Welcome to Bullshit Bell, the new semi-regular series of posts in which I call bullshit on various ridiculous things. How semi-regular, you ask? Whenever I feel like it. Whatever, schedules are bullshit.
I have the perfect body. My body is perfect. Why? Because it's mine. Because it functions. Because it contains a heart and two lungs and a liver and kidneys and a ribcage and muscles and ligaments and tendons and nerves and a brain. It gives me the ability to see and hear and taste and smell and touch. I can feel things from my toes to my head. I can walk. I can run. I can laugh. I, when the situation demands it, can even swim. I eat fairly well and take medication to fix my only chronic health problem. My body is perfect, because it is me.
Unfortunately, I am aware not everyone agrees with me.
Previous readers of my blog (hi, YOU EXIST?!) may remember the time I wrote about body diversity in advertising, and concluded that I ought to buy a bikini.
So... I bought a bikini. To follow is a picture of me wearing my bikini. But, to make it easier for you, I've listed 10 things wrong with me. Don't worry, you're welcome to add more.
1. My hair. For a start, it's not very evenly dyed, and bits of pink are poking through the brown. For another thing, it's short. And if the media has taught us anything, it's that Real Girls have long hair. Anne Hathaway even postponed her wedding after cutting off all her hair for Les Mis. So, hair makes the girl - and I don't have much of it.
2. My make-up. Admittedly, you can't see my face in this picture, but let me elaborate. I have a few blackheads and a few spots. My skin is not flawlessly clear. Additionally, I wasn't wearing any make-up, and that is a cardinal sin. But wait! I was wearing eyeliner! Oh, actually, that's a sin too - if the make-up doesn't look natural, it's fake and tacky.
3. My arms. I don't have neatly defined triceps and biceps. I can't fit my hand around my upper arm, and it's not rock-hard and toned. I have low-level bingo wings. If I jiggle my arm, it wobbles.
4. My tits. They are not pert tits. In fact, they are beholden to the force of gravity. Luckily, a decent bikini top helps out with this, but that leads me on to another problem: I am above a D cup. This apparently means that I am either a) fine with having minimal choice in most high street shops, or b) affluent enough to be able to spend £30 or more each time I need a new bra.
5. My... I don't even know what to call this. But, in short, I bulge out slightly under my bikini top. Yes, it is squishy. Yes, it is probably fat. Yes, I have never seen a girl in real life without this, even a little bit, no matter how skinny they are. But everyone knows models and celebrities don't have underbra handles.
6. My waist. It is both too small for my hips according to standard clothing size measurements, but also too thick for me to be attractively curvy. Apparently, the ideal waist-to-hip ratio is 0.6: mine is more like 0.75.
7. My stomach. I have a bit of a Buddha belly, and child-bearing hips, so despite my large breasts I think of myself as being pearshaped. Pearshaped girls with tummies don't wear bikinis, lest they frighten onlookers and drive the public into a state of shock. If you have a chubby tummy, the magazines kindly advise you, in the way of a condescending but well-meaning aunt, to wear a tummy-sucking swimsuit and sarong. That way, nobody - not even you - will have to think about the horrors of a convex abdomen.
8. My bikini line. I don't shave it.
9. My thighs. Again, they are wobbly, which is repulsive because it is a sign I do not dedicate my copious spare time to doing squats and leg lifts. They touch, which is repulsive because it is a sign I have not taken the tumblr thinspiration posts seriously enough. There are numerous white stretchmarks along the top of them, which are repulsive because they are a sign my body has changed and may even change again.
10. My calves. I haven't shaved those either. Plus, sometimes, I have trouble zipping up boots over them. This is not a sign that the boots are too small, but rather that I am fat and nobody will ever love me.
What else is wrong with me? Come on. Tell me. Shout it at me in the street. Because your opinion does not change anything. My body does not exist for you to scrutinise and mark out of 10. My body does not exist for a mysterious other being to find attractive or hideous. My worth is not dependent upon my sexiness, which in turn is held up to standards that are perpetuated by media with a vested interest in lowering body confidence.
I do not have to prove myself to some ethereal arbiter to be deemed thin enough to wear a bikini. I will wear one, whether you like it or not.
My body is perfect. And yours is, too.