We’re days away from the first long weekend of summer, which means the “beach body” reminders are real. The fitness tips are out there, the before/afters are haunting our dreams, and today on Us Weekly I saw a piece on the best Harry Potter body transformations, which weirded me out because the stars were cast as children. But okay.
We all want to look nice in our bathing suits, I get it. (Even though I don’t own one because I hate water and refuse to go swimming, and saying “I don’t even have a bathing suit” shoots down everyone who likes the sun.) (So okay: everyone who likes to go swimming wants to look nice in their bathing suits. Okay.) Everyone wants to have a “beach body.”
Just a quick FYI though: you already have one.
Now to be clear, if you’re into fitness and working out and you love weights and cardio brings you joy, go forth and enjoy and live your best life. Some people love to work out, and I even know a few. I can confirm people like this 100% exist, so look: If you like to work out, keep on working out. Kale is great! Also, some people love juice! I ate a donut and coffee for breakfast, but that is my truth, and I regret nothing.
But I digress.
It’s a bananas idea to believe there’s only one way to look; that to wear a bathing suit your body must fit a slew of guidelines and be defined by whatever it is certain women’s magazines happen to be selling. But it’s offensive to write off any body that doesn’t abide by these very particular set of rules and should be covered up — that someone should feel weird about wearing a bathing suit because their figure doesn’t reflect that of a single celebrity photoshopped to excess. It’s offensive that any of us have to think about how we look at the beach. And it’s offensive that these conversations are taking up a single second of our time.
But they are. Again. For the trillionth year. And while there’s progress slowly (so slowly) being made in the way we’re learning that every single body type is beach-ready as-is, there are still too many voices driving home the dangerous ideals that thinness is the only descriptor that deserves to be seen; as if nobody else wants to see any other body type amongst the sand and lakes. Which is bullshit and we know it despite mags continuing to push their nonsense “beach body” agenda.
So this is the yearly reminder that should you have a body and should you hope to frequent the beach, you’re good to go. You’re fine. Only an absolute psychopath sees the need to police body types, because that’s something that actual psychopaths do. (And I’ve read a lot of serial killer books, so I know a thing or two.) Put on your bathing suit and bask in the glory of your body being a badge of honour. Every stretch mark, scar, pound, whatever — all serving to make you, you. You’re the only owner of a body type that’s like yours, and that’s fucking incredible.
Although, for the record, I will still not be going to the beach. I hate sand, and I don’t want to relive the horror of being told — while in the water — that there’s an E.Coli warning and I should probably get out of the lake, sorry about that. But you go to the beach. Go and love it and hang out in the water and put on your SPF. And remember that beach bodies are bodies that hang out on the beach. That’s it.
Image courtesy Swimsuits for All.