The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
When school is out, I get a lot of joy from summer activities. Eating ice cream, campfires, playing with my dog, and best of all – swimming. Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t stand the heat, so most of my time is spent in a pool over the summer. My daily routine usually involves going to work, coming home to get dinner, and spending the rest of my evening at the local pool. If I get the chance to travel, I spend most of my time at the beach.
This happy place I’ve found for myself wasn’t always so happy. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved swimming, but I didn’t always love the way I looked in a swimsuit. As a kid, I was the tallest and weighed the most out of all of my friends. I soon realized that the way I looked didn’t match the way women in swimsuit advertisements, magazines, and movies looked. Comparing myself to others, and being told that my body wasn’t good enough, lead to a lot of shame and insecurity. A place that should have been fun became something I dreaded, because I didn’t want anyone to see me in a swimsuit and judge how I looked.
I’m not alone in this feeling. People of all genders are pressured to look a certain way, but the women and femme-presenting people I know often face more judgement from society. Many of the messages I internalized when I was young still persist. Every time I see a TikTok about “how to get the perfect summer body!” or the viral “Beach Body” exercise trend, I get angry. Luckily, the messages I see are slowly changing. I’ve seen more plus sized models in recent years, and a burgeoning body neutrality movement that encourages people to just exist and be at peace with how they look. It’s not perfect, but it is a start.
I’ve worked a lot to deconstruct my own attitudes about my body, and I’m in a place now where I feel confident and happy going out. I’ve realized that I shouldn’t let society’s outdated expectations ruin my enjoyment of something I love. A summer body is just a body in the summertime. No drastic modifications are necessary. There’s no such thing as a body that is acceptable at the beach, and a body that is not. Everyone is worthy as they are, so get in that pool.