Miami Swim Week just ended, and all the fashion mags are reporting on the styles that rocked the runway. Teeny weeny models – teeny weeny bikinis. We say, don’t let that get inside your head when you take your own beautiful body to the beach, because:
While shopping for new bikinis this summer, every model looked the same: tan skin, toned abs, thigh gaps, and just the right amount of arm muscle. Of course, they would look flawless in any suit they wore, but that got me wondering, will I only look good in this if I have that body type? Is this the oh so infamous “bikini body” we speak of?
The first time I heard this term, I was at swim practice in seventh grade. We were doing pushups, and as our arms were beginning to fail us, our coach just kept screaming, “C’mon guys, think of that beach body you’re going to have.” At that age of middle school insecurities, I ate that remark of encouragement up. Looking back on that comment now, with a much different outlook on body image, I pick up on two things;
1) I do not work out to obtain a “beach body”
2) I do not need a certain body to feel confident in a bathing suit.
The body is a magnificent thing, and when used the right ways, it can be quite resilient. Despite what the media and society tell us, the point of working out and eating right should not be to obtain this “beach bod,” instead, you should be working toward the body that you feel comfortable in, not the body that society says you should feel comfortable in.
As a competitive swimmer, I use my body for a multitude of things. I need strong legs for running, big arms for lifting, and broad shoulders to propel me through the pool. No, this does not fit into this “beach body” definition, but it is the body for me. Being able to perform to the best of my ability in the gym and fueling my body properly is what makes me feel confident, and, therefore, is my beach body.
The media can place some pretty distorted ideas, and I will not deny being sucked into its trap. We need to put an end to the body shaming the media and society produces, and by doing so, create our own beauty. No more falling victim to what others consider beautiful. Instead, we will aim to produce a body we feel confident in without trying to please societies opinions, and when we can do that, we can redefine the true meaning of a beach body.