Can People Shut Up About Our ‘Summer Bodies’?

Updated: Nov 14

Of all the ridiculous things I have heard in my life, my P.E teachers’ comment to a group of girls -when they weren’t running around like headless chickens like he had asked- easily makes the top ten.

“Come on girls, how are you going to get the perfect summer body if you don’t move?”

Now obviously I want people to feel happy in their own bodies and summer can be used as motivation to get fit and healthy, but it is crazy to think you have the right to put pressure on someone to lose weight or to take extreme measures in order to have the ideal body for a bikini or swimming trunks.

Although the perfect summer body is made up of many different components, let's start with the most common one, which is to be unrealistically skinny. Now this standard isn’t only set by the photoshopped pictures of models and celebrities you see on the internet but even the people around us can trigger us into believing that we need to lose weight for the summer. My P.E teacher is a great example of such a person but it’s not only him. It’s also our parents, random comments from a stranger or even our friends who (without wanting to cause any offense) spark the idea that we’re not what we should be. The important thing to know at any point when you might feel like you need to take measures to lose weight is that if you think that is something you want for yourself then you should do it, but don’t do it drastically, don’t compare yourself to others and keep in mind that going around something as sensitive as weight loss can have disastrous consequences so don’t aim to reach an unattainable goal. All bodies are different and it’s more likely that you’ll end up with stomach issues and little to no energy than looking like the women on the cover of vogue.

Another group of people that I would like to take into consideration are the guys. They are often overlooked when it comes to matters such as body shaming and dysmorphia but are also often criticized for not being muscular enough to go onto the beach. There have been many instances where I’d be out with friends on the beach and one of my male friends would feel so insecure about his weight that he would rather swim with his shirt on than take it off. This is also a great example of the ridiculous standard that has been set for both men and women but teenagers in particular who have struggled more than ever now from eating disorders of all kinds (13.2% of girls and struggling from eating disorders by 20 years old was the result researchers got after studying a group of 496 women for 8 years) . Why can’t we just accept that we’re human beings and that many times our bodies won’t be muscular and defined and our fat percentage won’t be at 0?!

As I previously mentioned, weight isn’t the only thing people, especially teenagers are judged on but believe it or not another common insecurity during the summer are toes. I find it terrifying that womens’ feet have been so sexualized that people have the audacity to expect all women’s feet and toenails to be perfect. Personally I didn’t realize that this was a common insecurity until this year after a conversation with some friends and the reason for that is just because many people find it uncomfortable to even acknowledge the fact that many times a person's feet won’t look good. Sometimes you just don’t have time to go for a pedicure and many times some people just don’t want to. Then there are people with wide feet and people who have hair on their toes or feet and people whose nails grow very fast. All these are insecurities brought forth because of some stupid comment made years ago about this or the other and something which has now grown into a full blown insecurity.

Finally I have one more issue that comes to mind when thinking about the components of a summer body which I have personally suffered from a lot over the years and that is body hair. I just think that it’s insane to expect anyone's body to be completely hairless all the time, especially the bodies of teenagers. I can’t tell you how I felt when one of my friends once told me that I had very hairy legs when I was just 11 or 12 years old and how I’d beg my mum to let me shave them instead of having to wait until they were fully grown out so that I could be able to wax them instead. Luckily I haven’t had this issue in a while since I’m fortunate enough to laser remove my body hair but when I was younger it was a huge issue for me which made me feel terrible for many summers in a row and the fact that many of my guy friends didn’t understand why I had body hair made it so much worse.

All the things that I’ve mentioned above are just examples of how unreasonable the idea of a perfect summer body is and how we allow ourselves to be influenced by our surroundings to the point where we can’t just enjoy our summer holidays as we should without being suffocated by insecurities. It is so important to be able to accept the fact that all those things we so desperately try to hide or get rid of in order to not only get good attention but also simply to reduce the risk of getting bad attention are nothing less than normal.


About the author:

  • My name is Lou (they/them). I’m 15 years old and I love writing because it allows me to be a part of the change that I wish to see in the world.


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