I stood in front of the mirror at my inlaws’ house this past weekend, staring at myself in the mirror, trying to figure out whether I should even bother going to the beach or if I should just throw back on my clothes and forget the swimming part.
Weight has been an issue with me for a long time, and looking at myself in a bikini, I started to feel like it was inappropriate for me to go out. My husband picked out this swim-outfit for me, and continuously tells me that I look sexy in it. But every time I see myself in the mirror, it’s like a big sign pops over my head that says “Fat people shouldn’t be in bikinis”.
Despite knowing in my head that the majority of women do not look like Jennifer Aniston or Megan Fox in a swimsuit, my heart has still fallen for the pitches by Hollywood and the magazines, that if you DON’T look like them, you don’t deserve to wear such sexy clothes. Big isn’t beautiful. Rolls are disgusting, and everyone will be looking at you grossed out by what they see.
And despite knowing this is completely false, I still fall prey to those lies. But the funny thing is that I don’t hold other girls to the same standards I hold myself. Even as I sat on the beach, wondering if I should cover myself up, I saw three girls who were much larger than I was, and found myself admiring them not just for their bravery, but how good they looked in a bikini. Rolls, pudgy stomachs, thunder-thighs and all these girls looked great. It made me ask myself how is that I can see how beautiful they look, but when I look at myself all I can see is the fat?The good part is that a lot of people are asking this question, and many, much braver than I, have started stepping out and doing something about it. Even major corporate companies are speaking out against the over-photoshopping done on girls that change gorgeous women into hollow shells of what they really are. That are pointing out that not even the girls on the magazines look like their pictures.
It’s part of why I am hugely in love with the #aerieREAL campaign that Aerie (American Eagle) started several months back. None of the models are touched up, and, at the request of their rather pleased audience, they’ve started to include larger, curvier models as well.
While I sat on that beach, admiring those girls, I decided that I was going to try something. That I was going to try focusing on enjoying myself and having fun at the beach, rather than being mortified by body. That I would get up, play baseball, go for a swim and remember that the only person whose opinion really matters as to how I look (my husband’s) is a positive one, and that HE asked me to wear this.
When we got home, I sat down to write this post and came across an article that one of my favourite writers (Leah Campbell) had shared from the website that she writes for, mom.me. The article was about a new ad campaign called Stop the Beauty Madness, which addresses everything women in today’s society face on a daily basis because of these impossible beauty standards.
Enough is enough. It’s time we stopped letting the media set the standards of beauty. Whether you have a thigh gap, or thighs so thick they will never stop rubbing together, whether you have rolls, curves, bones sticking out or are straight as a line YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Your beauty is not defined by what some person behind a computer screen carves out of a picture in a program.
And because it’s time that we showed the world that women of all shapes, sizes, colours and ethnicity are crazy beautiful without changing a damn thing.
#StoptheBeautyMadness because the only way it’s going to change is if we stand together and join the beauty revolution–if we recapture the word.