As I think I’ve mentioned before, I used to work in the heady world of PR, for a long time in the beauty industry. The samples were amazing. What was not amazing, though, were the endless ‘look better’ type press releases that were churned out on the smallest seasonal pretext. Are your feet ready for spring? Christmas party grooming, you know the kind of thing. And the daddy of them all, the one that is currently (probably) gracing the pages of every single magazine on the shelf at the moment – get a bikini body. Get. A Bikini. Body.
So let me start with why that is wrong, and why it makes me so ragingly angry.
1) A bikini body is a body that has a bikini on it. If you have a body (and any one will do), and you want to put a bikini on it, put a bikini on it. Bikinis come in all shapes and sizes. I don’t wear one because I have huge knockers and feel very insecure in one, not having any desire to either knock myself in the eyes while strollling for an ice cream or ‘pop out’ while rummaging in my bag for my sunnies. There is not a state-approved body for bikinis.
However, what there does seem to be, is an idea, amongst the less-enlightened sections of the male populace, that women who want to wear bikinis, or go to the beach, should work hard to look ‘right’, to avoid offending their delicate eyes and sensibilities. So hear this, buster – you don’t like how I look in a bikini? So what? Look somewhere else. And here’s another thing – I (and probably other women too) don’t care what strangers think of me. I don’t spend my life hoping that a male stranger thinks I’m attractive. Got it?
2) And this is the thing that really riles me. The body is an incredible piece of machinery, that is more complex, more delicately balanced, more robust, more self-repairing, than anything we could ever build. We only get one. So, here’s a radical idea. Rather than eating certain foods and being active, to get the sort of body that strangers approve of, how about doing those things to keep it in good nick? To make sure it keeps you ‘on the road’. That it doesn’ break down. That it works efficiently, with as little repair as possible, for as long as possible. Instead of getting bikini bodies, can’t we strive for strong bodies? For healthy bodies?
I had really hoped that after the olympics, we’d see the female body as something amazing – look what it can do, look how fast it can go, high it can jump. Look at those strong women winning stuff, pushing themselves, doing great things. I thought it might trigger a shift in how we see women. But no, a year later, we’re still talking about bikini bodies. Bikini Body Bootcamp. So you can work hard for six weeks, then spend the other 46 sitting on the sofa watching Made in Chelsea?
After only 5 months of crossfit I’ve already surprised myself at what I can do. I am looking forward to finding out what more i can do after a year of training, or 5 years, or 10 years. I love seeing myself in a different light, judged not on outward appearance, but on capability. So how about we have a bit more of that – might make us healthier inside and out.