I’ve just returned from a wonderful week in sunny Lanzarote. While I was there I couldn’t help noticing the huge disparity between the way women comport themselves in swimwear, and the way men do. The men, regardless of body type, level of sunburn or proliferation of body hair, paraded around like the Hoff in Baywatch. The women were an altogether different proposition. I saw women hiding under kaftans and sarongs, only whipping them off to dash to the pool. I saw women constantly, self-consciously re-adjusting their swimsuits and bikinis. I saw women actually swimming in t-shirts and shorts, less they expose the world to the horror that is their body. And, do you know what? I’m no better. In the weeks leading up to this break I have been in the gym 3 times a week, pounding the pavements even more regularly. Dragging my husband’s weights out from under the bed at 10pm for a few reps of bicep curls. I’ve subsisted predominantly off the Pret Souper healthy soups and forgone many an evening meal. All in pursuit of the perfect ‘bikini body’.
And for all that effort, yes, I lost 10lbs and toned up a bit, but did that stop me furtively tucking my pouchy little tummy into my bikini bottoms every time I sat down and mithering about my carb intake at every meal time? It did not.
A wise friend recently said that the formula to a bikini was such: Have body. Purchase bikini. Combine. She was so right. If women re-appropriated all that pre-holiday preparation time, mid-holiday angsting time and post-holiday photo dissection time, I’m pretty sure we could cure cancer or something. I propose an amnesty, celebrate your body, don’t denigrate it. Treat it well but don’t punish it for the things it cannot change.
Joanna from Poppy’s Style recently posted a photo of herself in her swimsuit. The feedback has been that she was ‘brave’, but actually, what the fuck is brave about a normal, gorgeous lady wearing a swimsuit? Why on earth shouldn’t she be proud of her body and all its achievements? And why shouldn’t I? I can run for an hour without stopping with this body. I can dance all night in heels with this body. I made two babies with this body. So here it is in all its glory. And if you don’t like it? Well, I think you know what you can do…
Bikini – Sweaty Betty
Patchwork tan – Model’s own