It’s summer which, as the glossy mags like to remind us, is ‘bikini body’ season. The time of year when women are conditioned to – quite literally – strip down our perceptions of what our bodies can do, to how they look. The media’s fixation on young, perfect female figures – and their negative terms for ageing women (bingo wings, sagging boobs and ‘mum tums’ to name a few) mean many of us in the Over 30s Club – including celebrities like Jennifer Aniston – feel that we can’t wear a bikini on holiday without negative scrutiny, from others or ourselves. Body-shy Ashling has even written a fashion piece about figure-flattering swimsuits for that very reason.
News stories like the one about Dani Mathers, the Playboy model who was publicly condemned on social media at the weekend for posting a picture to Snapchat of a naked woman showering at her LA gym with the words ‘If I can’t unsee this, then you can’t either’, highlight just how extreme this body-shaming epidemic has become.
It’s time to make the term ‘beach body’ fit any size or shape.
Thankfully, one woman has decided to try and change this. Jennifer Weiner, the brilliant New York Times No.1 bestselling author of eleven novels and a mother of two daughters who, after overhearing some young girls talking negatively about their bodies, set up a campaign by posting a picture of herself in a swimsuit to her Facebook page.
In it, she encouraged her female followers to post a ‘positive smorgasbord’ of swimsuit pictures to her page using the hashtag #WearTheSwimsuit so she could show her daughters that women don’t have to look like models to be happy in their skin. Her campaign went viral, quickly gathering over 10,000 likes – and for good reason.
Jennifer looked happy, relaxed and beautiful – as do the rest of the women who have added their picture to the campaign’s hashtag. And no matter what you may think, so do you.
It’s time to make the term ‘beach body’ fit any size or shape; our loved ones don’t care what we look like on holiday, they just want to see us smiling and having fun. As one of my daughter’s favourite songs goes: ‘It’s what you wear from ear to ear and not from head to toe, that matters’.
And that’s a lesson in body confidence everyone should learn.
tm’s 3-step swimsuit oath
1. We swear we’ll #WeartheSwimsuit with pride this summer – whatever our size or shape.
2. We swear we’ll be IN those family holiday photographs – instead of hiding behind the camera. Smiling and happy in our skin.
3. We swear we won’t engage in swimsuit shaming – about others (including celebrities) or ourselves.