It seems as though we’ve been preparing for this moment since Jan. 1, when gyms, diet supplements and food-delivery service ads started popping up on our TVs.
“Get your body ready for bikini season!” they said to us.
“Feel more confident by the pool this summer!” they promised.
“I’ve never felt better!” says the woman on the screen, her tan skin giving just enough definition to her eight-pack abs.
Even in the heart of winter, when chunky sweaters, leggings and puffer jackets reign supreme, these ads get us thinking: How am I going to get bikini-ready before June? Should I start having steamer meals delivered to my doorstep or drinking only protein shakes until the summer solstice?
No, no, you absolutely should not. Here’s why:
You Already Have a Bikini Body
In the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy has to walk down the yellow brick road, make three new friends, pass out in a field of opiate flowers and kill a witch before she’s told, “Hey, guess what? You had the power to go home all along!” She’s happy but, as an adult viewer, all I can say is, “Really?! I would be so mad to find out I didn’t have to do all of that walking in heels.”
We should all start having the same realization about the bikini body ideal. It turns out we, like Dorothy, all have the power inside us already to go to the store, try on a few bikinis, bring one home and wear it. You have a body, and it is capable of wearing a two-piece swimsuit. Chances are, you wear a bra and some sort of underwear — unless you don’t, which means you deserve further kudos. Those pieces of lingerie are basically bikinis you wear on the regular, so you already know you can do this.
There’s no need to discuss this further, really. Every body is very much able to wear a bikini. Next question.
But My Body Isn’t a Bikini Body, You Know What I Mean?
Are you trying to say you’re not thin enough to wear a bikini? Who told you that? If you say fashion magazines, celebrity Instagrams or even TV commercials, you’re going to see me get upset.
Yes, we see plenty of women with rock-hard abs, toned arms and lean, impossibly long legs strutting in bikinis. They look fantastic, but they’re just one type of body that’s out there. They’re not the only ones who have the ability to wear a particular type of swimming garment.
You might say, “Well, society expects me to look a particular way before I earn the right to wear a bikini.” Pssh. Society’s mind is always changing when it comes to how a woman’s body should look. Their lack of conviction over the years simply proves that a woman’s body is beautiful, perfect and praiseworthy no matter what it looks like.
If you need further inspiration, head to Instagram and search for the #bodypositive hashtag. You might also want to look up models like Iskra Lawrence and Ashley Graham, who have redefined the look of the supermodel we know from the 1990s. These curvy women wear bikinis all the time too, just FYI.
You’re Right. I Am Doing This. I’m so Over Skinny People!
OK, wait, not so fast. I’m really happy you’re ready to wear the bikini of your dreams. It’s going to be just as perfect as you’ve imagined.
However, it’s up to us women to make sure that every single bikini body earns the respect it deserves. There’s nothing constructive or positive about hating on someone who has a leaner frame than yours. On the other hand, is it worth your while to speak negatively of a curvier girl rocking the same bikini as you?
It’s absolutely not. Instead, we need to make the beach, the pool, the park and any other area where we might slip into a bikini into places where everyone feels comfortable, safe and sexy in her skin. Judgment-free zone? Yes. High-fiving each other for looking fab? YES!
I Like That Idea. It Seems Like More Than an Ego Boost, Too
You’re onto something! You know what will happen if all women stop judging each other and start praising one another?
We will create an environment that’s much calmer, less imposing, more accepting … the list goes on. No one will feel anxiety about an impending beach vacation. It is absolutely insane that we would ever feel trepidation about going on vacation because of our bodies — we should be excited to relax and take off work, for crying out loud!
We might just see that, in a few months or years, all this effort we’re putting into being better people will pay off dividends. We won’t even be discussing what a bikini body is or isn’t anymore. We’ll be discussing how women are warriors and how the most important thing to work toward is good health, not whether or not we feel worthy of wearing two pieces of material.
We might even come to realize that those two pieces of material don’t define us, either, but rather have a positive impact on those around us. Cue the awws whenever you’re ready.
The bottom line is, if you feel good in your bikini, wear it. If you feel good in your one-piece, wear it. If you want to sunbathe in the nude, do it somewhere where it’s legal — but do it.
You’ve got the body for it no matter what.