It’s about that time again where the covers of all the latest fashion and fitness magazines are giving us tips for how to become bikini- body-ready. Everywhere on Pinterest there are workout plans, new diets and life style changes to achieve that swimsuit-body goal.
Everyone seems to believe it is very necessary to get that body as soon as possible however no one can seem to agree on how long it will take. Just Google it (or maybe don’t…) Apparently it can take anywhere from 1 week to 2 months.
Since deep down I’m a little rebellious (okay it’s actually very much on the surface) I would like to challenge this status quo.
Who on earth is benefiting from our frantic rush and urgency to get our bikini body on at lightening speed?
And who exactly told us what a bikini body looks like?
As women we are constantly inundated with messages about how we should look.This includes our hair, our skin, our bodies, our faces, and even how we smell. We hear these messages spring, fall, and winter. But I think the pressure starts to rise and heat up as summer starts to unfold.
Brene Brown, author of I Thought It Was Just Me, writes, “Appearance expectations exist to keep us spending our valuable resources-money, time and energy-on trying to meet some ideal that is not achievable.”
Personally I hear the pressure each spring as summer our inevitable future is waiting around the corner. I hear my clients talk about avoiding certain foods and I hear them talk about their stomachs in degrading ways. I hear the urgency in their voice as they talk about “not working out enough”. Then I hear my friends and they are certainly more used to the pressure but not immune to it. I can see the shame in their eyes.
As for me, I can totally relate as I took 3 whole months to find a swimsuit. Because obviously finding the perfect fitting swimsuit will erase all body shame and fear. Right?
According to Brown, Americans spend more each year on beauty than we do on education.
Allow this to upset you. No wonder we (me) so easily give into our culture’s narrative of what beautiful is. We spend our money on something we are clearly not educated on.
Let’s break it down*.
The $38 billion hair industry
The $33 billion diet industry
The $24 billion skincare industry
The $18 billion makeup industry
The $1.4 billion over-the-counter teeth whitening industry**
These were statistics from 2008. This year, the diet industry has brought in $60 billion. That is a WHOLE lot of our hard earned money!
Think of all we could do with that money. Some of it could go towards the foster system or adoptions; some of it could go towards educating others on eating disorders, racism, sexism and ageism. It could go towards helping to end sex trafficking. Maybe it could towards helping those who are persecuted for their faith in other countries. It could go towards paying for someone’s college education. Maybe it could go towards helping those recovering from job loss, or your church family, or or or… and the list goes on.
I am by no means trying to shame anyone for buying make-up or working out or wearing perfume. I do all of these things.
Rather, I am saying it is time for us to stop letting these industries TELL US WHAT beauty means.
Let’s challenge the why behind are working-out and our make-up wearing lives.The pressure we feel to have a swimsuit-ready-body is supported by a multi-billion dollar industry. Even the most intellectual of us get sucked in.
And certainly I am not trying to shame these industries because they are under a lot of pressure as well. They depend on us to believe them about what is beautiful so that they can pay their mortgages and provide for their families. They need to put food on the table and they want to send their kids to college just like us. I don’t often like how they go about marketing and advertising but I can understand it. I get why it’s effective.
So next time you think you need to try the next diet fad, or get on new rigorous work out plan or nit pick every part of your body before you can go out in public in a bathing suit I want you to ask yourself a question.
Am I letting culture define beauty for me? And if I am, how is this hurting me?
Also I have a very short two-step plan for how to achieve a-bikini-ready-body if you are interested. You could spend two months trying to achieve it or you could go ahead and participate in my two-step plan…which takes approximately 60 seconds. And, it’s free!
GUARANTEED TWO-STEP PLAN TO A BIKINI-READY-BODY
1. Do you have a body?
2. Do you have a bikini?
If you answered yes to the questions above then, congratulations! You are bikini-body-ready!!! Meet you at the beach!
* Statistics and research taken from I Thought It Was Just Me by Brene Brown, Ph.D., LMSW.