Saturday, 18 May 2013

Xeroxed bodies.

It is the middle of May and this means that summer is stood on the corner, chain-smoking cigarettes and pulling her skirt down over her grubby knees, waiting for her moment to step into the light and be loved.

And apparently, the only people who are allowed to enjoy summer are the beautiful ones. The skinny and athletic ones, with soft legs and hair. The boys with muscled chests and speedos and the girls with flat stomachs and matchstick arms. They adorn newspapers and recline in full-page full-colour advertisements and smile at us from our flat television screens.

Get a swimsuit body in six weeks, cry the magazines! It's easy! All you have to do is stop eating, start exercising compulsively, teach yourself that this perfect human body you have somehow isn't enough. Not good enough, not thin enough, not toned enough - not enough to wear a bikini or a pair of trunks.

This is clearly BULLSHIT.

I don't want to see the same gurning models selling me everything, be it toothpaste or holidays in Malta or even a zebra-printed two-piece from Next. I want to see real people. I want a mother-of-two with dimpled thighs and bingo wings in a bikini. I want pale girls, entirely uninterested in fake tans, with a booty and big feet. I want five foot women, disabled women, black women and Asian women and women who kiss other women. I don't want the same xeroxed bodies photocopied all over my media.

I want a media world that reflects the real world we live in, that celebrates diversity, not attempts to curtail it.

Summer isn't just for those that have arbitrarily been defined as beautiful. I defend everyone's rights to wear as much or as little as they want.

What good does it do you to tear down someone who weighs twelve stone when you think they ought to weigh eight? Nothing. And it does us no good either when we direct this loathing and shame upon ourselves. We are enough. Even if the brains in advertising haven't cottoned on yet.

You will always get more mileage out of selling an aspiration than a reality. But the unobtainable is only attractive until you realise that perpetually lusting over what you cannot have is destructive. Yes, it is POSSIBLE for you too to be thin, but will it make you confident? Or happy? You can love the skin you're in without buying expensive products to improve it - you can just love it as you are.

So I, with my wobbly stomach and bruised hips and half-submerged collar bones, am going to buy a bikini. And I am going to fucking wear it. Maybe I'll terrify some poor moral guardian trying to protect society from the terrors of imperfection. Maybe I will get called fat - as if that's the worst thing I can be, as if being called fat will sting me more than being called shallow or cruel or dull.

When I pass summer and her smokes on the street, I'm going to stub out her cigarette and grab her hand. The sun is shining. Let's go dance.

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