5 of This Year’s Most Problematic Bikini Body Controversies
By Anna Kilar--With summer in full swing, many girls have already started their bikini body diet or exercise routine, which they will follow religiously, going through extreme measures to attain the bikini body ideal. What exactly the bikini body ideal encompasses may differ from person to person, but it’s difficult to deny that the media has a strong influence in setting bikini body standards, and it’s even sparked several controversies surrounding the bikini body.
Here are five of the most problematic bikini body controversies of this year:
1. Several clothing stores and individuals promoting that only girls of certain sizes can wear bikinis.
Public bullying is, unfortunately, nothing new, but people and companies seem to have especially strong opinions when it comes to other people’s swimwear choices. Some clothing stores, such as Abercrombie and Hollister, only carry clothes up to a certain size because they want only people below a certain size wearing their clothing and bathing suits. A young girl at a Target store was told by another customer that she shouldn’t wear a bikini because of her body shape. And when a blogger posted a bikini picture on Instagram, she immediately received hateful comments. Many people believe that bikinis are restricted to certain types of body shapes and sizes, and apparently we’re not afraid to share that opinion.
2. Several magazines wanting to help girls find the “right” bathing suit/bikini for their body type.
Discovery Girls magazine published an article titled “What Swimsuit Best Suits You?” Discovery Girls is a magazine intended for girls ages eight and up, with a mission of promoting confidence and self-love. This article received a lot of criticism, as girls should be learning that they can wear whatever they please, not just what flatters their body.
3. Starting bikini body classes in schools.
Ripley Academy in Derbyshire recently offered bikini body exercise classes for young girls, ages 11 to 18. Once the parents of the students found out about these classes it sparked criticism and concern—primarily that these students are far too young to be worrying about body image.
4. The difference between the summer body and healthy body.
In an article in The Odyssey, the author, Marisa Goldstein, discusses how she finds that many high school and college-aged girls don’t nourish their bodies year-round with a balance of healthy eating, exercise and enjoyment of sweet treats. Instead, they go to extreme measures, spending a few months restricting and over-exercising in order to attain a bikini body. Many girls believe that the bikini body can only be attained through a few months of “hard work” that is damaging to their health, rather than through long-term healthy living.
5. Food commercials and advertisements promoting the bikini body.
Some may remember the “itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini” Yoplait commercial from years ago, which implied that by eating their low-calorie yogurt you could attain the ideal summer bikini body. Special K has a campaign that promotes replacing one or two of your meals with a Special K product that does not contain nearly enough calories for a whole meal. But Special K and Yoplait aren’t the only companies promoting weight loss for a summer body; there are hundreds of campaigns and advertisements from several large, name brand companies (like Protein World) promoting the message that the only way to acquire the ideal bikini body is through weight loss.
Art courtesy of Radical Body Love