Something that has been really bothering me lately is seeing a lot of my friends on Facebook – most of them old school friends and people who aren’t in my immediate circle these days – reposting or liking this “Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge.”
So I checked it out. Man, it’s persuasive. 12 weeks to a perfect bikini body? Finally being able to feel good in a swimsuit? And having fun while you get there? Sounds pretty damn perfect.
Except it’s not.
Listen to me now: There is no such thing a perfect bikini body. The right to wear a bikini is not reserved for people who are thin and conventionally beautiful. You do not need to lose weight to wear a bikini, you do not need to be thin to feel comfortable with your body. You don’t need anyone else’s approval to wear what you like in public.
Weight loss challenges like this (and the associated price tag from diets to special workout classes) don’t actually do anyone any good. All the “secrets of weight loss,” all the before-and-after pictures of size 12 women who are now size 8 women do more harm than good. They’re body policing. They tell us what is “acceptable” and what isn’t. An unhealthy size eight woman will always be seen as worth more than a healthy size sixteen. Our society is predicated on the idea that fat cannot possibly be healthy and thin always is. Thin is the ultimate goal, the miracle cure for self-esteem and happiness. We’re taught that fat makes you worthless and lazy. It’s no wonder that we have a pervasive idea that fat people should not be allowed to wear bikinis, that they should not be able to feel comfortable in bikinis. To feel comfortable in a bikini, you must be thin.
Just today at Hoyden About Town Mindy posted about a news article saying that Australians were more healthy overall, but the “obesity epidemic” continues. Wow, people are healthier, but still fat? Maybe that’s because the stats are finally showing that fat actually doesn’t have much to do with health at all. That fat doesn’t preclude health. And then maybe we can move from there to the idea that bodies actually naturally come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, and that it is only appropriate to wear a bikini if you fit into the “thin with curves” shape.
I urge you all to check out the Health At Every Size movement, which recognises that some of us are just thin and some of us are fat because we are, and that our body shape does not mean that we’re automatically healthy or unhealthy.