It’s inching closer to Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer! With that in mind, you may have begun to work on or have anxiety about your beach body. However, what officially defines a beach body?
Standard and social media inundate us with images of models in swimsuits, six pack abs gleaming in the sun. We see ads for diet and cleanses; anything to lose our “covid 19.” That begs my question: Why do we seek the approval of a $71 billion diet industry that only makes more money if you fail on your diet because you’ll simply try another one?
The average person will try 126 fad diets in their lives. The average life expectancy for an American woman is 78 years. That’s 1.61 diets a year that a woman will try. And while men certainly receive more and more pressure from the media, most of the expectations fall on women to look a certain way. Celebs like Lizzo, Ashley Graham, Hunter Grady, and Tess Holliday definitely have opened doors for bigger women. Thin is no longer the only trend in body sizes. The problem is we still live in a world where women can only have curves in certain places. Having a J. Lo booty or Kim K. hourglass shape is considered desirable by many men.
Notice I talk about the media and men quite a bit. The patriarchy has dictated the beauty standards for women for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Media has certainly played a role, none more prevalent than the advent of social media, especially apps like Instagram.
Body positivity began as a plus-size movement that gained traction on the ‘gram. But thinner women in bike shorts showing off their gym selfies soon co-opted the movement. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with gym selfies, the plus-sized community’s movement ended up appropriated for an entirely different purpose. Newer on the spectrum is the concept of body neutrality, where we focus much less on our outward appearance and celebrate what our bodies can accomplish.
If you have a body and go to the beach, you have a beach body. Once more, louder for the hater in the back, if you have a body and go to the beach, you have a beach body. We can say it’s not as simple as that and look at factors like anxiety and self-confidence. But, it can be. It truly can be. If enough women reject diet culture, if enough women reject the beauty standards of the patriarchy, if enough women say they give no fucks what others think, we can truly topple the bullshit of the ideal body to the ground.
Because our bodies are not a trend.
So, the next time you’re tempted to skip out on a beautiful day splashing in the waves, remember the badass you are and that your body at the beach is a rocking beach body.