By: Amanda Ruzylo, IATG Contributor February 20, 2016
So, what’s a bikini body? For the most part, the media tells us that to have a “bikini body” you must be a woman who has lean thighs that don’t dare touch, a stomach as flat as a board, and curves that highlight her every angle. They have cultivated an image that seems nearly impossible to obtain for the average women.
Out of curiosity, I searched “bikini body” on Google images, and 9 out of 10 images were of a woman who perfectly matched my description above. Shocker.
The good news? Women’s Health Magazine has decided to take a step in the right direction to ending the “bikini body” stigma. At the end of December 2015, the magazine announced that it is banning the cover lines “bikini body” and “drop two sizes” from all future covers of the health magazine.
This is a tremendous step forward for the magazine, who earlier this year ditched the words “diet” and “shrink” from it’s cover as well.
Let’s go back to the question posed at the start of this post, “What constitutes as a bikini body?” By having the words “get a bikini body in two weeks!” plastered on the cover of a magazine, it convinces women that they, too, can look EXACTLY like that. How is that even possible?
The cold hard truth is that it’s not. Because guess what?
Every woman is different; therefore, every body type is different. It’s not even possible to look like that cover model for the majority of women, especially in a limited amount of time.
But who said that there’s anything wrong with that? How did this image of a woman with slim shoulders and long, lean legs become the norm? Contrary to what the media portrays, women need two things to rock a bikini body: a bikini and a body.
Removing the words “bikini body” from Women’s Health magazine is an influential step in eliminating unrealistic weight-loss goals. By ditching the word “bikini,” it is equally important to omit the larger connotation that comes with it. The goal should not be to transform our bodies into Victoria Secret models but to become versions of ourselves that above all make us feel happy and healthy.
Yes, we’ve all heard this before. But even as society is becoming more aware of the large variety of body types (which is undeniably AWESOME), this societal improvement does not automatically make it easier for the average person to feel more confident about their body.
For every plus sized model rocking a bikini, there are 100 stick thin models bombarding the media: an ominous presence of an appearance you will never have.
That is why removing the words “bikini body” and “drop two sizes” from the cover of Women’s Health magazine is vital. It’s why celebrities like Amy Schumer and her influential words about body image are an example to all. It won’t happen overnight, but the realization that YOU are incredible, no matter what your size or shape, will do wonders.
What do you love most about your body? How can we keep challenging media to create healthier images for girls? Start a “love myself” vision board full of healthy, body-positive images that make you feel great.
Amanda is a first year university student who resides in Southern Ontario, Canada. While tirelessly working to obtain a degree in Media & Communications Studies, she also enjoys the simply pleasures of reading a good book, creative writing and binge watching crime and comedy shows on Netflix. Additionally, Amanda is a massive fan of dogs, feminism, alternative rock music and terribly scripted soap operas. You can follow her day to day (more like week to week) adventures on instagram.
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.