An open letter to boycott the bikini body. Laura Phelan @phelanwell
Dear “bikini body” creators, yes you, the ones who have told women for centuries that they have to look a certain way to be worthy of being on a beach in a bikini.
We have seen you change over the centuries for sure, from the 90’s thigh gap, to the bootalicious 2000’s, to the itty-bitty waist, the shredded abs, the perfectly pert breasts and the flawless skin. Sound familiar? The same old unrealistic ideals forced upon us as a population to fit into the mould of what we are sold as the bikini body year in year out.
With the rise of social media, amongst a wellness revolution and a saturation of heavily filtered/perfected images on platforms such as Instagram, we are unsurprisingly still seeing a rise in eating disorders and body dissatisfaction, so yeah thanks for that. Did you know that 80% of women in the UK are dissatisfied with their appearance, and the biggest worry young women around the ages of 13-16 experience is about what they look like? That’s YOUR daughters worrying about their bodies more than their school work or happiness, that’s the next generation of young people fearing becoming fat more than their parents dying of cancer. Not to mention the 10% of men that are currently struggling with Body Dysmorphia in gyms. I know, these facts are hard hitting, but you are still not listening. Maybe you are a brand selling hard and fast ways of “shredding” for the summer, or a diet plan masked as a “lifestyle change” for health, you are part of the problem, don’t try and convince us you care about our health because that includes our MENTAL health, which quite frankly goes down the pan when we spend our days obsessing over food and our bodies.
It wasn’t long ago I wrote to your dear friend and co-creator diet culture, who really the responsibility falls on, because your co-creator is worth 62 billion dollars right now-WOOOEEEE. I mean who can blame you right? You want to cash in on that, what’s the fastest way to make money, OH I KNOW LETS MAKE EVERYONE FEEL SUPER INSECURE AND NEED TO BUY OUR PRODUCTS (even though here’s a secret they don’t work, our models are photoshopped and well I’m missing out like 95% of the population in my marketing but who cares right skinny sells?)
I’m going to give you a chance here, because I’m a fair person and I believe everyone has the right to make mistakes and be open to learning, but my patience is wearing thin, so I suggest you listen up. Here’s what I suggest:
Start representing people of ALL shapes and sizes, like hello the average UK women is a size 16 get with the programme.Look up HAES (health at every size) and get us of your ass, health is not a size and your body shaming tactics are turning people AWAY from health behaviours not toward them! You want a healthy society? Make it inclusive, stop using weight stigma and scaremongering people into unhealthy change.Ask yourself, what did your younger self need to see? I find it hard to image you think you are saving the world with 27000 pictures of the same perky, overedited, sticky out bum pics of all your models. What about the representation of different bums, with cellulite and different colouring and scars and marks and what they ACTUALLY LOOK LIKE?At the end of it all, when you pass from the world do you really want people to remember you for what you looked like? No, I didn’t think so, so stop convincing everyone else that they do.
To conclude, if you are a reader and feel affected by this, remember that your body and appearance doesn’t define who YOU are as a person or what choices you can make. Even if you feel bad about your body, you still need and deserve to eat, just because them jeans didn’t fit you in that shop, you still deserve to own and wear jeans. The day I stopped going to war with my body was the day I finally felt at home in it and you can too.
Whatever your journey, know that nothing lasts forever and YOU have the power to strengthen your mind and life to live more freely, in peace with your body. For more information or support contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can purchase tickets to Beyond The Bikini Body event here