So the bikini. What feelings do you experience when you think about wearing a bikini? With your body, as is, right now. Fear and shame, or a big, “Hell, yeah!”
For pretty much my entire life since beginning adolescence, I fell into the first category. I LOVE to swim – I was on a swim team for years, but suddenly stopped in high school. I hated wearing swimsuits. Not just bikinis; I hated wearing all swimsuits. In a swimsuit, all my body image issues were painfully exposed to me.
Well into adulthood, I still hated them. I always covered up with a towel or shirt whenever possible. A bikini was out of the question. I couldn’t bear to show my stomach.
Ironically, it was at age 44 that I decided to say “Eff You” to the body image monsters in my brain. After giving birth, which changed my waist, left me with (more) stretch marks, and did something weird to my belly button area making it wobbly and “schmoogy.” Add aging and weight fluctuations to that, and there’s sagging skin here and there, general wiggles and jiggles, and cellulite. Awesome!
And yes, it is AWESOME. All these “flaws” are the roadmap of my LIFE, on my body, representing MY amazing experiences. Having my beautiful daughter. Gaining the upper hand on negative body image. Trying hard to age with strength and empowerment, rather than succumb to the unrealistic, ridiculous “ideals” our culture tells us we should meet.
These “flaws” are the roadmap of my LIFE, on my body, representing MY amazing experiences.
So the bikini. I wear one now. And guess what – I LIKE IT.
I have worn one since my family spent a year in Europe in 2012, and I saw that every woman – literally, every one except me – was wearing a bikini when swimming. No matter her age, size, body type, or weight.
Talk about standing out like a sore thumb – people actually did double-takes at my tankini that covered me all up. They did double-takes because they thought it was weird that I would cover myself up like that for swimming and time at the beach! It vividly illustrated to me how our – the United States’ – cultural norms around women’s bodies are completely ridiculous.
If all of those women could do it, so could I. So I tried it. I’m actually physically more comfortable in a bikini, because having less wet fabric against my body makes me less cold. I still have niggling negative thoughts sometimes, but that’s where #bikinirebellion comes in.
Last year, lifestyle and fitness coach Neghar Fonooni started the Bikini Rebellion as way to fight against the idea of a “bikini body,” meaning that to wear a bikini you have to look a certain way. The movement has exploded, and on all social media platforms women are posting pictures of themselves rocking a bikini.
Who says we can’t wear a bikini if we aren’t of a certain body type? Who says we can’t wear a bikini if we ARE of a certain age? If you want to wear a bikini, WEAR a bikini. If you don’t, that’s your choice too.
That’s the thing. To me, bikini rebellion isn’t about the bikini, per se. It’s about embracing yourself, including your beautiful body, AS IS. Meaning, don’t deny yourself self-love and feeling beautiful. Do it now. Wear that something that you’ve always wanted to wear, but felt like you shouldn’t because of X, Y, or Z. Be it a bikini, or a party dress, or skinny jeans, or shorts, or a swimsuit of any sort. Wear it, and love yourself for it.
Live your life. ENJOY your life.
Don’t deny yourself self-love and feeling beautiful. Do it now. Wear that something that you’ve always wanted to wear, but felt like you shouldn’t because of X, Y, or Z. Be it a bikini, or a party dress, or skinny jeans, or shorts, or a swimsuit of any sort. Wear it, and love yourself for it.
the big, bad internet
I’ve just posted photos of myself wearing a bikini on the Internet. I am a person who has historically hated wearing swimsuits, much less being photographed in them. What the heck am I doing?
There’s the ugliness that so many people feel free to engage in through the anonymity of the Internet. And once an image is out there, it’s out there forever. Once it’s posted, that’s it – you no longer have control over it. These are valid concerns.
But that’s just it. There’s something extremely empowering about taking control of how you perceive your own body image. And putting THAT out there for others to see feels amazing. Saying to the world, “I am embracing my body and showing love for myself by doing this,” is what it’s really about. That is the power of the #bikinirebellion movement.
I am embracing my body and showing love for myself by doing this.
You don’t have to post a photograph on the Internet to accomplish that. Do what works for you. My bikini photos are my way of grabbing negative body image by the horns and showing it who’s boss.
What makes you want to grab the bull by its horns? What can you do for yourself today that makes you feel strong, confident, and amazing?