Don't Worry, You Already Have a Bikini Body

How to say no to "look perfect in a two-piece" pressure

Seems like everywhere you turn right now, people are panicking about their body and its bikini-worthiness. As the New York Times reported last week, springtime commercials for yogurt, lotion, and snack foods all center around this theme. Gyms offer all kinds of discounts in their quest to help you get into swimsuit shape. Women's magazines are beside themselves with thoughts about your abs and how they could get flatter.

So before we lose the plot entirely, consider this: If you have a body, and you'd like to put a bikini on it, then you already have a bikini body.

Because as Dodai Stewart on Jezebel explains: "There are no bikini bodies. There are only women who choose to wear swimsuits, and in doing so, they do not sanction the universe to pass judgment on their parts."

What gets me about the whole "bikini body" marketing concept is how it has ratcheted things up to the point where tons of otherwise rational, confident women live in absolute fear of the thing. Maybe they've had a baby, or aren't die-hard gym-goers -- whatever the reason, bikinis have wound up on the same list as "party drugs" and "crying at work:" Something no self-respecting adult woman would do.

This is madness. We're talking about two strips of stretchy fabric -- they don't deserve this much power. Just like you don't have to earn the right to eat delicious food, you don't have to earn bikini privileges. Anyone with a torso and some basic motor skills can put one on.

Of course, when someone says she'd never wear a bikini, it's not about the bikini at all. It's about how uncomfortable we are with our naked bodies and all the ways they fail to measure up to that ideal bikini body burned into our collective minds. Bikinis don't leave much to the imagination. If you're not the biggest fan of your midsection bikinis don't help you out because they don't even touch your midsection. It just has to sit there, right out in the middle of everything.

But here's the thing about that: If you're uncomfortable with your midsection (or any other part of you), chances are, you're worrying what people think about it even when completely clothed. To that, Ragen of Dances With Fat says: "People can see me. So they know how big I am whether I’m in a swimsuit, or a T-shirt. If they are shocked at my size in a swimsuit, they should have been paying better attention. That’s just a big sack of not-my-problem."

Yes. Back in college, when my own midsection began tormenting me, I decided that I had to cover up. I bought a cute red and pink tankini. I put it on. And I realized that I still didn't like my stomach. Only now, I didn't like my pink and red stomach.

The fact is, I often like my whole body better without clothes cutting in and creating weird lumps. And this is especially true for swimsuits. Over the years, I've abandoned tankinis and any other "figure-flattering"-inis in favor of string bikinis. Yes, if you ask the bikini police, I'm way too big to wear such a thing. But if you ask me, string bikinis are the greatest because they're so adjustable. No weird lumps! What you get is just my body. In a bikini. Otherwise known as my bikini body.

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