Spring break is a time that should be filled with nothing be enjoyment, excitement, and copious amounts of R&R. So zero stress, right? Unfortunately, before you even step foot on the plane, the occasion can be marred by serious anxiety all packaged into a tiny garment: a swimsuit. No matter your size or shape, every girl can relate to the emotional implications that come with having to sport a swimsuit in front of your friends, classmates, and complete strangers during spring break.
And it’s not that we as women are innately wired with confidence issues or think we look bad in swimsuits (we don’t!). It’s that society has these notions of what we should look like in a swimsuit, and any variance from the projected “bikini body” is something neither society nor ourselves should accept. Rather than focusing on making memories and enjoying ourselves, we are preoccupied with the way we look.
I would personally like to give two middle fingers to the term “bikini body.” Because get what ladies, as long as you have a body and want to wear a two piece, you have all it takes to have a true bikini body.
Knowing I am not alone in my frustration (and frankly, disgust) with therm, I reached out to some of my fellow college students to get their input on this stigma.
“I honestly hate that term and the way social media stigmas make girls feel. It’s 2017, we are all shaped differently and we are beautiful for that. I’d like to see more advertisements of girls and guys of various sizes and races mingling together because it projects the message that the way we look is different but okay.”—Venesa Coger
(Photo via @venesajco)
“I think social media molds our ideas of what we’re supposed to be doing, where we’re supposed to be traveling, and how we’re supposed to look while doing it. This is directly reflective of the ‘bikini body’ mentality because when the warmer months are approaching we are subtly reminded on social media that bikini season is approaching and it’s time to craft those bikini bods. I think social media is great about highlighting the great in your life and unfortunately creating this unrealistic #goals that keep us on the surface level of experiences like spring break and travel. You want to look the ‘part’ and that is shaped from what we see social media defining the part as.”—Tabi Hoshmand
(photo via @tabihoshmand)
“I believe that if you have a body then you have a ‘bikini body.’ I can say that confidently now as a 20-year-old in college, but I wish that was something I’d always known. There are things you accept to be true and there are things you know. Growing up I accepted the idea that a woman’s body as is wasn’t bikini ready to be true. And that happiness was associated with skinny. But as a skinny girl I wasn’t happy with myself. Looking back on my exposed ribs and my ‘bikini ready’ body in all of my awkward glory I remember being so unhappy and hating my jiggly thighs that look like sticks now. I guess I want to add to what I said before. To be bikini ready you have to be ready to be in a bikini, meaning you have to love yourself and your body with or without exposed ribs and jiggly thighs.”—Sierra Stridiron
(Photo via @born_intheknow)
“To me, a ‘bikini body’ should be anybody that wears a bikini. However, I think that society has made it seem like only certain body types are entitled to wear a bikini. This can be really damaging to those who don’t fit into one of those body types and I definitely think that it can even ruin peoples’ fun times. Social media is definitely one of the biggest influences because there are so many beautiful women who are also thin and fit who that take photos in swimsuits, and they get praised for the way their body looks. This can make girls who don’t have bodies like that feel like they must not be attractive. It would be great if there were more social media influencers that had not conventionally attractive body types that would post photos of themselves at the beach and proud to be showing off their body.”—Lora Bishop
(Photo via @loramb_)
“I think that social media can definitely portray people differently than they may appear in real life, but it also allows for much more individuality at the same time. We all look at travel bloggers’ Instagram feeds and know that without photoshop or a great filter, we will never look exactly like they do. The next photo we might see, though, is a picture of people we know on spring break and it then enters into a space where we can actually understand that these are girls who are all shaped differently and are wearing different styles of bathing suits, but they still look great. It becomes easier, then, to appreciate our own bodies and know that everyone is built differently and no one (except maybe those being paid to post on Instagram) is perfect. I think this conversation is a little tired, and people are starting to see that wearing a bikini doesn’t require an application.”—Christina D’Ambrosio
(photo via @christinadambro)
What do you think about the stigma of the perfect “bikini body”? Let us know in the comments below!