I have not always loved my body. In fact, I have spent the overwhelming majority of my life less than kind to myself.
I was indoctrinated into diet culture since childhood and have worked in the health and fitness industry for the past several years. Because it is a commonplace to believe that we all must adhere to the rules and standards of beauty manufactured to make us believe our bodies are not good enough.
And these standards are being pushed onto women at younger ages than ever before as this recent magazine’s “bathing suit” chart proves.
I spent most of my teenage life (and a good portion of my twenties) wearing clothes that hid my body, and if I wasn’t doing that, I was wearing something over my clothes to protect my body from unwanted viewing.
However, there was one place that I never seemed to have any issue with losing the layers, and that was at the beach.
Most people find the prospect of having to wear a swimsuit completely nerve racking and the ultimate in body exposure. And, of course, why shouldn’t people feel anxiety about rocking a bathing suit? The mainstream media has drilled it into our heads for literal decades that the only women who should be visible in a bikini are women with bodies that fit into a VERY particular mold.
In fact, I remember a particular yogurt company’s commercial and the “itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini” song, which had to be one of the most offensive weight loss ads in TV history. It’s been years since I’ve seen that awful commercial, and I’m sure they come up with a new one each year because with every passing year comes another “bikini” season for them to cash in. Also, it’s technically called Summer the last time I checked.
My friends always found it funny that for somebody who dissected every inch of her physique with such unrelenting criticism that I would always be the first one to be excited to strip down to my swimwear with absolutely no hesitation. Because despite all of my body hangups, I never felt ashamed or self-conscious in my bikini. I love swimming, and I love the freedom of wearing my bikini. I love the way it makes me feel so weightless and how the water feels splashing up against my tummy. I love the ocean. In fact, even now, if you asked me where I would love to be if I could be anywhere it would be on a beach, in my bikini without a care in the world. Not one. Well, except maybe when I was going to receive my next margarita!
Summertime is one of the most pleasurable times of the year, and nobody should have to feel they need to sit on the sidelines because their body doesn’t “fit” a b-s standard. Once that time is gone, we can’t get it back, so we need to embrace our bodies and enjoy life right now.
That’s why I’m loving that more and more women are rejecting the idea that there’s only one type of body that is worthy of wearing sassy swimwear. I love seeing women of all shapes and sizes rocking swimwear and redefining the “bikini body” for all of us! Many swimwear lines are taking notice of this growing and trend giving us all, even more, reason to love hitting the beach again! I love the swimsuit collection by Adore Me. They carry affordable, cute, fresh swimwear ranging in sizes XS to 3X — they totally want to see everybody taking advantage of the summertime! My personal fave is the Kendra.[Tweet “All bodies are bikini ready! #BoPo #BodyLove #Happiness via @ BeetsPerMinute @AdoreMe”]
Happy sun and fun, lovelies!
This post originally appeared on erintuition.com.