’ll attain that ‘happy body feeling’ by getting to a certain size or look.
Essentially this summer, all you need to do is grab your sunnies (or wellies) and head down to the beach. Put on your sunscreen, strip down to your swimwear and get a huge icecream. Swim in the sea, make a sandcastle – and just enjoy yourself. Stick it to these companies.
Life is too short to worry about having an ‘ab crack.’
And no, I haven’t made that up. That’s a thing. Google it.