Photo: Allison McGee
Now that the summer is getting close, there has been an increase in advertisements for weight loss supplements, gyms, and fitness classes, all to get us ready for our perfect “summer body!” This all poses the questions of: “What is a summer body?” “Is my body not meant for the summer?” and “How do I get a summer body?” Working out, eating well, and making changes to affect your physical appearance can be a great thing, so long as they are being done for the right reasons.
We should be wanting to exercise, eat better, or create better habits for the sake of bettering ourselves, not to lose weight. Weight gain and weight loss are natural occurrences that happen, but they should not be done purposefully in order to prepare for an event or to ready for a certain season. All bodies are beautiful during all seasons.
That being said, going into the summer season can be a scary thing because of those who prey on people who may have lower self-esteem. Multi-level marketing (MLM) companies are those that we see have individual sellers that focus on someone’s insecurities. We see these a lot on Facebook and Instagram. They, as a result of what the upper-level management is trying to do, prey on our insecurities and use that to try and make money. This is something especially common during the late winter and spring months.
Bikinis, in essence, are a lot like underwear and wearing them in such a public space can be terrifying. Due to the societal pressure of people having to have the perfect “beach bodies”, sometimes we skip the beach days and decide to stay at home where it is more comfortable and we do not have to risk being ridiculed. All of this unnecessary pressure to look a certain way is wholeheartedly fat shaming. The idea that only one body type is sexy enough to go to the beach, to wear a bathing suit, and be desirable in the eyes of others is ridiculous. The human race has a diversity that needs to be understood and cherished. By pressuring people to prepare their bodies for these amazing summers full of beach days, it is not only disrespecting that humans are diverse, but making those who might not have that cookie-cutter “hot” body feel tarnished, unworthy, and mistreated.
The body-positive movement is here to combat that and allow people to feel more comfortable in their own skin. The goal of the movement is to allow people to be comfortable and remind them that their bodies are beautiful and valid. This summer while we are wearing whatever we feel like wearing, we need to remember that we are beautiful, no matter what society might say about us. So if this summer, you want to step up your gym game, that is fine. If this summer, you want to stay far away from the gym, that’s fine, too! Whatever is healthy for you and makes you happy is what is best for you.
Please, remember to not compare yourself to how you may have looked this time last year or the year before. Live in the moment and enjoy how powerful your body is. Enjoy the summer in whatever you are most comfortable wearing. It will be getting hot, so please do not be ashamed of your skin!
Elizabeth Coleman is a passionate writer from Massachusetts. She is twenty three years old and is currently working on her MS from Nova Southeastern University in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. She graduated last year from Keene State College with two BAs, one in Holocaust and Genocide Studies with a minor in history and the other in Criminal Justice Studies. Elizabeth loves to read, but her all time favorite book would have to be "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. In five years, Elizabeth hopes to be investigating extremism and hate groups in the United States. Elizabeth steps up for justice, equality, and making the world a bit better for everyone.