It's that time of the year again (in the Northern Hemisphere at least). It's the time when everyone begins to realize that the sleet and the snow are going to end and people will actually want to wear swimsuits. In tandem, it seems like every site on the internet (or sign on the street) is telling you the right way to make your body "bikini ready."
On the left: Nakimuli point guard two-piece swimsuit — plus, $145
The idea of a "bikini-ready body" is something I take immense issue with. I don't care who you are or who you are talking about; the second you say, "bikini body" or "bikini-ready body" you are making the distinction betweens bodies which are supposed to wear bikinis and those that are not, whether referring to yourself or anyone else.
Because bikinis are primarily worn in public, unlike lingerie, the idea of judgment is even more real and frightening. In a society that faults fat, cellulite, stretchmarks, pimples or hair anywhere but on our heads, it's a miracle any of us can pick up the courage to step outside in such a revealing piece of clothing.
I've fallen for it — I've been (and probably will be) afraid to wear a bikini because my body is "wrong" for it. My tummy is too squishy. My breasts are too small. My thighs are too big. And into that pile of insecurities you throw the concept of a "bikini-ready" body, something that would be achievable if only I worked hard enough, controlled myself better, bought whatever gym membership or weightloss product you're selling? Puh-lease. Talk about pouring oil on the flames of insecurity.
It can be hard not to say, "Oh, but I'm only trying to make my body fit enough to wear a bikini, it has nothing to do with anyone else." In some ways it makes sense to keep trying to shield yourself from judgement by fitting in as best you can, whether it is good for you or not. But really, even if it may be impossible to prevent yourself saying that inside your head, think hard before you utter it out loud — those words can weigh so much more than you imagine. Any body is an acceptable body, and everyone gets to choose why and how they want that body displayed.
The strange kerfuffle about blogger Gabi Fresh's awesome bikini photo (above) last year is an example of how out of proportion the ideas of what an acceptable body are. Or look at the cover of Star or People or those other truly horrible magazines whose bread and butter is to critique the bodies of the rich and famous and peddle diet trips and fitness tips and all around dissatisfaction.