Beach body pressure
By Natalie Serafini, Opinions Editor
Summer is here, and a large aspect of summertime weather is beach time fun—with this comes the pressure to look good in a swimsuit, by whatever means necessary. ‘Tis the season for magazines hawking diets, exercise regimens, and the perfect bikinis to adorn and conceal not-so-perfect bikini bodies. What does all this persistent pressure mean for its subjects, namely those who want to enjoy themselves while lounging on sandy shores?
Kiran Moore explained that, “I think girls in general when they go out on the beaches and stuff, they wear bikinis, they want their bodies to look nice, and their shapes, because otherwise they wouldn’t feel comfortable about how they look.”
On the effects of the pressure to look good, Maryam Sufizadah said, “I think it’s a negative because… people push themselves to look good. Especially girls.”
With regards to the issue of beach body pressure, Roger Olsen said, “It shouldn’t be a problem. Just go and have fun.”
A theme in the statements of those interviewed was that health should always be a goal, rather than simply losing weight fast for swimsuit season.
Olsen continued, stating that the focus shouldn’t be on diet, but lifestyle. “I think it’s silly that people start diets now, versus, you know, a long time ago when they wanted to, or that they start diets at all because really they’re just doing it for other people, not themselves.”
Nakisa Maleki echoed these sentiments, saying, “I think it’s not very positive because if people want to be healthy, it shouldn’t be because you want to wear a bikini. If you want to be healthy, you should be healthy. You don’t need to do it because of something else.”
Sabrina Rahemtula said, “Everyone can look their best and be their best, but some people take it to an extreme where they just stop eating. It depends on the person, it depends on their mindset, and what they think they need to be. I think it also depends on their confidence level. If they’re not happy with themselves they’re just going to do more extreme things.”
Rahemtula felt the magazines emphasizing the importance of being thin and trim seemed to be guaranteeing a better life with a smaller build. “It’s empty promises. Like, if you look like this your life will be ways better. It’s an empty promise, it’s not true.”
I can say for myself that, although I try to approach the subject of fitness in a healthy way, I do sometimes succumb to the pressure to be a bodacious beach-goer. This pressure isn’t necessarily bad if it encourages people to consider their health more, but a healthy mentality rarely results. The focus is on looking good, which is at best a subjective goal and at worst—if based on the templates provided by photoshopped magazine covers—an unattainable one.
Obsessive dieting and general dissatisfaction with appearance is a common theme, and I vote that we protest. When you go to the beach this summer, go with the intention of having a good time and not thinking about your appearance. Eat well and exercise, but do it for yourself, not for the supposed judgment of others. And even after tans have faded and the beaches have emptied, be healthy for the sake of it, and do it all year round. With a healthy lifestyle comes a healthy body, mind, and attitude and that should extend throughout the year.