This morning I was on the tube and my attention came to an advertisement with the most incredible (like, almost unbelievable) woman wearing a bikini. The line next to her read “Are You Beach Body Ready?”.
The sun has been shining for the past few days, a bit random for April, but we are definitely in the lead up to summertime. How can you tell? A few things; sun creams are creeping onto shop shelves, summer clothing is officially on sale and finally advertisements are starting to tell us that our bodies are absolutely not good enough to possibly show any skin in a public area without first undergoing rigorous dieting, gym-ing and frankly, suffering.
When I saw this advert I thought to myself, ‘well, I have a body and I could just take it to the beach therefore bam, it would be a beach body, so there’. No, I’m not stupid and I do understand what they mean by ‘beach body’. When you think about it they’re actually saying, ‘unless you look like this model you do not have a body fit for the beach’. Which is funny because I’m pretty sure even the model doesn’t really look like that. Well I’m calling it, I know BS when I see it! The product was weight loss supplements by the way (I mean, really).
My sympathy goes out to the women who currently feel crippled by low body confidence and see adverts like this and soak up the subliminal message that their body is not worthy to be shown on a beach because they don’t look like the woman on the poster. Especially to young girls who are increasingly attracted to visual media (e.g. Instagram) and they can be very impressionable. After all, the advertisements wouldn’t work unless they succeeded in making us think we NEED their product in the first place. So, ladies, how much longer are we going to let images like this control the way our minds view our own bodies? What if we just instantly called BS and got on with our lives? These days we’re too busy trying to take over the world to keep up with this internalised battle we all seem to have with ourselves. Let’s not.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe wholly in a healthy lifestyle. However, we need to assess our intentions behind our actions. I lead a healthy lifestyle because I love healthy food, I love dancing and I enjoy the way it makes me feel but I don’t deny myself anything. If I want a chocolate, I am having chocolate and know better than to try and stop me! I don’t suffer under a strict/impossible regime I don’t enjoy because I know better than to obsess over everything I do; I’ve seen first hand what it can do to your mind and trust me, it doesn’t win any points on the happiness scale. By trying to alter your body in a forced and unnatural way, newsflash, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
My point is this; your body is yours and no one else’s. You can choose what kind of relationship you have with it. You can decide that when you look in a mirror you’re going to look at the things you like about it instead of what you don’t. You can learn to accept that the things you don’t like are unchangeable and quite possibly what makes you unique. You can improve your own happiness and wellbeing by treating your body with more respect than to fill it with diet pills which the girl in ‘that’ bikini on ‘that’ poster has most probably never taken herself. Read the fine print- “Product works only alongside a calorie controlled diet”. Aka “BS”!
Have you ever actually been to a beach? Was it full of impossibly skinny and toned model-esque females? In your head maybe. Most likely it was full of all kinds of people; toddlers running around naked covered in wet sand with their heavily pregnant mothers attempting to chase after them, an elderly couple taking a stroll with their trousers rolled up just above their ankles with matching straw hats on and, if you’re in Britain, lots of people slavering sun cream onto their luminous white skin due to how rarely they get to see the sun…
Don’t put your body through it. Stop worrying and get yourself down to the beach like everybody else; wearing your own (happy) body, just how it is.
Check out our recommended charity Body Gossip and learn to rock your own brand of gorgeous!