Proud2Bme | Proud2Bme Poll: 56% of Readers See 'Bikini Body' Ads 10+ Times a Day

  • Body Image
  • Body Positivity

Proud2Bme Poll: 56% of Readers See 'Bikini Body' Ads 10+ Times a Day

By Kaitlin Irwin--What’s the first thing you think of when the summer season rolls around? Trips to the beach, backyard barbecues and a break from work or school? Or do you think of getting “in shape,” attaining that “bikini body,” or finding a “flattering” swimsuit?

June’s Proud poll asked Proud2Bme.org readers how many times per week they see ads for “bikini bodies.” Nearly 400 people voted in the poll, and 56% of them reported seeing these types of ads 10 or more times per day. So what’s going on here, and how are these ads messing with our self-esteem and relationship with our own bodies?

Bikini bodies are nothing new; even back in the 1950s and 1960s the bikini was an international symbol of sexiness and femininity (just look at Brigitte Bardot, Annette Funicello and Raquel Welch). Dozens of celebrities followed suit throughout the decades, with bikinis getting skimpier than ever. Now we’re seeing a shift in bikini styles; a woman no longer needs to don the low-cut, boob-baring two-piece swimsuit of yesteryear. There are now a myriad of styles and designs, including high-waisted, one-pieces with cut-outs, tankinis and more. That should help us to feel more confident about sporting a bathing suit, but most of the swimsuit ads we see are still focused on that slim, defined woman in a teeny weeny bikini.

What can we do to stop these invasive ads from seeping into our minds and changing the perception we have of ourselves and our ability to wear a swimsuit? After all, the first and only rule to having a bikini body is to put a bikini on your body (or any swimsuit you like, really). It’s easy to see all of these bikini body ads and think that our own bodies are hideous in comparison.

We’ve been conditioned to think these bodies are normal, but in reality they’re a tiny fraction of the body types out there (and most of those ads are digitally altered anyway). Here are four realities of what’s behind many of those bikini body ads. You’ll soon realize that the “perfect” body is so not worth it...and may not even exist!

Reality #1: They are extremely dehydrated. Bikini models can’t drink any water 24 hours before the photo shoot. Dehydration can lead to heart palpitations, dizziness or fainting, high fever, difficulty breathing and seizures. But it doesn’t matter because you look sexy, right? Wrong.

Reality #2: They still need a lot of airbrushing and God knows what. Even though these models are practically killing themselves, they still need to undergo a Photoshop treatment to digitally alter their appearance and figure. It’s tough to get a flat stomach when you have organs in your body (pesky vital organs!) but some airbrushing can do the trick.

Reality #3: Those models are probably uber-cranky, especially considering that most of them are severely restricting calories, which can have horrific effects on your health. So not only are these models hurting their bodies, but can you imagine how hangry they feel? The last thing they want to do is pose for hours while a million people fuss over their hair.

Reality #4: They still feel insecure about themselves. Believe it or not, even the most stunningly beautiful and fit models still feel like crap about themselves from time to time. Everyone experiences this feeling; nobody is 100% confident with themselves 100% of the time. So even if that bikini body model is smiling and appears to be having the time of her life, she may still be harboring feelings of self-doubt and insecurity.

Reality #5: Their entire life (leading up to the bikini photo shoot) is dedicated to the gym. These models put in hours of exercise each day to attain visible abs, dangerously low levels of body fat and that impossibly-toned physique. Ever wonder why most people don’t have six-pack abs? Because it’s not normal. Most people can’t have super-visible abs unless they resort to unhealthy diet and exercise habits.

Please stop beating yourself up for not looking like a digitally-altered version of a dehydrated, starved and exhausted woman. You are more than a body; you are a dynamic personality, a natural talent and a loved daughter/sister/friend/etc.

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.