Does body image matter on the beach?
By Iloradanon Efimoff, Contributor
It may not look like summer yet, but I promise you, it’s right around the corner. And what comes with summer? Parties, barbecues… and, of course, the beach!
Let’s be real: how are you getting your beach body ready? Are you cutting back on food? Starving? Working on your thigh gap? Doing an endless number of push ups? Planks? Burpees? Do you just put on a healthy dose of confidence?
Want to know my secret? I don’t think about it, and I don’t care.
Does that mean that apathy is the key to sexiness, sex-appeal, or self-confidence? Probably not. But it sure as hell beats the endless and pointless hours at the gym in a vain attempt to be “sexy.” After all, I have a lot more fun at the beach, swimming or throwing a football around than I would if I sat there worrying about my lack of a “thigh gap.”
Besides, you’re never going to please everyone. Someone will dislike your bathing suit choice, and write you off as not sexy. Someone will see your abs and consider you “too fit for a girl.” Someone will see your chest hair, or lack thereof, and think it’s gross. Your facade of confidence may crumble when you realize not everyone is fooled by it. All of these things are aimed at attaining a concept of sexiness. However, everyone has a different idea of what’s sexy in real life, even if the magazines don’t seem to agree with this fact.
Growing up as a young woman in a society that idealizes thin, white, blonde girls has illustrated to me just how (a) impressionable most teenage girls are, and (b) how difficult it can be to deal with the concept of “sexy.” Most girls I know, both in their late teens and early 20s (and quite a few who are a lot older), regardless of their feminist or non-feminist identity, have body image issues. I know I was prone to these in the past, and still am sometimes. Most girls don’t seem to consider themselves sexy, but work really hard to try to reach that ideal—whether it’s by tanning, losing weight, dying hair, or wearing makeup. Or maybe they try to take the “short-cut” and just act confident.
The issue with this is that whether it be physical (i.e. losing weight) or attitudinal (i.e. confidence) changes, all of these things really just perpetuate the idea that we should care about what others think of our bodies. The fact is, when you lose or gain five or 10 pounds, most people—other than yourself or maybe your significant other—don’t notice. Another thing to keep in mind is that no body is perfect, and there is no point in a body being aesthetically perfect, anyways. The point of a body is to be functional, not to look nice (in the big picture, anyways). In fact, the whole concept of beauty or sex appeal is largely constructed and cultural.
The takeaway message? Just don’t give a fuck.