It’s June! Hot, sunny, sweaty, glorious June. Which means for at least two months now, you’ve been seeing magazine headlines like, 5 Tips To Get Fit This Bikini Season! and Groupon deals for Bikini Boot camps. Many women find these headlines motivational and inspiring; they’re able to leverage them to take on a mission to help them feel and look their best. And then many of us feel shamed: we can never compare and don’t deserve the chance to bask in the glorious sun, beach side or poolside.
In the past decade, there have been so many times when I’ve worn a swimsuit that I can’t remember them all. The birthday party in college. The two summers of swimming at the university pool, where I was more insecure about my weak swimming skills than how I looked. Last summer’s tubing adventure, where I wore a suit in front of the same friend who once told me, “You’re getting too fat. It’s getting embarrassing to be seen with you.” (That comment happened at a party, not tubing.) She can be embarrassed all she wants, but it isn’t going to stop me from having fun on the river.
Just like I have no problems stripping for a masseuse or spreading my legs for my yearly gynecological visit, I have no qualms about wearing a swimsuit in public. All of these acts have the same intention at heart — providing care for our bodies. What’s shameful in that? Whether working the knots out in tense muscles, ensuring my ovaries and cervix are healthy and happy, or providing my body much needed movement and exercise, it’s about choosing to care for our bodies.
As a plus-size woman (or fat girl, if you want to be blunt), I know I’m supposed to feel shame wearing a swimsuit in public. The simple truth is … I don’t.
The concept of bikini season – and ensuring your body is ready for it – is just marketing. It’s just emotional manipulation. It’s just a lie to encourage the sales of swimsuits, diet plans, and workout plans. The summer months are notoriously slow for businesses and sales begin to tank. It’s why everyone has clearance sales galore, including high-end stores like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus. The desire to sell you tanning lotions, bikinis, and workout sessions are rooted in a desire to continue to make money through those slow months. It’s no more about your body than holiday diets, anti-aging creams, lotions, or serums, hair color sales … it’s all about making you feel insecure so you’ll buy into a product.
Regardless of your body type or size, you should feel safe going out in public in a swimsuit. You should feel safe going in the water without fear of judgement, because that judgement is in your head. Most people are so caught up in their own insecurities about their own bodies they won’t notice you and your body. You’re going to be far more harsh about the state of your body than anyone else will be.
In the words of Gabi Fresh:
As always, I truly encourage you guys to get to the beach (or a pool) this summer–don’t let body shame keep you from having a good time! I don’t expect everyone to feel comfortable in a two piece, but hopefully I can inspire some of you to take the plunge. I can’t tell you how freeing it is to just have fun without worrying about what other people think.
For inspiring swimsuit & bikini season reads:
- The Concept of Bikini Season is Infuriating Bullshit
- The Fatkini Gallery: 31 Sexy Hot Fat Girls in Skimpy Swimwear
- Fat Ladies in Bikinis Can’t Win
My favorite resources for swimsuits (esp. of the plus-size variety!):
- Old Navy has a great selection of plus-sized swimsuits that are bold, bright, playful AND affordable. (My favorites: this polka dot vintage inspired swimsuit and this black and white cross strap swimsuit.)
- City Chic always offers a ton of wonderful fashion-forward suits with great support. (My swimsuit in the photo above is from their collection last year!)
- Monif C is always at the top of the game when it comes to stylish and chic swimwear. (Love this wetsuit inspired swimsuit and this black & white striped bikini.)
- Modcloth is my favorite resource for vintage-inspired, playful suits. (I’m OBSESSED with the stars in strips swimsuit.)
- Swimsuits For All – I learned about them recently when Gabi collaborated on an amazing line of suits. Many are what you’d expect from a plus-size suit, but there are several that are sexy, adorable, pretty, fun, and/or functional. (My favorite is this Jewel Print One Piece from Gabi!)
- Pinterest! One of my most popular posts ever was 21 Awesome Swimsuits for Plus Size Ladies. As a result, I try to keep a running Pinterest board for my favorite plus size swimsuits around the web.
Already Pretty contributor Ashley began blogging in 2007 at Dramatis Personae, which focuses on life & style. She recently launched Style in Cinema to combine her loves of shopping, fashion, and film/television. Ashley’s love of fashion began at 10, when she bought her first issue of Seventeen magazine; this also marked the beginning of a life long battle with learning to love her body. As a plus-sized gal, she loves promoting fashion for all women and shops that want to make all ladies feel beautiful. She currently calls New Orleans home.